Creighton (22-7) at Bradley (16-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 27, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carver Arena (11,164) -- Peoria, Illinois. Television: KMTV. Home Record: CU 14-2, Bradley 12-3. Away Record: CU 6-5, Bradley 4-8. Neutral Record: CU 2-0, Bradley 0-2. Conference Record: CU 11-5, Bradley 7-9. Series Record: Creighton leads, 45-41.
GAME NOTES: The Creighton Bluejays are set for their final Missouri Valley Conference road game of the regular season, as they visit Carver Arena to take on the Bradley Braves
Creighton entered the week trailing MVC leader Wichita State by one game with two to play, and those two teams will meet up this weekend in a highly- anticipated bout. But first, the Bluejays will try to rebound from Saturday's 74-66 setback at Saint Mary's.
Meanwhile, Bradley is coming off Saturday's dramatic 63-62 win over Illinois- Chicago on Jake Eastman's buzzer-beater. The Braves are in the middle of the pack in the MVC standings, although they have gone 12-3 at home this season.
Creighton leads the head-to-head series, 45-41, and that includes a 75-58 rout over Bradley earlier this month. In fact, the Bluejays have won 22 of the last 27 meetings.
Saturday's matchup with Saint Mary's got off to a rough start for the Bluejays, who shot a season-low 29.6 percent from the floor in the first half and trailed by 14 at the break. The Gaels dominated the glass in the opening frame (26-13) while scoring 18 points in the paint. Doug McDermott led the way with 22 points in the loss, while teammates Gregory Echenique and Jahenns Manigat finished with 18 and 11 points, respectively. McDermott, a reigning First-Team All-American, has been named the MVC Player of the Week on seven occasions this season. He is the conference scoring leader with 22.4 points per game to go along with 7.6 rebounds. McDermott is also the only CU player averaging double figures, as Echenique is second on the team with 9.8 ppg and 6.7 rpg. Still, Echenique is very efficient with his looks (.655 from the field) and he has also led the league in blocked shots each of the past two seasons. As a team, the Bluejays rank third nationally in 3-point percentage (.422) and field-goal percentage (.505).
The Braves have already more than doubled last season's win total, and each of their three home losses has come by single digits. Guards Walt Lemon Jr. (15.5 ppg, 2.3 spg) and Dyricus Simms-Edwards (12.7 ppg, 2.8 spg) headline the roster. juco transfer Tyshon Pickett (11.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg) has also been a steady contributor along with sixth-year senior Will Egolf (8.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg) in the paint. Defensively, the Braves excel at playing the passing lanes, as they entered the week ranked seventh in the nation in steals (9.8 spg). In Saturday's last-second win over UIC, Lemon led all scorers with 22 points. However, it was his pass to Eastman that set up the game-winner right before the buzzer. Simms-Edwards chipped in with 17 points, while Pickett scored 10 in the victory. The Braves used a 16-9 edge on the offensive glass to overcome a 12-point deficit.
The Bluejays control their own destiny entering this final week of the regular season, but first they must get past Bradley before Saturday's home game against first-place Wichita State. Should they win out, the Bluejays would clinch at least a share of their 15th MVC regular-season crown, which is more than twice as many as any other current league member.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Creighton 75, Bradley 72
02/27 10:34:28 ET