After a tumultuous thanksgiving break, the Buffalo Bulls continue to push through their road heavy non-conference schedule. Buffalo will make the trip to Omaha, Nebraska to face the #10 Creighton Bluejays—UB’s second nationally ranked opponent in the non-conference schedule. The Bulls will need everything to go right in order to pull off an upset over this team.
Creighton is currently lead by head coach Greg McDermott. Holding a 419-266 overall record, McDermott is the reason behind the success of Northern Iowa becoming a premier mid-major college basketball program. This is his seventh year as Creighton’s head coach and has missed the postseason only one time since his tenure started.
The Bluejays are a roster extremely loaded with talent and have one of the highest octane offenses in the entire nation. The only underclassman that they start is at the 5—an area that has become thinner after it was announced that key reserve Zach Hanson is out until February.
Bulls fans should look out for Marcus Foster and Maurice Watson Jr. in this one. Foster is the Bluejays’ leading scorer at 17.7 points per game and is an all around player. Watson is Creighton’s starting point guard and currently has one of the best assist rates in the entire country.
What to watch for
1. Willie Conner’s defense on Foster
Foster’s only 6-3, but is consistently put at the three spot. This is just what the All-MAC defensive player in Conner should want. Conner’s perimeter defense should keep Foster from having a big night if everything plays out right.
2. Defense, defense, defense
Creighton will run away with this game no problem if Buffalo isn’t careful. They have the sixth best offense in the nation and an effective field goal percentage of 63.8%. UB needs to have their best defensive effort to just be in the game regardless. If the Bulls want a chance to win this game, they need to hold Creighton to under 80 points. I am confident that Buffalo can provide just enough offense to get to 80.
3. We have a size advantage and a stronger front court...use it.
UB’s size over Creighton’s guards is an amazing advantage to have, especially with mismatches like Blake Hamilton and Willie Conner in play. Also, there’s only one upperclassman in the front court now, putting Buffalo on equal if not better footing.
4. Expose their defense
The Bluejays have an explosive offense, but their defense isn’t anything to brag about. Driving the ball into the lane will absolutely kill them, but they’re also not that great on the perimeter.
5. Fouls and turnovers
Greater than 15 Buffalo turnovers and/or 20 fouls and I doubt we win this game.
To put it blunt, Buffalo is going to lose this game. They’re going to panic once Creighton puts an obscene early lead on them and I feel like it’ll be over from there. I simply haven’t seen enough consistent play from the Bulls to warrant a win in this one.
But a win would be a welcome surprise.