While Cincinnati’s coach Mick Cronin spent sleepness nights this week trying to figure out how to slow down Doug McDermott, Creighton’s National Player of the Year candidate was concerned with how the Bluejays would handle the Bearcats pressure defense. Friday at 1:45 CT will begin to give us some clarity on which team has the upperhand when they face off in their second round matchup of the NCAA Tournament in Philadelphia, PA.
The 10th-seeded Bearcats (22-11) challenge will be slowing McDermott who leads the seventh-seeded Jay as the best field goal and three-point shooting team in the country.
“He’s a real problem,” Cronin said. “He can beat you by himself. Our guys see a lot of great players, but we have not seen a scorer of his magnitude.”
According to McDermott, Cincinnati may be one of the better defensive teams they face this year.
“They pressure the ball, they like to full court press at times, and we don’t see a lot of teams like that each year. We’re definitely excited for it. I mean, they’re going to be really athletic, really physical I’m sure with me.”
This could be the last time Creighton fans see McDermott in a college game. NBA scouts have McDermott projected a late first-round pick if he declares for the draft following the end of his junior season.
As Creighton prepares to move to the Big East, albeit a toned down version from this year’s conference, they’ll get a taste of a different style of basketball. Transfer Gregory Echenique is familiar with Cincinnati from his days at Rutgers.
“They’re a team that’s not really intimidated by anything, and I’m pretty sure that they haven’t changed their philosophy since the last time I played them. Watching film and stuff, I can tell they have that same mentality. They’re a tough team, and it’s going to be a fist fight. But we’ll be ready for it. We’ve just got to stay within our plan and just be smart, don’t fall into — I think it’s going to be a lot of emotion involved in that game, and we’ve just got to stay focused, and our coaches do a good job just spending a lot of time watching film and putting a plan together. So we’ve just got to follow it, and we’ll be fine.”