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Whenever anything related to Creighton basketball gets brought up, the name Doug McDermott is usually not far behind. But the Bluejays are a much better "team" than most people realize right now, and much of that is due to the outstanding play coming from guards Grant Gibbs and Antoine Young.
Young, a senior, and Gibbs, a junior, combine to average slightly more than 10 assists per game in Creighton's high-octane offense. Young is the better distributor on paper, but both guys are equally efficient at running the show and setting teammates up. Consider: Creighton has played in 23 games this season, and this duo has combined to record five or more assists 26 times. To put that into perspective, the Bluejays are basically assured of a 5+ assist performance from one of these two every single night. That's a pretty convenient thing to be able to hang your hat on.
Protecting the ball has been somewhat of a challenge at times for this pair though, and Young's 2.44 and Gibbs' 2.28 assist-to-turnover ratios are each lower than you'd like. That's why last night's 102-point showing against Illinois State was so important for these guys going forward. Young totaled seven assists with one giveaway in 26 minutes in the game, while Gibbs dished out seven dimes of his own with just two turnovers in 27 minutes. In a nutshell, it was a near-flawless performance for the pair of ball-handlers.
The duo's combined assist-to-turnover ratio from Wednesday was 4.67, a number usually reserved for the elite of the elite at the point guard position. These two won't need to be quite that good for Creighton to make its voice heard this March, but a mid-major squad with two proven distributors is a very, very good thing.
* Maryland coach Mark Turgeon was shown the gate well in advance of his team's double OT loss: "I wasn’t trying to get kicked out. I apologize for that. Obviously, [it] woke our guys up. They played inspired." (Baltimore Sun)
* Michigan & Trey Burke came out firing in a pivotal game with Indiana (Detroit Free Press)
* A nearly buzzer-beaten Steve Fisher reflects: "Sometimes after a game you have the feeling that you lost, and that’s the feeling I’ve got." (Idaho Statesman)
* Point guard Pierre Jackson was beastly in the clutch to help preserve a Baylor victory (Our Daily Bears)
Iowa - The Hawkeyes moved to 4-6 in the Big Ten after a second-half comeback win over Minnesota last night. The victory not only kept a glimmer of hope alive for Fran McCaffery's team's postseason chances (super slim, but still), it also got the ball rolling for an upcoming three-game stretch with Northwestern and Penn State (home-and-home). For as bad as things have been this year for Iowa, the possibility still exists that we might be talking about a 7-6 team in league play as soon as February 16th, and that, in its own right, is pretty darn impressive.
Connecticut - Missed shots are contagious. Then again, so is terrible body language. For whatever reason, Jim Calhoun's kids looked so utterly disinterested in Wednesday's brick-fest with Georgetown that it actually brought to mind the 09-10 Huskies team and leading scorer Jerome Dyson, the king of pathetic body language. Connecticut didn't just lose a basketball game last night; they were routed in a 40-minute contest they mentally and physically did not show up for.
First of all, lets keep in mind that Mavunga attempted exactly seven field goals yesterday, making just three of them. While the 6'8" senior has been lighting up box scores with regularity all season, Wednesday's performance against Eastern Michigan was borderline legendary. The big man totaled 19 points behind 13-of-17 from the foul line, including 19 rebounds, eight assists, one block and one steal in Miami's 62-57 overtime win. Just two assists away from one of the most insane triple-doubles in recent memory, Mavunga has now firmly established himself as the MAC's most dominant player, and might even snag a little bit of national POY love at this rate.
10.5 - Assists per game for Providence's Vincent Council over his last six Big East contests. Council dished out 14 assists, ten in the first half, in a win over Rutgers last night.