The No. 14 ranked Indiana Hoosiers have opened the 2015-16 college basketball season with two huge wins over much weaker opposition, but they finally face a decent squad on Thursday night, as the Creighton Bluejays travel to Assembly Hall.
Like the Hoosiers, Creighton dominated their opening matchups against weaker opposition, including a sneaky tough meeting with the Texas Southern Tigers, who won the SWAC conference last season. A win over Indiana would be massive for Creighton’s 2016 NCAA tournament hopes, which are pretty low at the moment due to the strength of other teams in the Big East.
These are two fast-paced offenses that will score often and early. Indiana has outscored the first two opponents by a combined score of 190-126, whereas Creighton has outscored their first two opponents 196-148. Indiana should be heavily favored in Assembly Hall, which means that Isaiah Zierden will have to have the type of 24-point performance he had against the UTSA Roadrunners if the Bluejays are to pull off the upset.
That being said, defense will be what wins this game. Tom Crean’s squad has looked significantly better than Creighton at the defensive end, but the Hoosiers have also faced far weaker opponents. If Indiana is still sleepwalking to start the season, this game could be surprisingly close.
The Hoosiers should have this game locked up pretty easily. Although the Bluejays are quietly getting better and could steal a few games in Big East play, Creighton is nowhere near as talented as they were in the Doug McDermott days. The Hoosiers are potential national title contenders, and this one should finish with a comfortable victory for Indiana.
Prediction: Indiana 86, Creighton 72