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NCAA Tournament Predictions: Midwest Region 8. Creighton vs. 9. Alabama
- Updated: March 12, 2012
By: Kels Dayton
8 Creighton(28-5, 14-4 Missouri Valley)-The Bluejays are one of the nation’s most explosive offensive teams, averaging 80 points per game, which is 7th-best in the nation. They also rank 1st in the country in field goal percentage (.509), and are 2nd in assists per game (17.9).
Creighton is paced by All-American candidate Doug McDermott, who also happens to be the son of head coach Greg. The 6-7 sophomore averaged 23.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, and led the nation in field goal percentage (.610). McDermott was absolutely filthy from three-point range, shooting 49.5 percent from beyond the arc.
If Alabama is somehow able to slow down the wonder child, they’ll have to deal with physical specimen Gregory Echenique down low. The 6-9, 270 pound center will provide some tough interior defense against the Tide’s Jamychal Green.
1st Field Goal Percentage (.509)
2nd Assists per game (17.9)
7th Points per game (80.0)
Team stats courtesy of www.espn.com.
9 Alabama(21-11, 9-7 SEC)- The Crimson Tide were a popular preseason sleeper pick in October, but struggled midseason and barely made their way into the field of 68.
The Tide are led by 6-8 senior forward Jamychal Green, who was a big-time recruit coming out of high school and averaged 14 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this season.
Alabama struggles to score points, but is a terrific defensive team under Anthony Grant, whose consistent approach has paid off in Tuscaloosa. The Tide are long and have strength inside, and can hassle you on the perimeter with speedy guards Trevor Releford and Andrew Steele.
This will be an interesting matchup of strengths, with Creighton’s explosive offense going up against Alabama’s stingy defense. In the end though, Creighton has too many weapons and should sink the Tide in a close, well-played game.
245th Points per game (64.9)
9th Points Allowed per game (58.1)
16th Field Goal Percentage Against (38.8)