The No. 10 seed Cincinnati Bearcats (22-11, 9-9 Big East) are set to face off with the No. 7 seed Creighton Bluejays (27-7, 13-5 MVC) in the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament on Friday at approximately 2:45 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.
Doug McDermott leads the Bluejays in scoring with 23.1 points-per-game. He is ranked second in that category in Division I basketball this year. McDermott is the only player averaging in double-digits for Creighton.
Creighton is the most accurate shooting team in Division I this year while Cincinnati is one of the worst. The Bluejays are ranked first in field-goal percentage at 50.8 percent compared to the Bearcats which are ranked 305th, shooting only 40.2 percent from the field. Creighton is also ranked first in three-point-field-goal percentage (42.1 percent), sixth in three-point-field-goals per game (8.8), 21st in free-throw percentage (75 percent) and 24th in scoring offense (75.4 points-per-game).
Cincinnati is one of the best defensive teams in Division I this year. The Bearcats are ranked sixth in blocked shots per game (6.2),15th in field-goal percentage defense (holding teams to 38.5 percent shooting), 24th in scoring defense (limiting teams to 58.8 points-per-game) and 26th in three-point-field-goal percentage defense (30 percent).
What we have here is your classic offensive vs. defensive match up.
So which one will prevail?
It's hard to imagine the most accurate shooting team in Division I basketball this season losing in their first game of the tournament. It's also hard to imagine that defensive-minded Bearcats head coach Mick Cronin won't be able to find a way to slow down McDermott and the Bluejays on offense or that a Big East team will lose to a team from the Missouri Valley Conference.
I'm picking the Bearcats to win this game because of the level of competition they are used to playing against in the Big East.
"I know how good they are on offense," said Cronin. "They score a lot of points. They're a highly efficient offensive team. One thing about us; we played multiple games in a row against NCAA tournament teams. We played seven straight in February against tournament teams. We understand every game is tough. Every game brings different challenges. That's the one thing about our team. So you see different types and different styles."