Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Doug McDermott and the Creighton Bluejays
face a tough test in the second round of the NCAA Tournament as they collide
with the Cincinnati Bearcats in Midwest Regional action at the Wells Fargo
Center on Friday.
This will be just the third meeting in history between these schools and it
will be the first since 1989. Cincinnati won both previous encounters.
The winner of this game will take on either Duke or Albany in the third round.
Creighton improved to 27-7 on the season and punched its ticket to the Big
Dance with a 68-65 victory over Wichita State in the Missouri Valley
Conference Tournament championship game. The Bluejays also won the outright
MVC regular-season title by defeating WSU, 91-79, in their season finale.
McDermott is the nation's only returning First Team All-American and has not
disappointed in his junior season either, ranking second in the nation in
scoring at 23.1 ppg with a 49.7 percent conversion rate from beyond the
Creighton scores an MVC best 75.4 ppg, and its field-goal percentages (.508)
ranks first in the nation. McDermott is making a strong case for National
Player of the Year, but he has some help. Gregory Echenique has been
impressive in the paint at both ends of the floor, logging 9.6 ppg (on 66.7
percent from the field), 6.6 rpg and 1.7 bpg. Ethan Wragge, the conference's
Sixth Man of the Year, has excellent shooting touch which keeps defenses
honest. Grant Gibbs is a solid floor general and manages to deal out 5.9
assists per tilt.
The Bearcats had a decent campaign themselves as they enter with a 22-11
record. They also have their own star player in Sean Kilpatrick, who nets 16.9
points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Much more than a scorer, Kilpatrick is
second on the team with 61 assists and 41 steals. Cincinnati won its first
game in the Big East Tournament easily as it coasted past Providence for a 17-
point decision, but it was on the other end of a rout its next time out when
it suffered a 62-43 loss to Georgetown.
Kilpatrick is joined in the backcourt by Cashmere Wright, who produces 12.6
points and 3.1 assists per outing. Both Kilpatrick and Wright shoot under 40
percent from the floor. JaQuon Parker is a serviceable third scoring option
with 11.3 ppg, while Cheikh Mbodj posts 2.7 blocks per outing. The Bearcats
score 66.6 ppg against a scoring defense that allows just 58.8 ppg. They shoot
40.2 percent from the field as a team despite the backcourt's shooting woes
and outrebound the opposition by an average of 6.5 boards per tilt. Coach Mick
Cronin, now in his seventh season at the helm of the program, is 2-3 all-time
in the NCAA Tournament, including a Sweet 16 appearance last season.
The Sports Network