Oregon and Creighton Meet in First Game of CBI Finals

College Basketball Invitational Tournament, Game #1
Oregon Ducks at Creighton Blue Jays
Qwest Center, Omaha, NE
Monday, March 28, 2011, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: HDNet
Opening Line: Creighton -3
Current Line: Creighton -5
Opening Total: 138 1/2
Current Total: 141 1/2
Money Line: Creighton -220 / Oregon +180

Creighton hosts Oregon in the first game of the CBI championship series. Creighton is a 5 point favorite in the game.

First year Oregon Coach Dana Altman is very familiar with his opponent in the CBI tournament championship series. He should be as he was the head coach at Creighton for 16 years until he took over the Oregon program after last season.  This is a best of three series. The first game will be in Omaha, and the other two will be in Eugene. Oregon is 19-17 overall and finished 7th in the Pac 10 with a 7-11 record. After a 4 game losing streak late in the season, Oregon has won 5 of their last 6 games. In the CBI tournament, Oregon has played 3 straight home games. They have beaten Weber st 68-59, Duquesne 77-75, and Boise St 79-71 in the semifinals. Creighton is 22-14 overall and finished 4th in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 10-8 record. The Blue Jays have also played 3 home games in the tournament. Creighton beat San Jose St 85-74 in the first round, Davidson 102-92 in the quarters, and Central Florida 82-64 in the semifinals.

Oregon leads the overall series against Creighton 1-0 but the two haven’t played each other since 1974. This season San Jose St is the only common opponent for the two teams. Oregon lost at home to the Spartans 75-72 in mid-November. Oregon is 10-13 against teams that made post-season play this season, and Creighton is 10-10 in those games. The Ducks are 24-41 ATS versus teams with winning records  the last 2 seasons. Creighton is 15-7 ATS versus teams with winning records this season.

Oregon Forward Jeremy Jacob is out for the season with a knee injury. He averaged 6.2 points and 3.5 rebounds.  Oregon Forward Joevan Catron is averaging 15.5 points to lead the team, 6.7 rebounds a game to also lead the team. He also averages 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals a game. Sophomore forward E.J. Singler averages 11.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, plus he also averages 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals a game. Point guard Malcolm Armstead leads the team in assists with  4.4 a game and steals with 2.3 a game. The Ducks are outscoring opponents 70-69 on the season. The Ducks are shooting 42% from the field and 34.1%  from 3-point range. Duck opponents are shooting 44.3% from the field. Oregon makes 74.2% of their free throws. They average 33 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of -1.8. They average 13.9 assists and 12.5 turnovers a game. The Ducks force 15.4 turnovers a game on defense. They average 8.3 steals and 2.8 blocks a game.

Creighton reserve forwards Ethan Ragge and Casey Harriman  are both out for the season with injuries. Though neither played a lot of minutes , the losses hurt Creighton’s depth. The Blue Jays are led by Forward Doug McDermott. McDermott averages 15 points to lead the team, 7.6 rebounds to also lead the team, and 1.2 assists a game. Guard Antoine Young averages 13.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1 steal a game. He leads the team in assists and steals. Center Gregory Echenique averages 10.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and leads the team in blocks with 1.7 a game. Forward Kenny Lawson, Jr. averages 9.2 points and 5.6 rebounds a game. Creighton is outscoring opponents 69-65 on the season. The Blue Jays are shooting 45.8% from the field and 36.6% from 3-point range. Creighton opponents are shooting 42.9% from the field. The Blue Jays shoot 73.1% from the free throw line. Creighton averages 34.8 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +3.8. They average 14.4 assists and 11.8 turnovers a game. Creighton forces 9.6 turnovers  a game on defense. The Blue Jays average 4.3 steals and 3 blocks a game.

Both of these teams have their flaws, which is probably why they are playing in the CBI instead of the NIT or NCAA. However it is better to be one of 12 Division I teams still playing basketball, especially for the seniors on both teams. This should be a close game, and I think Creighton’s edge in rebounding will be the difference.

Our college basketball handicappers are red hot in March. Don’t miss out on any more winners from now until next week’s championship game in Houston.

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