NCAA Tournament Predictions: Creighton vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

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We Predict the Field

McDermott
AP Photo

3. Creighton Bluejays (26-7, 16-5 Big East)-The Bluejays are a threat to make a deep NCAA Tournament run because they lead the nation in three-point percentage (42.2%). Senior forward Doug McDermott also leads the country in scoring (26.9) and passed greats like Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird on the all-time NCAA scoring list. He’s now fifth all time, and a National Player of the Year candidate.

The best thing about McDermott is his absurd field goal percentage (52.5%), which is unheard of for a player who takes as many threes and jump shots as he does. McDermott shoots 45% from 3-point range.

It’s not all about McDermott, though. Center Ethan Wragge (10.5 ppg) has Kevin Pittsnogle range and will pull up from 35 feet out on a fast break. He cashes those shots, though. Wragge shoots an also-absurd 47 percent from beyond the arc. Junior guard Austin Chatman is a quality point guard (7.7 ppg, 4.5 apg) and can also hit the triple.

Senior Grant Gibbs is a glue guy, solid defender and willing passer.

KEY STATS:

1st Three-Point Percentage (42.2%)

24th Points per Game (79.5)

3rd Field Goal Percentage (49.9)

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Elfrid Payton keys the Cajuns' attack. (AP Photo)
Elfrid Payton keys the Cajuns’ attack. (AP Photo)

14. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (23-11, 11-7 Sun Belt)-The Ragin’ Cajuns outlasted Georgia State in overtime on Selection Sunday to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine years. Point guard Elfrid Payton was the key, coming up with a late steal to send the gaam. Though only a junior Payton is an NBA prospect and could end up being a first round pick if he comes out for the draft.

Payton averages 19.1 points and 6 assists per game while also coming up with 2.3 steals per. Much of the offense runs through him, though 6-8 forward Shawn Long (18.7 ppg, 10.5 rpg) will command plenty of attention on scouting reports as well.

Guard Bryant Mbamalu (12.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg) is another key factor for the Cajuns. Lafayette plays a fast, up-tempo style and ranks 13th nationally in points per game at 81.4. They don’t play great defense, but they can get out and run with the best of them. They like to allow Payton to make plays in the open court.

KEY STATS:

13th Points per Game (81.4)

39th Rebounds per Game (38.0)

48th Field Goal Percentage (.469)

 

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