In its first meeting against Villanova on Jan. 20, Creighton drilled a Big East- and school-record 21 3-pointers while handing the Wildcats their worst home loss since 1980-81. No. 6 Villanova, which hits the road Sunday in a showdown between the top two teams in the conference, holds a half-game lead over the 17th-ranked Bluejays and has won six straight since their 28-point setback. "I think a lot of people watched that game and learned how not to play them," Wildcats coach Jay Wright said.
Wright suggested the Wildcats' overall aggressiveness worked against them in the first meeting and perhaps no Creighton player benefited more than Ethan Wragge, who tied a school record with nine 3-pointers. Villanova began its three-game road trip with an 87-62 win over DePaul on Wednesday, but faces a difficult challenge against the Bluejays, who have won four of five since routing the Wildcats. Creighton, which has posted a 20-win season for the 16th time in 17 years with Thursday's five-point win at Butler, is looking for its 16th straight home victory.
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ABOUT VILLANOVA (22-2, 10-1 Big East): The Wildcats took a page out of the Bluejays' book in the win over DePaul, knocking down a season-high 15 3-pointers while leaving Wright pleased with his team's focus. "I know they're going to concentrate on (Sunday), but for a team to go in and concentrate like they did against DePaul is impressive to me," Wright told the school's official website. Villanova has also picked it up at the defensive end, allowing 61.4 points over its last five games after surrendering 96 to Creighton and 85 five days later at Marquette.
ABOUT CREIGHTON (20-4, 10-2): In addition to passing Allan Houston and Kevin Bradshaw on the NCAA's career scoring list against Butler, Doug McDermott delivered his second game-winning basket in the Bluejays' last three games and third of the season after never having done so previously. Incidentally, McDermott's go-ahead 3-pointer sparked a game-ending 7-0 run and gave coach Greg McDermott (Doug's father) his 100th career win at Creighton. Greg McDermott needed only 134 games to do so, allowing him to reach the benchmark quicker than all but one coach in school history.
1. Doug McDermott (2,824 points) is eight points shy of tying Otis Birdsong for 14th on the NCAA all-time scoring list and 26 away from Larry Bird for 13th place.
2. Villanova is 6-0 on the road in conference play for the first time since 2005-06.
3. The Bluejays have won 21 straight home games against teams from BCS leagues.
PREDICTION: Creighton 87, Villanova 82