Midwest Second Round: Alabama Crimson Tide vs Creighton Blue Jays

2012 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Second Round
#9 Alabama Crimson Tide vs #8 Creighton Blue Jays
Greensboro Coliseum – Greensboro, North Carolina
Friday, March 16, 2012, 1:40 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Pick
Current Line: Alabama -1 1/2
Opening Total: 132
Current Total: 133
Opening Money Line: Creighton -115 / Alabama -105
Current Money Line: Alabama -125 / Creighton +105

Alabama will face Creighton in Greensboro Friday in the second round of the NCAA tournament Midwest region. The Crimson Tide are slight favorites.

The 28-5 Creighton Blue Jays have won 7 games in a row including the Missouri Valley Conference Championship game against Illinois St 83-79. Creighton is coached by Greg McDermott, and his son Doug a second team All-American is the leading scorer for the Blue Jays. Creighton is making their first appearance in the tournament since 2007.

Creighton will take on #9 seed Alabama in Greensboro in the Midwest region second round. Alabama is coached by Anthony Grant The winner will in all likelihood play North Carolina in the third round unless Vermont pulls off the miracle of all miracles. The Crimson Tide are 21-11 this season and finished fifth in the SEC. Alabama has won 5 of their last 7 games, but lost to Florida 66-63 in the SEC quarterfinals. Alabama hasn’t played in the NCAA tournament since 2006. Alabama and Creighton have never played each other before.

Creighton has wins over UAB, Iowa, San Diego St, Nebraska, Tulsa, Long Beach St and Northwestern. In conference, Creighton split with Missouri St, Wichita St, Northern Iowa, and Evansville, but swept everyone else. The Blue ays also have a loss to St. Joseph’s.

Alabama has wins over Maryland, Wichita St, Purdue, VCU, Detroit, Oklahoma St, Georgia Tech, Georgia, LSU, Arkansas twice, Ole Miss, Auburn twice, Tennessee, Mississippi St, and South Carolina. The Crimson Tide have losses to Georgetown, Dayton, Kansas St, Mississippi St, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, South Carolina, LSU, Florida twice, and Old Miss.

Creighton is outscoring opponents 80-70 this season The Blue Jays are shooting 50.9% from the field, including 42.5% from 3 point range. The Blue Jays are in the top 10 nationally in scoring, FG percentage, and 3 point percentage.  Creighton makes 73.2% of their free throws. The Blue Jays average 36.2 rebounds a game, with a rebounding margin of +6.1. Creighton averages 17.9 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 4.8 steals, and 2.3 blocks a game. Creighton is second in assists nationally. Blue Jay opponents are shooting 43.8% from the field, including 35.6% from 3 point  range. Creighton forces 10.4 turnovers a game.

McDermott averages 23.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists a game. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding, and is #3 nationally in scoring. McDermott makes 49.5% of his 3 point shots. Antoine Young averages 12.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 4.5 assists a game. Gregory Echenique averages 9.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks a game to lead the team. Grant Gibbs averages 7.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1 steal a game. He leads the team in assists and steals. Jahenns Manigat averages 6.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists a game. He makes 47% of his 3 pointers.  Ethan Wragge averages 6.4 points, and 2.8 rebounds. Besides Center Echinique all of the top scorers make at least 32.3% of their 3 point attempts.

Alabama is outscoring opponents 65-58 this season. Alabama is #9 in points allowed.  The Crimson Tide are shooting 45.2% from the field including 28.5% from 3 point range. Alabama shoots 71.5% from the free throw line. The Crimson Tide average 35.2 rebounds, and have a rebounding margin of +2.7. Alabama averages 12.3 assists, 12.9 turnovers, 7.3 steals, and 4.2 blocks a game. Crimson Tide opponents are shooting 38.% from the field and 28.3% from 3 point range. Alabama is in the top 20 nationally in both categories.  Alabama forces 13.6 turnovers a game.

Alabama forward JaMychal Green averages 14 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 blocks a game. He leads the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks. He missed several games due to a suspension.  Tony Mitchell averaged 13.1 points, 7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1 steal and 1.4 blocks a game. He is suspended for the rest of the season and has missed the last 10 games. Trevor Releford averages 11.9 points, 3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2 steals a game to lead the team. Levi Randolph, Andrew Steele, Trevor Lacey, Nick Jacobs, and Rodney Cooper also get significant minutes in the rotation. Steele leads the team in assists with 2.8 a game. Center Moussa Gueye is out for the season with a knee injury.

Alabama is 13-15 ATS and the total is 15-13 this season. Creighton is 15-14 ATS and the total is 15-12-2 this season. The Crimson Tide are 4-1 ATS in Friday games and against teams with winning records, 2-5 in non-conference games, 3-8 as a favorite, 1-4 after a straight up loss, and 0-4 as a favorite in NCAA tournament games. The Blue Jays 5-0 ATS as an underdog, 4-0 as an underdog of 6.5 points or less, 4-1 in Friday games, 11-3 in non-conference games, 2-5 after failing to cover, 1-3-1 as an NCAA tournament underdog, 1-5 overall, 1-6 after a straight up win, 1-7 against teams with winning records, and 0-4 in NCAA tournament games.

There probably aren’t two more different teams matched up in the second round of the NCAA tournament than defensive minded Alabama and run and gun Creighton. Alabama would prefer to play this game in 60’s or even better the 50’s, while Creighton wants to play it in the 70’s. It will come down to who control;s the tempo. I like Creighton to win that battle and the game.

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