Nobody expected these two teams to be playing for the right to go to the Final Four. Neither team is a fluke and both are tough-minded physical basketball teams that should be ready for an all-out street fight.
If the San Diego State defensive intensity from their Alabama game continues, the Blue Jays could be in trouble.
Yes, Tide star Brandon Miller had a tough tournament and an awful performance on Friday night, but Kevin Mensah and the Aztec D had much to do with it.
Creighton will have plenty of chances from the outside but won’t get many clean looks. Worse still, all that cutting the offense does to get to the basket could cause similar problems as Alabama did against SDSU’s big men.
Send everything to the rim, then let our veterans handle any remaining challenges.
San Diego State is fortunate not to endure much defensive pressure, as most teams do when someone in the backcourt presses the ball. That won’t happen against Creighton – its fast break points come from defensive rebounds, and few teams are better at transition defense than the Aztecs.
You must possess the size to stand up to San Diego State’s formidable challenges.
Creighton is a physically dominant team, and while they might not dominate on offense, they make up for it with every defensive rebound and strong interior blocking abilities.
So far in the tournament, the Bluejays have been unbeatable. They were impressive against NC State on the inside, Baylor from the outside, and Princeton in all facets of the game.
Creighton has had much better luck on the free throw line than most teams. All 22 of Creighton’s free throws against Baylor were made, they went 17-of-19 against NC State to overcome poor outside shooting and connected on 13 of 16 against the Tigers to make it into the Elite Eight.
They excel at cutting and getting to the basket and creating extra passes for easy shots.
These two teams have not played this season.
San Diego State has depth, while Creighton lacks it. That could be the key factor in deciding who grabs the first spot in this year’s final four.
The Bluejays can stay competitive by not committing many fouls. There’s no need for bench help when the main men stay out of trouble, and San Diego State has a unique way of combatting that issue from within.
Depth and experience will be the Aztecs’ most significant assets in this game. This team goes nine upperclassmen deep, unlike Creighton which only has five guys (no seniors) and three sophomores.
Just as Alabama was a different team when they scored 71 or more points and was held to 64 by the Aztecs, so were the Bluejays when they score 72 or more. When those goals come off the board, they are 21-4; when not, 3-8.
San Diego State allows an average of 63 points per game.
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