No. 21 BYU (6-0) travels to Omaha, Nebraska Wednesday night to take on the Creighton Bluejays of the Missouri Valley Conference.
The Cougars can expect a large and rowdy crowd to show up at the 17,260-seat Qwest Center.
The Bluejays average over 14,600 fans per game in a building that opponents have had very little success in.
Creighton is 101-18 in the seven-plus years it has been playing in the Qwest Center.
The Bluejays are 4-2 on the season with home wins over Alabama State, Northern Arizona, Louisiana and Kennisaw State. Both of their losses have come away from home, a 91-88 last-second loss against Iowa State and 65-52 setback at Northwestern in their last outing.
Creighton returns four starters from a team that went 18-16 last year, and finished in fourth place in the MVC with a 10-8 record.
This season they’ve added freshman forward Doug McDermott (6'7", 210) who is shooting 52 percent from the field and has been named as the MVC Newcomer of the Week in each of the last three weeks.
Doug is the son of head coach Greg McDermott, who is in his first season at Creighton after leading the program at Iowa State for four years. Creighton’s former coach, Dana Altman is now the head coach at Oregon.
Along with McDermott, the Jays are also led by center Kenny Lawson Jr. (6'9", 250, Sr.) and point guard Antoine Young (6'0", 180, Jr.). The trio is averaging 41 points per game.
Lawson also leads the team in rebounds with 7.2 per game and is the type of powerful athlete on the inside that has historically caused problems for BYU. He also has a reputation of being a good shot-blocker.
Young is a quick point guard that has the ability to penetrate the lane and either score or find the open man. He is tied with McDermott in scoring thus far this season with a 14.3-point average, while dishing out a team-high 4.2 assists. It would not be surprising to see Dave Rose put Jackson Emery on Young to limit his penetration of the defense.
Creighton also has the services of guard Kaleb Korver (6'5", 195, Sr,) who is the brother of former Utah Jazz and current Chicago Bulls player Kyle Korver. Like his brother, Kaleb is a streaky outside shooter who rarely looks for his shot inside the arc. He has hit 10-of-22 (45 percent) three-point shots this season; overall he is 11-of-27 from the floor.
The Cougars will also have to be aware of reserve forward Wayne Runnels (6'6", 215, Sr.) who will come in off the bench and crash the glass on both ends of the court. Of Runnels’ 37 rebounds this year, 17 of them have come on the offensive end.
Creighton’s weakness this season has been consistency with their shots—the Bluejays are shooting just 42 percent in their first six games. It will be interesting to see how they handle BYU’s defensive pressure and the many hands that will be in the passing lanes. Jimmer should also have a big advantage offensively if they try to defend him with Young.
Overall Creighton is a solid team that is very good when playing at home and feeding off of their crowd. The Cougars will need to bring their A-game on Wednesday night if they expect to push their record to 7-0.
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