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Creighton to Face Providence in Big East Quarterfinals

After Providence defeated Georgetown 74-56 on Wednesday night, the Creighton Bluejays will take on the Providence Friars in the Big East quarterfinals.

Creighton split the season series against Providence, most recently a 91-87 loss in early February. In that game, Josh Oduro and (recently named) Big East Player of the Year Devin Carter combined for sixty points. In the previous meeting, Creighton took home a 69-60 win in Omaha.

Photo credits to Hurrdat Sports

The loss on February 7th ended up being one of the best Big East games of the season. The teams went blow for blow, which climaxed with a Devin Carter three-ball from the logo that helped put things away.

Since that loss against Providence, Creighton has compiles seven wins in their last eight tries. The Friars, however, are just 5-4 since the win over the Jays. There's a myriad of seeding implicationsin this one, which certainly adds to the dramatics of this one.

With a loss, Creighton's hopes of getting a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament can be kissed goodbye. They'd likely end up as a #3 seed, with an outside chance of falling to a four. Providence is currently fighting for its life on the NCAA tournament bubble. A loss to Creighton would assuredly pop that bubble, effectively ending PC's season. With a win, Providence will be thoroughly on the cut line.

Josh Oduro had his best game of the season against Creighton last time out, finishing with 32 points and 12 rebounds. How the Bluejays are able to lock down the paint will likely be the deciding factor in this one. Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Ryan Kalkbrenner, will be tasked with the assignment of defending the more-mobile Oduro.

On the defensive end, Providence runs a quasi-similar system to Creighton with their bigs. A more drop-style coverage should allow Trey Alexander to get to his spots in the midrange. Alexander (17.5 ppg, 45.4%) has been playing fantastic basketball the second half of the season. In the past thirteen games (since 1/20), Trey is averaging 20.0 ppg and shooting 36% from deep.

The aforementioned Devin Carter (19.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg) edged out Baylor Scheierman (18.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg) for Big East Player of the Year. A fact that may give Scheierman a bit of added fire heading into this one. Carter ended with 19 pts and 9 rebounds in the round one win over Georgetown on Wednesday night.

Another key to watch for is the turnover margin. Creighton forces less turnovers than any team in America, 362nd out of 362. However, the Friars turn it over at a pretty high rate. If the Bluejays can force a few turnovers and get out into transition — that will go a long way.

The game will tip off at approximately 7:00 ET here at Madison Square Garden.


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