No. 14 Creighton is the nation’s best offensive team from an efficiency standpoint, with the presence of the clear favorite to win every major national Player of the Year award (Doug McDermott) being surrounded by multiple players capable of making teams pay for devoting too much attention to McDermott.
With McDermott being as gifted as he is, it’s almost a given that the senior forward is going to score his points. The key is to keep the supporting cast in check, and Providence was able to do so in their 65-58 win Saturday night.
McDermott finished the game with 27 points, scoring 18 in the second half to nearly lead the Bluejays back from a 12-point second half deficit. But just one other Bluejay finished with more than five points, with Avery Dingman scoring ten points on 5-for-5 shooting.
RELATED: Providence wins its first Big East title since 1994
Having two players in double figures isn’t startling for Creighton, as this has been the case all season long with Ethan Wragge (10.5 ppg) being the other double-digit scorer. However when the Bluejays are at their best offensively, and nearly unguardable as a result, multiple players are making plays. That didn’t happen against Providence, with the Friars using a 2-3 zone against one of the nation’s best shooting teams and having success for much of the night.
Providence made good rotations in its zone and identified shooters, challenging perimeter shots and limiting a Creighton team that entered the game shooting 42.1% from beyond the arc to 8-for-30 shooting. McDermott was responsible for five of those makes, with Wragge and Jahenns Manigat combining to shoot 2-for-13. The three-pointer is an important shot for Creighton, which scores more than 39% of its points from beyond the arc. Providence was able to limit the Bluejays in this department, one reason why they were able to win the game.
That will be the key for Creighton moving forward, and the sight of teams less familiar with them may help matters. McDermott’s going to score, and he’s clearly capable of putting Creighton on his back and carrying the Bluejays. But if Creighton is to entertain thoughts of winning a national title, his supporting cast will be just as important.
UNC-Asheville has gotten into the trick shot game.
The basketball program’s official Twitter account posted this video of guard Kevin Vannatta nailing a shot from the balcony of Kimmel Arena.
Nice shot, huh?
Vannatta, a junior from Upper Arlington, Ohio, started all 34 games for the Bulldogs last year, averaging 11.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from 3-point range. It looks, though , like he might be working on extending his range.
Northwestern has found a temporary home while its arena undergoes a nine-figure renovation.
The Wildcats will play the 2017-18 season at Allstate Arena, about 15 miles west of Evanston, Ill. in Rosemont, the school announced Tuesday.
“We are excited to partner with Allstate Arena to host Northwestern men’s basketball games during the 2017-18 season while Welsh-Ryan Arena is undergoing its renovation,” Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips said in a statement. “The venue has a rich college basketball tradition in the Chicagoland area. I know that our fans will enjoy cheering on our team at Allstate Arena during what will be an exciting season.”
Allstate Arena previously had been home to DePaul, which is moving into its own new building this year. Capacity is around 18,000 for basketball.
Northwestern had its best season under coach Chris Collins last year, going 20-12 overall and 8-10 in the Big Ten.
The renovation to Welsh-Ryan Arena will bring the building – which opened in 1952 and last renovated in 1983 – into the 21st century by replacing wood bleachers, widening concourses, adding concessions, improving arena technology and adding new locker rooms at the cost of at least $110 million.
Construction is slated to begin in spring of 2017 and be completed in the fall of 2018.
George Washington announced on Tuesday that Maurice Joseph has been named interim head coach for the 2016-17 season.
“I am eager and well prepared to begin this journey with the 13 student-athletes in our locker room and the tight-knit group of coaches that I will rely upon heavily,” said Joseph. “It is a distinct honor to have the opportunity to be a mentor to our team in this new role. I have the utmost confidence that I will validate the trust that Provost Maltzman and Patrick Nero have placed in me, and that we will deliver a product that makes our students, alumni and fans across the globe proud of GW Basketball and the university.”
Joseph has been a part of the GW coaching staff for the last five years, a full-time assistant for the last three.
He takes over for Mike Lonergan, who coached Joseph for three years at Vermont. Lonergan was fired two weeks ago stemming from an investigation into allegations of abuse.
Lonergan’s other two assistants, Hajj Turner and Carmen Marciariello, both were interviewed for the position as well, according to sources. Turner had been Lonergan’s associate head coach for the past five years, since Lonergan took over at GW.
“In his five years at GW, Maurice has shown himself to be selflessly dedicated to the success of our student-athletes and fully committed to our department and university,” said Nero, GW’s athletic director. “His leadership ability and basketball acumen will bring focus and stability to the talented team we have this year. Our team, basketball staff and athletic department are looking forward to working together for a successful season.”
We are now less than six weeks away from the start of the college basketball season, which means that it is time for us to officially get our picks on the record.
Here, our four writers pick who we think will win each league, the national title and the major awards:
We figured that it wasn’t enough just to simply list out who was on our All-America teams and who was our National Player of the Year, not when the decision is so wide open. Not when there are so many worthwhile candidates.
So while you can go and see the NBCSports.com Preseason All-American team here and you can read our feature story on Duke’s Grayson Allen, the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year, here, you can also listen along as we try to hash out just who we wanted slotted in which spot.
Because we recorded it all on a podcast.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Audioboom or anywhere else that podcasts are given away for free.
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MORE: 2016-17 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule