I didn't have time to post the tip time for Cincinnati's game with Creighton on Friday, I apologize. The Bearcats and Blue Jays play at around 2:45 PM. I say around 2:45 because Duke and Albany kick off the action from Philadelphia on Friday. UC plays 30 minutes after the finish of that game. That means they could play a little earlier or a lot later if it's a 10 overtime classic. I doubt that Albany and Duke will play a 10 overtime classic. Duke did lose to a 15 seed last year, so you never know.
My initial thought when Cincinnati popped up as Creighton's opponent was mixed. I think this is a good team. They have a great, great player in Doug McDermott. He's not a first team All-American for no reason. Any time you play a great team with a great player and a system built around that player, that's a dangerous matchup.
My second thought was that this was a very good draw. There are some teams that needed to get the hell away from their conference foes. You could say Michigan because they struggled late, Arizona because they can't beat UCLA, Kansas State because of Kansas, and everyone who played Louisville because Louisville. Cincinnati struggled with the Big East style of play. They finished .500 in a league they were expected to contend. They needed to get away from the physical, rough, tough, grinding action. Whether that makes any difference whatsoever in how they play on Friday is to be seen.
It's easy to jump ahead to the next opponent in a bracket. Seeing Duke waiting there in the next round is always a bit exciting. You don't want to see them in your region because Duke is damn good, but you want to see Duke because BEAT DUKE. That isn't so much the case this year. Being in the dark uniforms puts the focus on the first game from the word go.
Creighton's offense was elite this year. Cincinnati was 3-5 against the KenPom top 20 offenses. They beat Iowa State, Pittsburgh and Marquette. They lost to Pittsburgh, Louisville, Syracuse and Notre Dame twice. I'm wary of the Bearcats playing against such a good offense. They haven't played well against any of them lately.
Creighton has played some solid defenses this season, but Cincinnati is the second best they will have seen. Wisconsin is ranked 3 on Ken Pom. Creighton hung 84 on them. I think the Bearcats can defend them. I believe that the Cats have ability to slow them down into a style they don't like.
Creighton plays a slower paced game, which worries me on the Georgetown/Notre Dame level.
I don't know who guards McDermott. That's a problem a lot of the teams in America have had. He averaged 23 points a game. Guarding him is not easy. You have to think that Rubles starts on him. Then you throw Jackson at him. And Sanders. And Thomas. You have 20 fouls between those 4 guys. Echenique means that Mbodj won't be on him. You can go zone on Creighton. But they have a lot of guys who can shoot the 3. It's a matchup nightmare.
On that same turn, Creighton is not a good defensive team and they are going to have trouble staying in front of our guys. This seems like a big JaQuon Parker game. You would think he would have the smaller Manigat on him instead of Grant Gibbs. I like Parker either way.
I want to go to Philly so bad.
After writing this initial thought piece, I badly want the game to happen now. Too bad it's only Monday. #BeatCreighton