The Jays, after a 1-1 showing in the Las Vegas Invitational last week, will return home to face Oral Roberts. A full breakdown of the matchup is below:
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: CHI Health Center
Radio: 1620 AM KOZN, 101.9 FM KOOO
Online: Fox Sports Go
2019-20 Record: 3-4
2018-19 Record: 11-21, 7-9 Summit League
2018-19 postseason: None
KenPom offensive efficiency: 128th (CU: 16th)
KenPom defensive efficiency: 219th (CU: 133rd)
Trending: Oral Roberts, returning seven of its top nine contributors from last season, was picked to finish third in the Summit League preseason poll. The Golden Eagles have shown potential in spurts this year against the nation's fifth-toughest schedule. By the time conference play begins, they should round into form.
Series history: Creighton leads 7-4. The Jays won the last meeting 66-65 in Omaha three years ago.
Injury report: Oral Roberts is expected to be without 6-foot-8 senior Emmanuel Nzekwesi, who’s missed the last three games. The preseason All-Summit League honoree averaged 14.5 points in the Golden Eagles’ first four contests this year.
Three players to watch
Sophomore forward Kevin Obanor: The active and agile 6-foot-8 big man was the Summit League freshman of the year last season. He can hit open jumpers (career 38.9% shooter from 3-point range). He’s got a face-up game. He’s aggressive on the glass. He’ll draw fouls. Definitely a difficult matchup for CU.
Senior guard Deondre Burns: Both one-on-one off the dribble and with use of a ball screen, the 6-foot-3 Burns often works his way into the center of the lane. And then he does damage — scoring with leaners and floaters, or finding open teammates. It’ll take a team effort to limit his production.
Freshman guard Max Abmas: He’s shooting just 30% from 3-point range. But he seems to still have a bright green light (9.6 3-point tries per game), which suggests that the 6-foot-1 rookie has the potential to get hot and change a game.
Three keys for Creighton
1. Defend in transition: Oral Roberts likes to move quickly. It ranks 19th in Pomeroy’s adjusted tempo metric. In their three wins, the Golden Eagles have been credited with an average of 13.7 fastbreak points (just 7.0 in the four defeats). So Creighton better be disciplined in the early shot clock to prevent Oral Roberts from creating easy looks.
2. Attack inside: Whether CU’s guards are boldly dribbling downhill out of ball screens or its big men are making moves on the block, Creighton does need to make a concerted effort to put pressure on the rim. The Golden Eagles have blocked just 4.8% of opponents’ shots (322nd nationally), according to Pomeroy’s data. Their tallest forwards are listed at 6-foot-8. CU should attempt to go right at them.
3. Sustain the energy: Hustle plays in overtime played a critical role in the Jays’ win over Texas Tech on Friday. Creighton has to be committed to out-working Oral Roberts for 40 minutes Tuesday. Because it appears the Golden Eagles are a tough-minded group. They battled back from double-digit deficits at Oklahoma State and at Wichita State — those were both one-possession games down the stretch.
ESPN’s BPI: Creighton’s win probability is 89.8%
KenPom: Creighton wins 84-71
Jon Nyatawa’s take: This game should take on the up-tempo style CU prefers. The Jays, presuming they’re not looking ahead to Saturday’s in-state showdown with Nebraska, should win comfortably. 85-67.