The startling differences between Alabama and Creighton

We touched on this in Monday’s paper, but take a deeper look into the differences between the two teams who’ll meet at 12:40 p.m. Monday in Greensboro, N.C.

TUSCALOOSA — Smiles faded fast in Omaha on Sunday evening.

Creighton's Gregory Echenique (AP photo)

A reported crowd of 1,700 first cheered when Creighton’s name was called in the NCAA Tournament selection show. Then it realized the Missouri Valley Conference champions with a 28-5 record somehow slipped to a No. 8 seed in the Midwest Region.

Drawing Alabama was like Jack Lemmon moving in with Walter Matthau. The NCAA’s odd couple will create a number of matchup issues both sides with two completely different styles clashing at 12:40 p.m. in Greensboro, N.C.

Creighton coach Greg McDermott was surprised his team was assigned such a challenge after winning seven straight games and beating two ranked opponents on the road this year.

Either way, his Bluejays will see a Tide team that looks nothing like the view in the mirror.

Simply put, Creighton is a sharp-shooting team with a porous defense while Alabama hasn’t found the touch all season, but defended its way to the tournament.

Led by first-team All-American Doug McDermott, the coaches’ son, the Bluejays lead the nation shooting 50.9 percent from the field. Their 3-point percentage (42.5) is only slightly behind Alabama’s overall shooting accuracy rate of 45.2 percent. The Tide hasn’t even made enough 3s to make the official NCAA statistical rankings, but if it had, the 28.5 shooting percentage would be fourth-worst in the 282 qualifying teams in Division I.

Alabama will counter the third-ranked 3-point offense with the nation’s No. 6 perimeter defense that allows just 28.3 percent shooting from behind the arc.

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