(2) Duke vs. (7) Creighton
(2) Duke Blue Devils
The Albany Great Danes came in and shot the ball extremely well from three, making 9-15 from beyond the arc, but they had no answer for Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry and fell to the Blue Devils 73-61 as a result. Plumlee and Curry finished with 23 and 26 points respectively and missed just six shots total. Quinn Cook dished out 11 assists, the third time he’s hit the double-digit plateau this season. As a team, the Blue Devils shot 58 percent from the field and had 17 assists on their 27 made baskets. In the Round of 32, they’re going to see a major step up in competition against the Bluejays. They’re really going to test the Blue Devils’ defense, which has proven to be vulnerable at times this year. If the Blue Devils let Doug McDermott get going and don’t stick to the shooters who surround him, it could be a tough game for them. Their guards, Quinn, Curry and Rasheed Sulaimon, have to be aggressive and efficient on offense.
(7) Creighton Bluejays
In the Cincinnati Bearcats, the Bluejays were going up against one of the toughest and most athletic teams they’ve faced all season long. They responded to the challenge, shooting 45 percent from the field, 46 percent from deep while making 25 trips to the free throw line and knocking down 22 of them. In the end, they took a 67-63 decision. McDermott played up to his high standards, leading all scorers and rebounders with 27 and 11. The one area where the Bluejays shouldn’t be happy with is their ball handling as they gave it up 16 times, but the Bearcats’ defense is going to force you into making some mistakes. The Blue Devils’ defense didn’t force that many against Albany, but where they will pressure the Bluejays is on the opposite end of the floor with their offense. The Blue Devils have quality inside play with Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly and have three explosive guards out on the perimeter. If the Bluejays can’t get stops when they need them, they’ll be watching the Sweet 16 from home.
HOOPSWORLD’s Pick: Duke. The Blue Devils don’t have an answer for McDermott, but they have the firepower to outgun the Bluejays.