The crowd chanted “one more year, one more year!” His father watched on from the sidelines, proud of not only his son, but the star of the basketball team that he’s been coaching for the last three seasons as they clinched their first Missouri Valley Conference title since 2001. But wait for it…he also scored his teams last bucket of the game, his season-best 40th and 41st points of the evening.
Creighton played one of its best games of the season against conference rival Wichita State en route to a 91-79 win on Saturday afternoon as Doug McDermott paced the way for his team, who could potentially break out in the NCAA tournament.
After going 7-for-7 from the field in the first half for 18 points, McDermott showed some NBA offense as the Bluejays dominated the game in all facets. Having a dynamic backcourt with the speedy Austin Chatman and efficient Grant Gibbs, not to mention, Ethan Wragge’s deft touch from outside, McDermott toasted from beyond the arc (5-of-8 from three), but went 10-for-10 on two-point field goals, displaying a consistent mid-range game to go along with great awareness and touch around the basket.
McDermott has proven all season long that he’s an inside-out threat, and even leads all of Division 1 with 724 points on the season.
But as special of a season as it’s been for McDermott and his conference winning team, the best may have yet to come. Heading into the MVC tournament as the No. 1-seed, they’re already guaranteed an NCAA tournament bid, most likely a top-8 seed even when push comes to shove.
Creighton’s 53 wins since the start of last season are the most for any two-year span in program history, and with two seniors in the starting lineup, not to mention, the potential Wooden Award winner leading the way, this team has all the pieces as the team you don’t want to pick to win multiple games, but repeatedly finds a way into the Sweet 16 is comprised of.
McDermott and Creighton didn’t only pass my eye test Saturday, but being the 22nd best scoring team in the country, mainly thanks to being fourth in assists and first in field goal percentage in the nation, shows me exactly why they have the 17th best BPI in the country, and the 36th best RPI in the nation.
Creighton’s rankings are near the top amongst all non-Big 6 conference teams, and depending on the bracket they draw in a couple of weeks, I think they have great potential to make a run in the tournament.
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