9:00PM EST: Creighton -7.5 (2 Units)
Huge bounce back spot here for one of the Country's top teams. They're coming off a big neutral court loss to Colorado State. They had an uncharacteristically poor shooting night, and the Rams are also a bit better than people realize. Still lost outright as 9-point favorites though. Creighton is a very good basketball team and they're going to respond. They were an Elite 8 Team a season ago and returned all 3 of their leading scorers. They did lose a couple contributors to the portal but picked up some of their own. Steven Ashworth came over from Utah State and is an elite point guard. He's also a great 3-PT shooter knocking down 41.3% of attempts this year and 43.4% last year. All in all, this Creighton roster ranks 15th in D-1 experience.
Creighton also matches up incredibly well against Oklahoma State. Creighton ranks 11th Nationally in ball screen PPP while the Cowboys rank down in the 9th percentile in pick and roll PPP. They've also struggled against off-screen action which is how McDermott likes to free up his shooters. He's got plenty as Creighton ranks 24th in 3PT FG% at 38.7. Of their top 6 players in minutes per game, 4 of them shoot 40% or better from deep, another shoots 38.5%, and then there's Trey Alexander who's shooting 31%. He's just off to a slow start after shooting 41% from 3 last season. More on him later.
Oklahoma State loves to shoot the 3. It's what they want to do as an offense, but Creighton has one of the best 3-PT defenses in the Nation. They force you off the line but it's incredibly difficult to get all the way inside with 7'1 Kalkbrenner down there. It's why they lead the nation in opponent Mid-Range shot frequency at 52.3%
Oklahoma just isn't a great basketball team as is. They have losses to Abiline Christian, St. Bonaventure, and Notre Dame. Their wins have come against Houston Christian, New Orleans, and Sam Houston State. Those teams aren't anywhere close to the top of D-1 Basketball. Per Ken Pom rankings Sam Houston State ranks 156th, New Orleans 284th, and Houston Christian 359th. Creighton ranks 16th for reference.
9:00PM EST: Trey Alexander Over 21.5 Pts+Rebs+Ast (3 Units)
Speaking of uncharacteristic shooting, Trey had the worst night of any Blue Jay against Colorado State. He shot 1-16 from the Floor and 0-5 from 3. Alexander is a very good player and was pivotal to Creighton's success a season ago. Despite that poor performance just 6 games in, he's still shooting 43.2% from the floor and averaging 15.8 points per game. He's shooting just 31% from deep after shooting 41% last year. We like him to bounce back in a big way.
The 16 shots tell you everything you need to know about the type of player he is. Shooters shoot and they keep attacking expecting that the next basket to fall regardless of what happened before. McDermott is an Elite coach, and he will call on him early to get him going. This is also a homecoming for Alexander as he grew up just an hour away from the stadium. He's averaging 6.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game to go along with his 15.8 points per game.
This also plays into the pick and roll match-up. He and Kalkbrenner will run that set on numerous occasions which provides Alexander a chance to score points or get an assist should he dish it to the big fellow. He's also just going to play his balls off tonight. Out to avenge the last game but he'll be playing in front of family and friends. He practically never comes off the court either. He leads the BlueJays at 33.5 minutes per game and averages just 1.2 fouls per game this season. Last year he averaged 1.7 fouls and as a freshman 1.9.