Northwestern basketball has not exactly been convincing in its first two games. Against St. Peter’s and Loyola (Md.), Northwestern (2-0) failed to exert any dominance over its opponents, even with a considerable athletic advantage. But the Wildcats are 2-0, and that may be all that matters if they can snag a key non-conference win over the Creighton Blue Jays (2-0), a team that has breezed through its first two non-conference games against Yale and Alcorn State. It’s early, but Northwestern would dearly like to build its non-conference résumé and just look like a top-20 basketball team after playing down to its competition.
Creighton is poised to be a solid Big East team once again under head coach Greg McDermott. Led by senior shooting guard Marcus Foster (shooting an absurd 93.2 eFG% through his first two games) and junior Khyri Thomas, the Blue Jays will be the best offensive and defensive team that Northwestern has faced thus far. Creighton also has plenty of depth, highlighted by Mitch Ballock, who has four threes in the first two games of his career.
Meanwhile, Northwestern has played its first two games without a full complement of players. Aaron Falzon is doubtful with a hip injury and Rapolas Ivanauskas’ status is also unknown. Gavin Skelly will probably start once again at power forward. Northwestern will need to limit its turnovers after 17 against St. Peter’s. The Wildcats are also shooting just 29.7 percent from three, which is not great. Everything needs to get better, including the student support.
Skelly: "I will bring students."— Inside NU (@insidenu) November 14, 2017
Even the players realize it. The team will need a hearty home crowd at Allstate Arena for this one. We shall see if that crowd materializes and if Northwestern can start playing up to its potential.
Game Time: 8 p.m. CST
Mobile: BTN2Go App
Radio: WGN AM 720, WNUR 89.3 FM
KenPom prediction: 81-76 (67% chance to win)
Betting Line: NU -4, over/under 153.5