TV Schedule: Tuesday, Jan. 12, 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Arena: CenturyLink Center Omaha, Omaha, Neb.
Last season, the Creighton Bluejays finished second to last in the Big East with a dismal 14-19 record. Fast forward to January 2015 and the Bluejays have won seven of their last nine games, sit at 12-5 and are primed for run at the 2016 NCAA tournament. Next up for Creighton, however, is a tough home matchup with the Providence Friars and arguably the best player in the country, Kris Dunn.
The Friars lost their last game to the Marquette Golden Eagles, but won eight straight before that, including a great road win over the Butler Bulldogs. A road win over Creighton would be big for this team’s final tournament seeding in March and, more importantly, their momentum heading into the most difficult stretch of their entire season.
Creighton’s offense is explosive, but their defense is ranked No. 242 in the country in terms of points allowed per game. The Friars’ offense should have a field day on Tuesday night, and Dunn will only be part of it.
Dunn may be the marquee player on the Friars, but Ben Bentil and Rodney Bullock have been fantastic this season, averaging a combined 33.3 points per game. Expect more of the same, as the Bluejays cannot find a way to stop these three players.
Both of these teams should make the 2016 NCAA tournament, so fans should not worry too much about a loss here. Give this one to Providence in a high-scoring thriller, as they earn a great road win against a team finally getting back on track.
Prediction: Providence 80, Creighton 76