Feb 19, 2012, 1:59 AM EST
Long Beach State is going to have to win its league’s automatic bid if it want to make the conference tournament.
That’s just the way life is for the 49ers. Their two marquee wins — at Pitt and Xavier on a neutral court — don’t appear to be all that “marquee” as the Panthers and the Musketeers have had disappointing seasons. LBSU will have a good shot of running through their league undefeated, but when you play in the Big West, that is a feat that gets scoffed at on a national scale. Anyone can watch this team play and know that, assuming they get upset in their conference tournament, they are one of the 37 best at-large candidates, but if the profile doesn’t fit, the NIT it is.
But that should also give you a sense of just how impressive Creighton’s exhilarating, 81-79 win over Long Beach State on Saturday night was.
The Bluejays did not play their best game. That powerhouse offense, the one that is spurred on by a flock of sharpshooters, sputtered on Saturday. Creighton went 5-23 from beyond the arc, getting bailed out by Doug McDermott going for 36 points and 11 boards. Take away the 14-20 that he shot from the field, and the Bluejays shot just 40% from the floor.
When you rely on your shooting to win basketball games, off-nights like this can be killer. Creighton knows. Its why they went on that three-game losing streak earlier this month.
I’m a firm believer in the “clutch-factor”. I think there are certain players and certain teams that have the mental and physical wherewithal to make plays in the moments when the lights shine the brightest and the pressure is at its strongest. And while that generally applies to the offensive end of the floor — like, for example, the fact that Antoine Young hit the game-winner on Saturday two weeks after hitting a game-tying three at Northern Iowa with 4.6 seconds left — Creighton needs to be clutch defensively.
What I mean is that this group needs to be able to get big stops in crucial moments. From an efficency standpoint, Creighton is not a great defensive team. They don’t force a lot of turnovers and they don’t block a lot of shots. In other words, they don’t have a lot of defensive playmakers. As a result, they have a defense that ranks below-average.
The Bluejays score enough that they can hang with just about anyone in the country. What their season is going to come down to, however, is whether or not they can get the big stops in the big moments.
They’ve done it before. They did it tonight. And if they can continue with that trend, Creighton will have a chance to make some noise in March.
Mar 7, 2014, 1:13 AM EST
Offensively No. 24 Iowa enjoys the luxury of having multiple scorers capable of reaching double figures on any given night. Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White are the only players averaging double figures for Fran McCaffery, but six different players have led the team in scoring in at least one game this season. In their…
Mar 7, 2014, 1:05 AM EST
There are 11 days left until Selection Sunday. Every morning from now until the bracket comes out, we’ll help you get caught up on the happenings with impact on the bubble from the night before. You can see NBCSports.com’s latest bracket here. Xavier finished up their regular season on Thursday night, and it wasn’t a…
Mar 7, 2014, 12:32 AM EST
The biggest storyline at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament this weekend is clearly No. 2 Wichita State, with the Shockers currently 31-0 on the season. But it should be noted that this is traditionally an entertaining event, and the second first-round game on Thursday night provided the drama. Loyola-Illinois guard Milton Doyle hit a three-pointer…
Mar 7, 2014, 12:30 AM EST
Marko Gujanicic scored 15 points, including a game-winning layup, as George Mason knocked off La Salle in Philly on Thursday night. The Patriots have now won four of their last seven league games after starting off conference play 0-10. La Salle is now ensured to finish below .500 in the A-10, a disappointing finish for a…
Mar 7, 2014, 12:12 AM EST
Keith Appling scored all 12 of his points in the second half, including eight points in a 12-4 surge that sparked a massive second half run as the No. 22 Spartans knocked off No. 24 Iowa, 86-76. Those eight points from Appling came in a flurry, and the hope is that they will change the…
Mar 6, 2014, 11:48 PM EST
Lacey Holsworth is an eight-year old battling cancer that just so happened to form a beautiful, heart-warming friendship with Adreian Payne, Michigan State’s star center that she calls ‘Superman’. Thursday night marked the Payne’s final home game as a member of the Michigan State basketball team, and as you might have expected, Lacey was Payne’s…
Mar 6, 2014, 10:33 PM EST
Entering Tuesday night’s date with No. 20 Memphis, offensively-challenged No. 15 Cincinnati had scored more than 80 points in a game just five times. Their victims? Campbell, Kennesaw State, USC Upstate and Chicago State all lost to the Bearcats before Christmas. Temple, one of the bottom-feeders in the American, managed to score exactly 80 points…
Mar 6, 2014, 9:49 PM EST
When the American Athletic Conference coaches made their preseason picks back in October, the Cincinnati Bearcats received nary a sniff in regards to which team would win the league. No. 11 Louisville was the unanimous choice and rightfully so, with the Cardinals returning most of their key contributors from last season’s national champion squad. But…
Mar 6, 2014, 9:46 PM EST
There was a weird sequence just now in the UCSB-Hawaii game. Gib Arnold had just gotten a technical foul when a UCSB fan sprinted onto the court from the student section and got into his face on the sideline before backpedaling and challenging a Hawaii player to a fight. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen…
Mar 6, 2014, 8:12 PM EST
On the heels of their 73-64 loss to No. 10 San Diego State on Wednesday, UNLV announced Thursday that guard Bryce Dejean-Jones has been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. Dejean-Jones will miss the Runnin’ Rebels game at Nevada on Saturday as a result of the suspension. Dejean-Jones had a frustrating night against the…
Mar 6, 2014, 6:50 PM EST
Maryland’s 64-47 win over Virginia Tech on Tuesday night was full of positives, with one notable exception: sophomore forward Charles Mitchell did not play in the second half after getting into a heated exchange with assistant coach Scott Spinelli. Head coach Mark Turgeon asked Mitchell to return to the locker room, with the forward returning…
Mar 6, 2014, 4:59 PM EST
In what has been a tough season for South Carolina (11-19, 4-13 SEC), the Gamecocks will conclude regular season play on Saturday without their head coach. On Thursday South Carolina announced that Frank Martin has been suspended for one game due to “inappropriate verbal communication” with a player. “The one-game suspension is a result of…
Mar 6, 2014, 4:28 PM EST
One day prior to his team beginning a run towards a third consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament, Iona head coach Tim Cluess has been rewarded with a contract extension through the 2018-19 season. Currently in his fourth season in New Rochelle, Cluess has won 90 games and led Iona to two MAAC regular season…
Mar 6, 2014, 3:00 PM EST
During the preseason the expectation of many was that the Southern Conference race would provide suspense throughout the season, with at least five teams having realistic hopes of winning the regular season title. Ultimately this would not be the case, with perennial juggernaut Davidson winning the league title by three games. However the Wildcats, who…
Mar 6, 2014, 1:51 PM EST
WASHINGTON, D.C. – For three weeks every spring, as the country thaws out from another long, cold winter, the nation’s eyes turn towards the NCAA tournament. The attention it generates is unlike any event in sports, thanks in large part to the over-saturation of games, the one-and-done nature of the event and the fact that every…
Mar 6, 2014, 12:24 PM EST
Adidas unveiled the uniforms that nine teams with sponsorship contracts will be wearing in March. I like them, but Adidas is really married to this idea of sleeves on a uniform, aren’t they? UCLA, Baylor, Louisville and Cincinnati will all be wearing jerseys that look like a bit too much like a cheap, church league…
Mar 6, 2014, 12:06 PM EST
GAME OF THE DAY: No. 20 Memphis at No. 15 Cincinnati, 7:00 p.m. Earlier this season, Cincinnati made a name for themselves when they went into FedEx Forum and put a whooping down on the Tigers. Might it be time for Josh Pastner’s club to exact their revenge? At this point, the only thing on…
Mar 6, 2014, 11:38 AM EST
New Hampshire has fired a basketball staff member on allegations of voyeurism. Scott Weitzell, the Director of Men’s Basketball Operations, was relieved of his duties amid allegations that he recorded the team in the locker room during their trip to play at Vermont on January 20th. Weitzell allegedly hid the cell phone in the locker…
Mar 6, 2014, 11:14 AM EST
Last night, St. Joseph’s lost a game at George Washington that could have cemented a bye in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament and made their Selection Sunday much less stressful. Instead, the Hawks lost, in large part due to the 24 free throws that the Colonials shot in the second half. Phil…
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