Ryan Kelly will matchup with Creighton All-American Doug McDermott. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY
Duke vs. Creighton
When: 9:40 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Subplot: Doug McDermott knows a thing or two about Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly.
Scouting Creighton (28-7)
How they got here: Automatic qualifier – Missouri Valley conference champion
Keep an eye on: The post players
Doug McDermott is the focal point of the Bluejays offense—he’s taken twice as many shots as the second-leading shooter—but he isn’t the only player who demands attention. Gregory Echenique, a transfer from Rutgers, and Ethan Wragge are also scoring threats. Echenique will likely guard Plumlee without any help, and Plumlee will have to be smart against him on the opposite end of the floor.
Wragge, like McDermott, is a 3-point specialist, and connects on 44.6 percent of his attempts. That’s a potential matchup problem for the Blue Devils, as Plumlee isn’t used to guarding on the perimeter.
Grant Gibbs, the Bluejays’ point guard, is 6-foot-5, and the other two perimeter starters are 6-foot and 6-feet-1, respectively. Gibbs has the size to attempt to bother Seth Curry, who is averaging 20.3 points per game over the past four contests. But if Gibbs matches up with Curry, Creighton will have to rely on a lesser defender to guard on the ball.
Number to know: .497
McDermott’s 3-point shooting percentage, which ranks second nationally. He’s also made more free throws than anyone in the country, shooting 86.8 from the line.
Saturday’s press conference with Mike Krzyzewski was full of jokes and odd questions, as he was peppered with questions about Florida Gulf Coast’s upset of Georgetown and barely had an opportunity to speak about Creighton.
“I’m happy to be a publicist for Andy (Enfield) and the Florida Gulf Coast program,” Krzyzewski said dryly, “As you’re reporting this, remember, you ask the questions, because somebody is going to write, well, he didn’t give any respect to Creighton.”
On his way out of the interview area, Krzyzewski passed McDermott, Gibbs and Echenique. He quickly relayed his jokes and assured them that he did respect them.
G Grant Gibbs, Sr., 8.5 ppg, 5.9 apg
G Austin Chatman, So., 7.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg
G Jahenns Manigat, Jr., 6.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg
F Doug McDermott, Jr., 23.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg
C Gregory Echenique, Sr., 9.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg
G Quinn Cook, So., 12.2 ppg, 5.4 apg
G Seth Curry, Sr., 17.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg
G Rasheed Sulaimon, Fr., 11.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg
F Ryan Kelly, Sr., 14.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg
F Mason Plumlee, Sr., 17.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg
There are obvious similarities in McDermott and Ryan Kelly's games—elite stretch 4s are a fairly rare breed. Quinn Cook, though, focused more on a key difference when asked to compare the two.
"Ryan doesn’t have the freedom that Doug McDermott has," he said. "We have a lot of great players on our team, and I’m not saying Creighton doesn’t, but a lot of their plays are to him. And Ryan, he looks for other players and he stretches the floor. With a post guy like Mason, Mason is getting a lot of touches so Ryan isn’t. Ryan, he’s a great defender. The best defender on our team."