Creighton’s never seen a team like Alabama

(AP Photo/The Omaha World-Herald, Matt Miller)

It’s game day on Tobacco Road. For one final look at today’s NCAA game between Alabama and Creighton, take a read over today’s story as found in the newspaper …

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Just a mention of the topic raised Doug McDermott’s brow.

Sure, Creighton scores 80 points a game. But it has never seen a 94-foot defense like Alabama’s. The first-team All-American couldn’t remember facing a single full-court trap outside of end-game situations.

So the Bluejays spent considerable practice time simulating the pressure they expect in the 12:40 p.m. NCAA tournament opener for both teams. They sent as many as eight defenders to the floor to simulate the disruption expected this afternoon in Greensboro, N.C.

“There’s teams in our conference that can guard and pack it in,” McDermott said of the Missouri Valley Conference. “But they just don’t have the athletes and probably not the length that Alabama presents.”

Alabama (21-11) wins by speeding up the opposition, forcing mistakes and scoring in transition.

Creighton earned its 28-5 record by taking care of the ball. It averages 12.3 turnovers a game, but gave it away just 8.5 times in the past four games. In four of the five games Creighton lost, the opposition outscored the Bluejays in points scored off turnovers. Creighton players spoke at length about the time spent learning the new attack. Guard Antoine Young said the dead-ball, full-court defense was the focal point.

“We have to put in a football playbook of sets for that,” he said. “So, we’re pretty prepared for that. Obviously, it’s going to be different than having our scout team run it with the length.”

Some of the plays are old favorites, but Creighton added a few new wrinkles to deal with something they haven’t seen this season. The closest replica was Long Beach State, an NCAA team the Bluejays beat 81-79 on Feb. 18.

Click here for the complete story.

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