Three Thoughts as Indiana State Dominated Creighton Last NightPosted by WCarey on February 7th, 2013
Walker Carey is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after Wednesday night’s game between Creighton and Indiana State. You can follow him at @walkerRcarey.
Entering Wednesday night’s game, Indiana State was a definitely a bubble team. The Sycamores entered the contest with #16 Creighton at 14-8 overall with a 7-4 record in Missouri Valley play. While Greg Lansing’s squad has some excellent wins – neutral site victories over Ole Miss and Miami and a road victory over Wichita State – it has also suffered some poor losses – most notably road setbacks to Morehead State and Southern Illinois. The same pundits who put the Sycamores on the bubble noted the team had a solid opportunity to find itself on the right side of the bubble come Selection Sunday due to the opportunity to boost its RPI with home contests against Creighton and Wichita State. The Blue Jays, a team that beat the Sycamores 79-66 in Omaha on January 5, came first and the Sycamores took advantage of a poor game from Creighton star Doug McDermott and their home court advantage to notch a dominating 76-56 victory. The following are three thoughts from Wednesday night’s game.
- Indiana State Played Its Best Game of the Season. Whenever a team commits zero first half turnovers and limits a national player of the year candidate to just eight points, you know that team put forth a tremendous effort. The zero first half turnovers by the Sycamores allowed the team to build an 11-point halftime lead and remaining crisp and efficient on offense allowed the team to increase the lead by as much as 28 in the second half before earning the 19-point victory. The Sycamores’ offensive attack was led by junior guard Jake Odum, who finished with 22 points on a solid 7-of-10 performance from the field. Doug McDermott, who entered the game averaging 24 points per game, was stymied by the defensive efforts of Indiana State forwards R.J. Mahurin and Justin Gant all night and finished with just eight points (zero points in the second half) on a 3-of-10 effort from the field. The exceptionally strong defensive performance prevented the entire Blue Jays team from ever getting into any sort of offensive rhythm.
- Creighton’s Supporting Cast Needs to Step Its Game Up. While Doug McDermott struggled through one of the worst games of his collegiate career, his teammates also experienced their fair share of issues. Senior center Gregory Echenique, who entered the game shooting a conference-best 67.2% from the field, struggled with the interior defense of the Sycamores and had to work extremely hard to finish with eight points on just 3-of-7 from the field. Senior guard Grant Gibbs and sophomore guard Austin Chatman were constantly frustrated by the defensive pressure applied by Odum and junior swingman Manny Arop. McDermott is the type of player who can be counted on to produce quality numbers on an almost nightly basis, but if he has another off game this season, Greg McDermott’s squad will not win unless it gets better performances from its supporting players.
- Indiana State Sure Looks Like an NCAA Tournament Team. The Sycamores certainly need to accomplish more to be a sure-fire member of the field of 68, but Wednesday’s performance was an excellent indicator of how good this team can be. Odum provides the Sycamores with outstanding leadership and he has the ability to score against anyone. Arop’s length makes him a bit of a matchup nightmare on both ends of the court and he has shown he can take advantage of that mismatch. Mahurin’s size and ability to contribute both inside and outside on offense makes him a threat to score whenever he is on the court. If those three players can keep up their efforts from Wednesday night and the team can find a way to stay on the winning track, the Sycamores will not only find themselves in the NCAA Tournament, but they will have the ability to potentially win a game when the madness begins.