The Creighton Preview
Date: Sunday, December 4th
Time: 3:30pm CST
Ranking: Coaches/AP - #7
Coach: Gregg McDermott (13th Season)
The Huskers head up north to take on the Creighton Bluejays this Sunday in Omaha. This is the 56th meeting between the two intrastate squads with Creighton owning the overall series 29-26. Last season the Bluejays came down to Lincoln where they handed the Huskers a 69-77 loss.
The last time the Huskers beat the Bluejays was back on December 8th, 2018 where the then #24 ranked Nebraska beat Creighton 94-75. Breaking a Bluejay seven game win streak and giving then head coach Tim Miles his first win in the series.
There has been a lot, and I mean a lot of hype surrounding this squad coming into the season. Many pundits not only picked the Bluejays to win the Big East but also make a deep run into this years NCAA Tournament. For the most part, they’ve lived up to it.
They return a wealth of talent from last years squad and have some key transfers that have come in and contributed early to the Bluejays success. There are currently five players averaging double digits points on the season at 11.6 points per game. Those points have helped in wins against #21 Texas Tech and #9 Arkansas.
As of now they are currently ranked in the top ten in the nation. However, they are coming into this game with a two game losing streak. Their first loss was to #14 Arizona 79-81 in the Maui Invitational over Thanksgiving. That win over Creighton was big enough to bump Arizona to #4. However, the Wildcats followed that win up with a loss to unraked Utah.
Most recently, Creighton lost another close matchup against #2 Texas in Austin losing by five points 67-72. A game the Longhorns lead for the most part but with the Bluejays making a late game run in the end.
Both losses were close and were to top ranked teams. Neither of them are anything to scoff at. Both Texas and Arizona are seasoned squads with strong post season dreams. Much like Creighton.
The Bluejays bring back four starters from last years squad. The team is lead by center Ryan Kalkbrenner. Ryan has been averaging 16.6 points, 7.3 rebounds all while shooting 77% form the floor. The Huskers will have to be aggressive and physical in the paint if they want any chance of shutting him down. The Big East Defensive Player of the Year will make the Huskers suffer if not taken care of early in the game.
Next to Ryan is the 2022 Big East Freshman of the Year Ryan Nembhard. The sophomore guard is averaging 13.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game. His biggest outing of the season was against #9 Arkansas where he had 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in the close 90-87 win over the Razorbacks.
Also of note is South Dakota State Transfer Baylor Scheierman. The Aurora, Nebraska native comes to Creighton as the 2022 Summit League Player of the Year and has seen ample playing time as a Bluejay. The 6’7” guard is averaging 12.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists.
Nebraska is going to have to come into this game hot and fast early on. Any advantages that Creighton brings in or Nebraska gives them will most likely set the game in the Bluejays hands. Mistakes will need to be kept to a minimum if the Huskers want to leave Omaha with a win. Talent wise, Creighton is going to be a bear for the Huskers and coaching along with support from the bench will be key for a Husker victory.