SEC Preview: It’s Kentucky’s world, everyone else is living in it

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Beginning in September and running up through November 11th, the first day of the regular season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2016-2017 college hoops preview package.

Today, we are previewing the SEC.

For the last two or three years, all we’ve heard about the SEC is how the conference is on the way up.

It wasn’t just going to be simply be football and Kentucky anymore. Bruce Pearl was going to turn around Auburn. Ben Howland and Rick Barnes would do the same for Mississippi State and Tennessee. Billy Kennedy had himself a pipeline at Texas A&M, while Johnny Jones was landing No. 1 draft picks at LSU.

And yet, here we are in 2016-17, and the preseason AP poll has Kentucky ranked No. 2 … and nary another SEC program to be found.

I guess it’s going to be football and Kentucky for at least one more season.

LEAGUE PREVIEWS: Big 12 | ACC | Pac-12 | Big Ten | Mid-Majors

De'Aaron Fox, Kentucky Athletics
De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky Athletics


1. Kentucky is loaded with talent once again: Are you really surprised that, in a year where the freshman class is as good as we’ve ever seen it be, that Kentucky has a roster stocked with future first round draft picks? It starts with Bam Adebayo, a top ten prospect and the most athletic big man in the SEC, and continues with another pair of potential lottery picks in back court mates De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk. Isaiah Briscoe was a five-star prospect last season, Wenyen Gabriel could end up being the best defender on this team and there are some NBA people that think Sacha Killeya-Jones might end up being the best long-term prospect on the roster.

And I haven’t even mentioned Derek Willis or Isaac Humphries yet. Kentucky is certainly loaded with talent …

2. … but there are legitimate questions about fit: Specifically, just how well does this roster fit together? The way I see it, there are two legitimate concerns, the first of which is UK’s perimeter shooting. Fox and Briscoe have yet to prove themselves as three-point threats while Monk has been anything-but consistent as a perimeter shooter in his young career. Willis was the difference-maker last season when he was thrust into the squad, but when he is on the floor, issues emerge for the Wildcats defensively. Does he guard threes or fours? Can you play him over Gabriel, who isn’t the same shooter but who is a potential stopper defensively? Can Humphries act as a rim protector? Can he play with Adebayo on a team that is just about locked into perimeter shooting issues?

To read more on this, I went in-depth on the Wildcats here. It takes more than a paragraph to fully flesh out that thought process.

3. Florida has a team that can get to the tournament: For my money, Florida is the second-best team in the SEC on paper, and I’m not sure it is all that close. Kasey Hill is a former five-star recruit who finally, after nearly three seasons of inconsistency, looked like a McDonald’s All-American down the stretch. KeVaughn Allen had flashes of brilliance in a promising freshman year. Devin Robinson has the kind of physical tools that should allow him to thrive in Mike White’s uptempo style of play, and Chris Chiozza offers a nice counter-balance to the insanity as a heady playmaker. Throw in Canyon Barry – Rick’s last son – and powerhouse big man John Egbunu, not to mention a slew of solid role players coming off the bench, and this team has the pieces to crack the top 25. Can White unlock their potential?

CONTENDER SERIES: Duke | Oregon | Kentucky | Kansas | Villanova

ANNAPOLIS, MD - NOVEMBER 13: KeVaughn Allen #4 of the Florida Gators puts up a shot in front of Jace Hogan #44 of the Navy Midshipmen in the first half during the Veterans Classic at Alumni Hall on November 13, 2015 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
KeVaughn Allen (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

4. Beyond that, who can you trust in the SEC?: I’m legitimately asking you, because I don’t know that there is a team here you can. Georgia has J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten and nary another proven contributor. Ole Miss is going to be relying on a pair of transfers in Cullen Neal and Deandre Burnett. I’m not sure Arkansas has the talent around Moses Kingsley to be worth paying attention to. Texas A&M lost so many veteran pieces from a season ago. Vanderbilt made a needed change at head coach, but losing two first rounders for a First Four program is not easy to over come. This feels like it is South Carolina’s year, but what have they done to prove that they’re something more than a middle-of-the-pack SEC program?

5. Auburn, Mississippi State and Tennessee really are on the right track: It really should not be a surprise to anyone that Ben Howland, Bruce Pearl and Rick Barnes are able to recruit, because they’ve been able to recruit at every stop they’ve landed during their coaching careers. And while all three programs are still at least a year away, they’re heading in the right direction. Pearl finally has a roster of 13 scholarship players whom he recruited, headlined by a five-star prospect in Mustapha Heron with a top five recruiting class coming next season. Howland has a potential star in Quinndary Weatherspoon and six four-star freshmen entering his program. Barnes has more work to do still, but the Vols are not devoid of talent, just size. The results are coming … eventually.


Unless you are from the state of Arkansas, you may not realize just how good Kingsley was as a junior last season. The 6-foot-10 center averaged 15.9 points, 9.3 boards and 2.4 blocks despite playing for a Razorback team that didn’t have too many other threats.

Top Backcourts | Top Frontcourts | Top 100 Players

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 13: Moses Kingsley #33 of the Arkansas Razorbacks dunks against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the second round of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 13, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Moses Kingsley (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


  • De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky: Fox could very well end up being the best perimeter defender in college basketball this season.
  • J.J. Frazier, Georgia: Frazier is so underrated. he averaged 16.9 points, 4.5 boards and 4.4 assists last season.
  • Bam Adebayo, Kentucky: If a Kentucky player is destined to win the SEC Player of the Year award, I think that it will end up being Bam.
  • Malik Monk, Kentucky: There isn’t a more exciting player in college basketball this season than Monk. The question is whether or not he is going to be consistent enough to garner postseason awards.


  • Quinndary Weatherspoon, Mississippi State
  • KeVaughn Allen, Florida
  • Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina
  • Tyler Davis, Texas A&M
  • Yante Maten, Georgia

BREAKOUT STAR: Tyler Davis, Texas A&M

Last year, playing on a team that was dominated by perimeter talent, a freshman like Davis was never really going to be a guy that was featured … and yet he still managed to average 11.3 points in just over 22 minutes. With guys like Danuel House, Alex Caruso and Jalen Jones gone, it’s going to be the Davis show for Billy Kennedy.


When you have the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft on your team posting stat lines of 19 points, 12 boards and five assists every single night, and you cannot get that team to care enough to get into the NCAA tournament, it’s not an easy task to justify your salary to your bosses. Jones did that. We’ll see if it’s still the case if the Tigers have a disastrous 2016-17 season.

ON SELECTION SUNDAY WE’LL BE SAYING … : Man, the SEC was lucky to get more than two teams into the Big Dance this year.

I’M MOST EXCITED ABOUT: Seeing how John Calipari puts all the pieces on his roster together.


  • 11/15, Kentucky vs. Michigan State
  • 12/3, Kentucky vs. UCLA
  • 12/6, Florida vs. Duke
  • 12/17, Kentucky vs. North Carolina
  • 1/28, Kentucky vs. Kansas


POSITION RANKS: Lead Guards | Off Guards | Wings | Big Men

De'Aaron Fox, Kentucky Athletics
De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky Athletics


1. Kentucky: Duh.
2. Florida: I just love the talent on this roster. I do think that, out of the rest of the teams in this league, the Gators have the highest ceiling, but don’t go betting your mortgage on Mike White being able to tap into that talent until he proves he can win at this level.
3. Georgia: The Bulldogs have the best 1-2 punch in the SEC this season with J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten. If you know who is going to step up to support those two, please drop us a line and let us know. But that duo should be enough to get the Bulldogs into the NCAA tournament conversation.
4. Ole Miss: Andy Kennedy is the longest-tenured coach in the SEC and has done a pretty good job running a program that you may forget has a basketball team. Transfers Cullen Neal and Deandre Burnett should thrive in Kennedy’s offense – think of Neal as Marshall Henderson minus the crazy – while Sebastian Saiz is one of the more underrated bigs nationally.
5. Texas A&M: I think the Aggies are still probably a year away, but with Admon Gilder, D.J. Hogg and J.J. Caldwell playing around Tyler Davis, I think Billy Kennedy has enough pieces to make a run at the top four in the league and a trip to the NCAA tournament.
6. South Carolina: It’s hard to know what to make of the Gamecocks. I think Frank Martin has the pieces he needs to play the way he wants to play, but it’s hard to ignore that they lost three starters or how their season ended in 2016. Let’s see if P.J. Dozier is the real deal.
7. Vanderbilt: Vandy lost two first round picks and their head coach, which is a lot to overcome. But Bryce Drew may actually be an upgrade and there is probably more talent in this program than you may realize: Matthew Fisher-Davis, Camron Justice, Luke Kornet, Jeff Roberson. The big question: Can Riley LaChance handle the point guard duties full-time?
8. Arkansas: Moses Kingsley is an animal and Dusty Hannahs has game good enough to back up one of the best names in college hoops, but I’m not yet convinced that a team coached by Mike Anderson can out-perform expectations.
9. Mississippi State: Quinndary Weatherspoon is one of the best players you haven’t heard of, and his ability is one of the reasons that no one is really talking about Malik Newman leaving the Bulldog program. Given their youth, this team is a year away, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Howland find a way to get them to around .500 in league play come March.
10. Alabama: There are some pieces here – namely Dazon Ingram, Riley Norris and Memphis transfer Nick King – but we’d be having a very different conversation about the Tide is Terrence Ferguson hadn’t decommitted.
11. Auburn: I have a feeling that Mustapha Heron is going to be better than some people realize, but the talent on the Tiger roster is just a bit too raw at this point to expect them to really compete for the postseason.
12. Tennessee: The Vols are going to be fun to watch this year because they’ll spread the floor and get up and down the court, but when you play high-major basketball and have just three players taller than 6-foot-6, you’re in trouble.
13. LSU: Johnny Jones couldn’t win with the most talented player in college basketball last season, which should we expect him to win with essentially the same team and no Ben Simmons?
14. Missouri: Head coach Kim Anderson climbed out of a coffin at Midnight Madness. That wasn’t the kind of symbolism the Tigers intended, I’m sure.

Top-ranked Houston grinds out 53-48 win over Saint Mary’s

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FORT WORTH, Texas – J’Wan Roberts scored 15 points, Marcus Sasser added 13 and top-ranked Houston held on to beat Saint Mary’s 53-48 on Saturday night.

The Cougars (8-0) won twice in their first week as the No. 1 team since the final poll of the 1982-83 regular season, when Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon led high-flying Phi Slama Jama.

Logan Johnson scored 17 points and Aidan Mahaney had 14 for the Gaels (6-3), who lost their third in a row following a 6-0 start.

Houston was the favorite to win it all in the second of three consecutive trips to the Final Four nearly 40 years ago, but lost to Jim Valvano and North Carolina State in one of the iconic championship games.

Coach Kelvin Sampson’s first top-ranked team is coming off trips to the Final Four and Elite Eight the past two seasons.

For the third straight year, the postseason path will start at Dickie’s Arena, where Sampson likes to bring his team during the regular season as prep for the American Athletic Conference tourney.

This victory in the Battleground 2k22 series improved the Cougars to 9-0 in the arena near downtown Fort Worth, where they have won AAC tournament titles each of the past two years.

Saint Mary’s whittled a 12-point deficit to a single possession when Mahaney hit a 3, and he made it a three-point game again at 46-43 with another from long range.

Roberts answered by backing down for a short jump hook before Sasser converted a three-point play to put the Cougars up 51-43.

Houston broke a 17-all tie with a 14-3 run to finish the first half, with Saint Mary’s going 1 of 11 from the field in that stretch against the vaunted Cougars defense. Both teams shot 37%.


Saint Mary’s: Facing the No. 1 team isn’t foreign to the Gaels, who play in the West Coast Conference with Gonzaga. St. Mary’s is 2-7 against the Zags when they have the top ranking, with one of the victories coming last season.

Houston: The Cougars had no trouble in their debut with the No. 1 ranking, blowing out Norfolk State 100-52 at home Tuesday. A disciplined and tournament-tested opponent for the second game was just the threat Sampson’s club figured it could be.


Saint Mary’s: Missouri State at home Wednesday.

Houston: North Florida at home Tuesday.

Clowney, No. 11 Alabama recover to beat South Dakota St

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Freshman Noah Clowney’s breakout game – 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a steal – helped No. 11 Alabama recover from blowing a 20-point lead and beat South Dakota State 78-65 on Saturday night.

Clowney shot 8 of 17, including 5 of 12 on 3s, in his highest-scoring game of the season.

“We’ve encouraged him to shoot it, I’m glad he did,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “His senior year of high school, he started out pretty poorly from 3 then shot it 40% after that, so I kind of referenced that.”

Alabama (7-1) led 37-17 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half. South Dakota State (3-6) rallied to go ahead 51-50 on Alex Arians’ 3-pointer with 11 1/2 minutes remaining.

Nimari Burnett’s foul shot a minute later put the Crimson Tide ahead for good at 54-53. Alabama used a 9-0 run to pull away.

Mark Sears scored 19 points and Brandon Miller had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Crimson Tide

Alabama made 14 of its first 26 shots to build a big lead before it slipped away.

“I’m not going to call them mature, we still have some room to grow,” Oats said. “Our guys have to understand, no matter who we’re playing, even if their record isn’t great, they’re Division I basketball players, they’re good teams. Last year, we had issues with this going down the road.”

Charlie Easley and Arians each scored 17 points for the Jackrabbits. Zeke Mayo added 12 points and Matt Dentlinger contributed nine rebounds.


Sears continues to be a force at home for Alabama. In Alabama’s last three home games – wins over Liberty, Jacksonville State and South Dakota State – he has scored 22, 18 and 19 points, making at least three 3-pointers in all three games. Alabama’s next home game comes against a Memphis team that already has two wins over SEC competition.


South Dakota State coach Eric Henderson noticed that in Alabama’s first two home games, Longwood and Liberty both trailed by fewer than 10 points at halftime before losing by 21 and 36 points, respectively. He viewed the first five minutes of the second half as critical in both instances, seeing an Alabama team using the home environment to its advantage.

Henderson stressed to his team that it had to win those five minutes to have a chance. Down 42-35 at the break, it did, and ultimately took the lead.

“They really increase the pressure, they try to play a little faster, they get downhill and they really spray it,” Henderson said. “I thought we were getting some 50-50 balls, I thought we were playing with some confidence. There’s been a lot of schools to come in here and have a good first half and it ends up being a 30- or 40-point game.”


South Dakota State stays on the road to face Montana on Tuesday.

Alabama takes a weeklong break before its second game against the current No. 1 team in the nation, this time a road game against Houston on Saturday. The Crimson Tide beat former No. 1 North Carolina in its first shot at the top-ranked team, winning 103-101 in four overtimes on Nov. 27.

Rutgers beats No. 10 Indiana for sixth straight time, 63-48

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. – With the clock winding down in the final minutes, Rutgers fans didn’t hesitate in letting No. 10 Indiana how they felt about the Hoosiers’ rating.

Chants of “Who’s Your Daddy” and “Overrated” were shouted with glee at the Indiana bench after the team was knocked from the unbeaten ranks.

Make no mistake, Rutgers (6-2, 1-0 Big Ten) owns Indiana (7-1, 0-1) on the basketball floor these days.

Freshman guard Derek Simpson scored 10 straight points in a game-deciding run and Rutgers beat Indiana for the sixth time in a row and ninth time in 10 meetings, 63-48 on Saturday.

“As far as Indiana goes, I feel we just know the focus of this team,” said Rutgers senior Caleb McConnell, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds. “It gives us an advantage because we had beaten them five times in a row. We went in trying to execute our game plan and we did it again.”

Simpson scored all 14 of his points in the second half as Rutgers made coach Mike Woodson’s first visit to “The Banks” unpleasant.

“We got to make shots from the perimeter,” said Woodson, whose team shot 30.4% from the field, including 6 of 21 from long range. “But we just got out-toughed tonight. I thought, I mean, from the beginning to the end, I mean, we couldn’t rebound the basketball with him. I thought that was the difference in the ballgame and that was the cushion that they needed.”

Miller Kopp scored a season-high 21 points for Indiana . Star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who faced a packed in defense, was held to 13 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out late.

Jackson-Davis said Indiana just didn’t play well.

“I don’t necessarily say that it’s a bad matchup for us because I think defensively we’re still good,” he said. “But at the same time, our offense just wasn’t clicking tonight.”

The win was coach Steve Pikiell’s 14th over a ranked team since taking over a struggling Rutgers’ program in 2016-17. As usual, defense was at the center of its win.

The Hoosiers’ point total was a season low. They were averaging 87.1 points and were coming off a win over North Carolina.

Indiana played poorly in the first half in falling behind 31-24. The Hoosiers opened the final 20 minutes with a 13-4 spurt, taking two-point leads on baskets by Xavier Johnson and Kopp.

McConnell hit a 3-pointer to put Rutgers ahead for good and then Simpson took over, hitting a layup, a jumper, a 3-pointer and a big scoop shot for a 47-37 lead. His final point in the run came when Johnson hit him in the face in the offensive zone and a flagrant foul was eventually called. He made 1 of 2 free throws.

“I still have have much more to do and I am going to keep working and we’re going to keep working as a team,” Simpson said. “It was a fun game, and it really got loud. My ears are still ringing right now.”


Rutgers senior starting guard Paul Mulcahy returned to the lineup after missing four games with a shoulder injury. He came off the bench early in the first half and played almost 24 minutes, scoring six points and handing out four assists.


Indiana starting guard Jalen Hood-Schifino did not play because of a back problem. He was averaging 8.7 points. Starting forward Race Thompson, who was averaging 7.3 points, was scoreless on 0 for 4 shooting.


Indiana: This was poor performance by the Hoosiers. They are bound to take a tumble.

Rutgers: This was a big win for Rutgers, which was coming off a road loss at Miami. They are 6-0 at home.


Indiana: Conference home opener against Nebraska on Wednesday.

Rutgers: At No. 25 Ohio State on Thursday.

Flagler, No. 6 Baylor rally late, top No. 14 Gonzaga 64-63

Baylor vs. Gonzaga
USA Today

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — In a rematch of the 2021 national championship game, Adam Flagler hit a pair of 3s as No. 6 Baylor scored the final eight points to rally past No. 14 Gonzaga 64-63 Friday night.

Gonzaga’s Rasir Bolton missed a wild, driving layup try at the buzzer.

Two seasons ago, Baylor beat the then-undefeated Zags 86-70 to win its first title. This time, the Bears didn’t take the lead for good until Jalen Bridges made two free throws with 16 seconds left.

“Adam is a great leader, but no one knew he wasn’t feeling well today,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. “To be honest, some players wouldn’t have played. He played through the pain and left it all out on the court. As a coach, I appreciate that.”

The Bears (6-2) trailed 63-56 before Flagler hit a 3-pointer with 1:33 left. Flagler’s 3 with just over a minute to play cut Baylor’s deficit to 63-62.

After a Gonzaga shot clock violation, Flagler’s 3-point attempt for the lead was off the mark, but Bridges was fouled by Drew Timme on the rebound attempt. Bridges hit two foul shots to put Baylor ahead.

The Zags (5-3) had a final chance when Bolton caught an inbounds pass near his own foul line with 4.6 seconds remaining. He drove the lane, but his off-balance shot went high off the glass and missed as the buzzer sounded.

“We took two balls down hill and tried to make plays at the rim. At that point in the game, those are tough,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. “It’s very disappointing. They made plays, man.”

Freshman Keyonte George had 18 points and seven rebounds for Baylor. Flagler had 11 points and Langston Love added 10.

“I trust my work. I was able to knock them down,” George said. “My teammates believe in me each and every day. They give me that confidence in a big game to make big shots like that.”

Malchi Smith scored 16 points for Gonzaga. Anton Watson added a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Timme had nine points.

Baylor led by as many as 12 in the first half before Gonzaga closed to five at the break.

Watson’s basket put Gonzaga ahead 41-40. From there, the teams swapped leads over the next 13 minutes as the second half featured two ties and 14 lead changes.

A thunderous dunk from Smith gave Gonzaga its seven-point lead with under two minutes to go.


Baylor: The win was a big rebound for Baylor after its 26-point loss to Marquette earlier in the week. The loss was the Bears’ most lopsided since they fell to Kansas 82-56 in 2007

Gonzaga: After opening the season ranked No. 2 in the AP preseason poll, the Zags have now lost two of three.


Timme began the night leading the Bulldogs in scoring at 20 points per game. He was hampered by foul trouble against Baylor and got his first field goal with six minutes remaining. He fouled out with 16 seconds to play.


Four players on the floor Friday night had significant minutes in the championship game two years ago including Flagler, Timme and Watson, along with Baylor’s Flo Thamba.


Baylor: The Bears return home to host Tarleton on Tuesday before playing Washington State on Sunday in Dallas for the Pac 12 Coast-to-Coast Challenge.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs return to Spokane for three straight beginning Monday when they face Kent State for the first time in school history.

Carr scores 19, No. 2 Texas beats No. 7 Creighton 72-67

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas had pressured Creighton’s shooters into a miserable night, only to watch a late flurry of 3-pointers start swishing.

An 11-point Longhorns lead was down to three.

That hardly rattled Marcus Carr and the second-ranked Longhorns, who stepped up with big late shots of their own and steady free-throw shooting to secure another impressive early-season victory, 72-67 over the seventh-ranked Bluejays on Thursday night.

Carr scored 19 points and made two free throws with 10 seconds left as Texas held off Creighton’s furious late-game rally.

Creighton struggled through a wretched 3-point shooting night, but pulled within 62-59 thanks in part to five points in a row by Baylor Scheierman. Carr’s baseline jumper and an easy layup by Tyrese Hunter when Creighton lost him on an inbound pass with 46 seconds left stretched the Longhorns’ lead again.

That didn’t quite close the door on Creighton, which got two more 3-pointers from Scheierman, who had missed his first nine attempts. That forced Texas to finish it from the free-throw line behind Carr and Brock Cunningham. Cunningham’s two free throws with 4 seconds left were his only points of the game.

“There’s going to be a bunch of times one of us has to go down there and knock down a bunch of free throws,” Carr said. “We talk about it all the time.”

The matchup was part of the Big 12-Big East Battle and Texas earned its second win over a top-10 opponent in its new arena. The Longhorns (6-0) beat then-No. 2 Gonzaga on Nov. 16 and have their highest ranking since they were No. 1 during the 2009-2010 season.

“I don’t think we’ve proven anything,” Texas coach Chris Beard said. “We’re just a team that’s trying to get better.”

Hunter scored 15 points for Texas.

Ryan Kalkbrenner had 20 points and 13 rebounds for Creighton (6-2), and Ryan Nembhard scored 17 points. The Bluejays were 4 of 27 on 3-pointers.

Scheierman, a 44% shooter from beyond the arc this season, made three 3s in a row late. His off-balance shot from the right corner over a defender pulled the Bluejays within 68-65 with 11.4 seconds left.

Scheierman finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

“The reality is you are gonna have nights,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “It just happens. We don’t ever want him to stop shooting.”


Creighton: Kalkbrenner was all but unstoppable on a 9-of-10 shooting night for the Bluejays, who kept launching from long range instead of looking for their 7-foot-1 center.

Texas: The Longhorns couldn’t force their usual numbers of turnovers and fast-break points, but were exceptionally clean with the ball on offense. Texas had just three turnovers that Creighton turned into three points.


Texas senior forward Christian Bishop played three seasons at Creighton before transferring prior to last season. He finished with six points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.

“We understood what this game was, not just for our team but for Christian,” Carr said.


McDermott suggested his team maybe just wore out. The Bluejays went 2-1 in the Maui Invitational last week and then played their first game of the season on an opponent’s home court.

“Three games in three days against ranked teams (in Hawaii) and then to come in here,” McDermott said. “That’s a lot to ask of my team.”


Creighton hosts in-state rival Nebraska on Sunday.

Texas plays No. 16 Illinois in New York City on Dec. 6 in the Jimmy V Classic.