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Creighton vs. Alabama
Pick With Analysis
The Alabama Crimson Tide (21-11, RPI: 36) entered this season as one of the teams to beat and that was displayed by a preseason Top 25 ranking. They opened the year strong, but quickly hit the skids in conference play. Now, they have limped into the NCAA Tournamenet as the No. 9 seed of the Midwest Region. Their foe, the Creighton Bluejays (28-5, RPI: 24), are likely feeling snubbed after receiving the No. 8 seed despite a very strong record and RPI. This game will take place in Greensboro, North Carolina and the Tide is a -1.5 point favorite to advance to the second round.
Nonconference play saw Alabama deliver decisive defeats to both Maryland and Purdue. They also put a whippin' on VCU and Wichita State. Inside the SEC the Crimson Tide has wins over Mississippi State and Arkansas. Conference stalwarts Kentucky, Florida and Vanderbilt soundly defeated them quite soundly.
Creighton, one of the best shooting teams in America, owns great road victories over Wichita State and San Diego State in nonconference play. They beat Long Beach State at home. Inside the conference they threw down the gauntlet 14-4 which was good enough for second place in the Missouri Valley behind a resurgent Wichita State squad.
Senior F JaMychal Green leads the charge for Alabam with 14 PPG and a very stellar 7.4 RPG. The big 'fella's best effort of the year came against VCU when he scored 21 points and cleaned the glass for 14 rebounds. Junior F Tony Mitchell is also a pivotal player for Alabama. He averages 13.1 PPG and 7 RPG. His best game this year was against Wichita State. He went off on the Shockers for 26 points. Junior G Andrew Steele could be an X-factor for Alabama. He has struggled of late, but averages 6.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 2.8 APG. He must turn it up for this team to have a chance at winning.
The Bluejays can shoot the lights out of the basketball. They rank 7th in PPG at 80 and 2nd in APG at 17.9. They are first in the nation in FG%. Big man Doug McDermott is the best scorer at 23.2 PPG. He is also a provider of 8.2 RPG. Not bad for a sophomore in the Missouri Valley conference! McDermott erupted for 36 points and 11 rebounds against Long Beach State.
Junior G Grant Gibbs does a great job of dishing the ball out to his teammates and this is shown by his average of 5.1 APG. He's not a bad shooter either. Gibbs averages 7.1 PPG and had 20 in Creighton's conference tournament championship game against Illinois State.
This is a game where our numbers lean towards Alabama, slightly, but hey, this is March Madness and somewhere along the way you simply have to pick some upsets. This is as good of a spot as any. Creighton +1.5.
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