Rushed Reactions: #9 Kansas State 69, #8 Creighton 59

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on March 16th, 2018

RTC will be providing coverage of the NCAA Tournament from start to finish. Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) is in Charlotte this weekend.

Three Key Takeaways.

Bruce Weber and Kansas State shut down the potent Creighton offense.
(Ray Martinez/The Mercury)

  1. Creighton’s offense never got untracked. Boasting the nation’s 23rd-best offense, according to KenPom, the Bluejays suffered through one of their worst offensive nights of the season. Much of the credit for that goes to Kansas State. The Wildcats were aggressive throughout, limiting penetration while also defending the three-point line. For the game, Creighton shot just 33.8 percent from the field and only connected on 9-of-34 from deep. The Wildcats also forced the Bluejays into 13 turnovers — Creighton came into the game among the nation’s best in ball security, but couldn’t handle the Kansas State pressure at times.
  2. Kansas State used a small lineup to offset the loss of Dean Wade. When Wade couldn’t play — it was a game-time decision due to a foot injury — Bruce Weber needed multiple players to step up and that’s exactly what happened. Weber went with a four-guard lineup for much of the night and the Wildcats made it work on both ends. Their added quickness on the floor successfully contained Creighton’s guards, and on the offensive side, it created spacing and driving lanes. The biggest surprise among the supporting group was freshman guard Mike Mcguirl. Despite appearing in only eight prior games and scoring a total of 13 points all year, Mcguirl exploded for 17 points and sank 3-of-5 from behind the three-point line.
  3. Marcus Foster had a tough night. It’s hard to say how much of it was caused by the odd situation of this matchup — Foster was dismissed from Kansas State’s program after two years in Manhattan — but Kansas State’s defense deserves a lot of credit too. Foster went scoreless for almost the first 30 minutes of action and finished with just five points on 2-of-11 shooting. When Foster came out of the game in the closing seconds, Weber was very gracious in going over to shake his hand and give him a hug.

Player of the Game. Barry Brown, Kansas State. Brown got it done on both ends of the floor this evening, scoring a game-high 18 points, grabbing six boards and handing out three assists. Defensively, Brown collected two blocks, two steals and was the primary defender on Creighton’s Marcus Foster. Foster averages over 20 points per game but could only manage five points tonight.

Quotable.

  • “Barry [Brown] took it over in the second half, making the plays we needed.” – Kansas State coach Bruce Weber, on Barry Brown’s play today.
  • “He played his butt off his today” –  Brown, talking about unsung hero Mike Mguirl.
  • “They forced us into some uncharacteristic decisions.” – Creighton coach Greg McDermott, on the Kansas State defense.
  • “He just told me he loved me and that he was proud of everything I’ve accomplished.” –  Marcus Foster, on what Weber said to him when he came out of the game.

Sights and Sounds. Much of the talk before this match-up was focused on Marcus Foster going up against his former school and the coach that dismissed him from that program. When asked about it the day before the game, Bruce Weber said, “I’m just happy for him. And, you know, if he’s making progress in all those things [school, basketball, life] and I had something to do with it, that’s just great.”

What’s Next. Kansas State advances to the Second Round on Sunday where it will take on surprising UMBC which upset top-seeded Virginia. The winner then moves on to the Sweet Sixteen in Atlanta.

Brad Jenkins (325 Posts)


Share this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *