St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Just eight days after these two squared off
to decide the Missouri Valley Conference regular season champion, the second-
seeded Wichita State Shockers and Creighton Bluejays will battle again, this
time for an automatic berth into the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Although only the winner earns the automatic bid to the Big Dance, there is a
strong possibility both of these squads end up participating in March Madness
after Arch Madness.
The MVC regular-season championship came down to the finale between these two
teams. Creighton took the crown with a 91-79 victory as Doug McDermott poured
in 41 points and the team shot 70.2 percent from the floor to mark the
nation's sixth-best clip this season. The outburst made McDermott the only
player on a Division I school's roster with more than 700 points at the end of
the regular season.
Carl Hall recorded 16 points and eight rebounds as the Wichita State defeated
the Illinois State Redbirds, 66-51, in the semifinal round on Saturday.
Malcolm Armstead tallied 15 points and nine boards for the Shockers, who used
a 48-31 edge in the rebounding battle to book their ticket to the title game.
Fresh after being anointed the MVC Coach of the Year, Gregg Marshall appears
to have his squad poised for an NCAA Tournament run after it was knocked out
in the first round a year ago.
Doug McDermott went 8-of-10 from the floor and 6-of-7 from beyond the arc to
score 25 points as the top-seeded Bluejays coasted to a 64-43 victory over the
Indiana State on Saturday. The MVC Player of the Year also grabbed nine boards
while center Gregory Echenique chipped in 10 points. Creighton now looks to
claim its second consecutive trophy from Arch Madness with the All-American
leading the way.
On the season, Wichita State pours in just shy of 70 ppg, but the biggest
reason for its success and likely selection to the NCAA Tournament has been
its stout defense, which is the top-ranked unit in the MVC in allowing just
60.8 ppg. Cleanthony Early is the team's top scorer with 14.0 ppg, while Hall
nets 12.8 ppg on 55.8 percent from the field to go with 7.2 rpg. Armstead does
a lot from the point guard position with 9.8 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.5 rpg and 1.9
spg, while Demetric Williams chips in 8.5 ppg.
Creighton scores an MVC best 75.6 ppg, and its field-goal percentages (.510)
ranks first in the nation. McDermott is making a strong case for National
Player of the Year, as he nets 23.4 ppg with outstanding percentages from the
field (.565), 3-point range (.507) and the foul line (.869, while also ripping
down 7.6 ppg. Echenique has been impressive in the paint at both ends of the
floor, logging 9.6 ppg (on 66.7 percent from the field), 6.6 rpg and 1.6 bpg.
Ethan Wragge, the conference's Sixth Man of the Year, has excellent shooting
touch which keeps defenses honest.
The Sports Network