Creighton Bluejays vs. Central Michigan Central Michigan Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 9th 2023

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While Baylor Scheierman has emerged as the top scorer in the Big East, he doesn’t want people to forget how dangerous No. 10 Creighton’s offense is as a whole. The Bluejays have averaged 84 points per game since suffering their first loss of the season, and they will look to continue rolling when they face Central Michigan on Saturday in Omaha, Neb. After stumbling to a 69-48 loss to Colorado State on Nov. 23, Creighton (7-1) responded emphatically, recording a 79-65 win over Oklahoma State on Nov. 30 before clobbering in-state rival Nebraska 89-60 last Sunday. Scheierman shined in both victories, recording 21 points and eight rebounds against the Cowboys to preface his 24-point, 10-rebound double-double versus the Cornhuskers. He now leads the Big East at 19.3 points per game entering play Thursday. Thanks to his efforts, Scheierman was named Big East Player of the Week and took home Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week honors. But he realizes he’s just one piece of the puzzle for a Bluejays offense that has scored at least 80 points in six of eight games this season. “This year, we got three, four shooters on the court,” Scheierman said. “Having them in the corner, in the top (of the key) … (opponents) have to pick and choose who they’re going to guard.” Some of those other perimeter threats include Mason Miller, who is shooting 52.6 percent from beyond the arc, and Steven Ashworth (46.3 percent). Creighton has also leaned on Trey Alexander and Ryan Kalkbrenner. Although he is connecting on just 28.9 percent of his shots from long range, Alexander is averaging 16 points per game, while Kalkbrenner averages 15.1. Chippewas coach Tony Barbee knows containing the Bluejays presents a challenge, but it’s one that he’s confident his team can handle. “Any game we play, we compete and we play to win,” Barbee said after Central Michigan’s 71-67 victory over Valparaiso on Wednesday. “It doesn’t matter where we play, the court’s the same distance, the basket’s the same height. “No fans are coming out of the crowd while you play, so you go compete and you let it fly and see what happens.” Derrick Butler led Central Michigan (3-5) with 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting in Wednesday’s win. He also had six rebounds. Markus Harding added 13 points, while Brian Taylor and Anthony Pritchard supplied 12 apiece. Pritchard averages a team-high 13.5 points per game for the Chippewas. Harding (11.7 ppg) and Taylor (11.4) are also averaging double digits. Butler had struggled immensely up until Wednesday, scoring a total of just 16 points over his first six games. Barbee is hoping Butler’s latest performance is a sign of things to come. “I’m proud of Derrick for staying the course and having a breakthrough night,” Barbee said. “He’s capable of having that kind of night, our coaches know it, and our teammates know it.” Saturday marks the second all-time meeting between the teams. CMU downed Creighton 79-73 on March 20, 2003, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Two future NBA players made significant contributions in that contest, as Kyle Korver had 21 points for the Bluejays and Chris Kaman had 12 for Central Michigan. –Field Level Media

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