Creighton Bluejays Preview
Date: Tuesday, November 16th
Time: 6:00pm CST
Location: Pinnacle Bank Arena - Lincoln, NE
Coach: Greg McDermott (12th Season)
2021-22 Record: 2-0 (0-0 Big East)
It is that time of the year when our beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers take on the Creighton Bluejays on the hardwood. Creighton has a 28-26 all time lead in the series and has won nine of the last ten. The lone Husker win coming in 2018, which was coach Tim Miles’ last season at the helm.
The Bluejays are 2-0 yet Draft Kings still has Nebraska as a three point favorite. The loss of some key personnel, including replacing the entire starting five from Creighton's NCAA Tournament team along with the Huskers having the home crowd advantage has something to do with that number.
Play-by-Play: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Nick Bahe
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Huskers Radio Network
Play-by-Play: Kent Pavelka
Analyst: Jake Muhleisen
As stated above, Creighton is 2-0 on the season. Their first win was a 90-77 beating of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. It was followed up with a low-scoring outing against Kennesaw State in which the final score was a Big Ten-esque 51-44. That ending would make a team like Wisconsin blush.
As you might imagine, this Creighton team is fairly strong defensively and will keep Nebraska’s shooters in check. They have held their past two opponents to just 32% shooting. Even more impressive is the 24% from the three point line.
The Huskers will have to come out hot scoring in this game. The McGowens and company have to make their shots count early if they want to be in this game from start to finish. Creighton has the discipline to shut a team down if shooting goes cold.
The Bluejays have replaced all five starters from last years team. The number one player to keep an eye on would be senior Alex O’Connell who transferred to Creighton from Duke. He is averaging 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.0 steals per game. He’s about as talented as they get and will push the Huskers early on. If he gets hot then it might be a long night for the Big Red.
Freshman Ryan Nebhard has come on strong during his first season at guard for the Bluejays. He was a four-star recruit out of Canada via Florida in the 2021 class. He is averaging 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists and solidifying his place on the starting lineup. He is averaging 36 minutes on the court, so expect to see and hear a lot from him during the game.
Another impact player is Ryan Hawkins who is a Northwest Missouri State transfer. The 6’7” forward is averaging 11.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. He’s a big presence in the paint and the Huskers will have to play a physical game to keep him in check as the night wears on.
While this team is talented they are also young and still somewhat inexperienced. The Huskers will need to take advantage of the Bluejay’s mistakes as the game goes on. In other words, go after all loose balls and keep hitting the free throws. This will be a hard fought defensive battle if it comes down to it.
The Huskers ranked third in the nation with 33% of their points coming from the free throw line. Get Creighton to foul and take advantage. Those points will matter as time ticks off the clock and scoring dries up.
The Huskers should pull this off with the talent and home court advantage. However, as fresh as this Bluejay team is, they still know how to play well and coach McDermott has not forgotten how to coach. Both teams will be up for this game. Neither should sleep on it and I doubt that will happen.
It should be a close game with the Huskers hopefully pulling out the win.