The Jays were annihilated in their Las Vegas Invitational opener Thursday night, falling 83-52 to San Diego State. And now they have to rebound quickly against the reigning national runners-up. A preview of the consolation game:
When: 9:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas
Radio: 1620 AM KOZN
Online: Fox Sports Go
2019-20 Record: 5-1
2018-19 Record: 31-7, 14-4 Big 12
2018-19 postseason: NCAA tournament championship game (No. 3 seed)
KenPom offensive efficiency: 50th (CU: 24th)
KenPom defensive efficiency: 8th (CU: 134th)
Trending: The Red Raiders had played the second-easiest schedule in the country before this week, according to Ken Pomeroy’s data. So while it was presumed that they’d be retooling after last year’s NCAA tournament run, they were difficult to evaluate early on. Then Thursday happened. They lost to Iowa. That suggests there will be some growing pains.
Series history: Creighton leads 2-1. The last meeting took place in 1975 (The Jays won 51-45).
Three players to watch
Freshman guard Jahmi’us Ramsey: Texas Tech has had a first-round NBA draft pick the last two years. He could make it three in a row. But Ramsey, who’s averaging 17.3 points per game, did leave Thursday’s game early. So he may not be 100 percent healthy.
Junior guard Davide Moretti: You can’t give him much room. He only made two of his seven 3-point tries against Iowa on Thursday, but he was 12 of 20 from 3-point range in the five games before that.
Senior guard Chris Clarke: He’s only attempted one 3-pointer on the year, but he’s listed at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds. He leads the team in rebounds and assists. He’ll likely be a nightmare matchup for CU’s smaller lineup.
Three keys for Creighton
1. Limit turnovers. If the Jays thought San Diego State’s length and athleticism were bothersome, they’re going to be in for another nightmare scenario Friday. Texas Tech’s rotation features three 6-foot-6 wings, a lanky 6-foot-8 big man and an agile 7-footer. The Red Raiders rank 39th nationally in opponent turnover percentage (23.6%), according to Pomeroy’s data. Creighton has to be sound with the ball.
2. Rebound. It’s important every night for CU, but especially Friday. Texas Tech appears to still be searching for its identity offensively. But one thing it knows how to do: Crash the glass for second-chance opportunities. It could be Clarke, or forward TJ Holyfield, or even one of the guards. The Jays have to be committed to finishing a defensive possession by grabbing rebounds.
3. Keep battling. The Jays went six minutes without points late in the first half Thursday, and they subsequently lost their edge and their fire. It’s when San Diego State hit them with an 18-0 run, essentially ending the game right there. That can’t happen against Texas Tech, because you’re going to miss shots against the Red Raiders. They can frustrate even the most potent scorers. Creighton has to be ready for a slugfest.
KenPom: Texas Tech wins 73-68
Jon Nyatawa’s take: Perhaps the potential equalizer here is that CU and Texas Tech appear to have similar depth concerns, especially if Ramsey isn’t able to go. Still, though, great defense usually beats good offense. That was proven Thursday, anyway. So I'll pick Texas Tech, 67-61.