Creighton is in Massive East race by enjoying aggressive protection whereas committing the fewest fouls within the nation


NEWARK, N.J.Creighton coach Greg McDermott didn’t have to peruse the field rating or ponder some mental response. Standing exterior the visiting locker room Wednesday evening on the Prudential Middle after his crew’s seventh straight victory — a 75-62 win at Seton Corridor — the Bluejays’ coach immediately recognized the important thing to his crew’s dominant run with the sport on the road.

“We defended with out fouling within the second half,” he stated.

Of all of the issues to be identified for as a program, being the crew that hardly ever fouls is among the many most obscure and least marketable. However for No. 23 Creighton (16-8, 10-3 Massive East), it is a trait that’s central to explaining the crew’s rally from a 6-6 begin to the season to Massive East title rivalry.

The Bluejays have persistently fouled lower than most groups throughout McDermott’s 13-year tenure. This season, they’ve taken it to excessive heights, committing fewer fouls than anybody within the nation at simply 12.8 per sport.

“We emphasize it lots, particularly as a result of we have now (Ryan) Kalkbrenner again there to change photographs,” Creighton wing Baylor Scheierman stated. “So we do not actually need to strip or get dumb fouls.”

The way in which the Bluejays see it, should you occur to beat them off the dribble, they are not going to foul whereas making an attempt to get better. As a substitute, they dare the dribble penetrator to attempt to rating on the rim towards Kalkbrenner. The 7-foot junior leads the Massive East in blocks at 2.4 per sport and alters quite a few extra.

It is no coincidence that he’s additionally elite within the under-appreciated ability of foul-avoidance. In 86 profession video games, Kalkbrenner has by no means fouled out, and he is completed with 4 fouls solely six instances. This season, he’s averaging simply 1.6 fouls per sport, which has allowed him to log 31.1 minutes per contest.

Solely twice this season has anybody in a Creighton uniform fouled out of a sport. For a crew ranked No. 350 in bench minutes, per, limiting fouls additionally permits McDermott to maintain optimum lineups on the ground.

“That is helped us,” McDermott acknowledged.

Creighton is No. 2 nationally behind solely Purdue in opponent’s free-throw charge, and it is arduous to argue with the philosophy. The 4 instances when Creighton has dedicated 17 or extra fouls this season, it has misplaced. 

Conversely, the Bluejays are 7-1 when committing 10 or fewer fouls.

Within the 12 video games since Kalkbrenner returned from lacking almost three weeks with sickness in December, Creighton is 10-0 when making extra free throws than its opponents and 0-2 when it does not.

“It is one thing we take pleasure in and we apply,” McDermott stated. “When you could have a rim protector again there like Kalkbrenner, you actually do not wish to foul anyone at 15 toes on the way in which to the basket. You wish to make them cope with him on the again facet.”

However Kalkbrenner did choose up two fouls within the first half towards Seton Corridor, with the second coming on the 1:38 mark. McDermott benched him for the ultimate minute of the half, inserting 6-10 freshman Fredrick King with Creighton forward by a degree.

What got here subsequent embodied the Bluejays’ foul-avoidance tradition beneath McDermott. 

King, who has been foul-prone at instances early in his profession, elevated and efficiently contested a lay-up try from Seton Corridor’s Kadary Richmond simply earlier than the halftime buzzer. Better of all, he did not foul.

McDermott shouldn’t be usually among the many most animated Massive East coaches when it comes to sideline demeanor, however King’s foul-free rim safety elicited some exuberance. He bounded onto the ground, pumping his fist and embracing King earlier than Creighton started its trot to the visiting locker room after denying the Pirates a go-ahead basket.

“You’ve got a freshman in Frederick King that went up with two palms and met the man on the rim,” McDermott stated. “To see a freshman develop like that and make a play in an enormous state of affairs, it was an enormous second for Fred. I used to be excited for our crew and in addition actually excited for him.”

Kalkbrenner returned to the lineup after halftime and performed 19 of the ultimate 20 minutes, choosing up only one extra foul alongside the way in which. As a crew, Creighton stored Seton Corridor from reaching the bonus within the second half, depriving the Pirates of an important supply of offense. 

Avoiding the whistle

The Division I groups which can be committing the fewest fouls this season. 

Crew Video games File Fouls Fouls per sport
Creighton 24 16-8 308 12.8
Colgate 26 18-8 334 12.8
Butler 25 12-13 323 12.9
Purdue 24 22-2 321 13.4
Notre Dame 24 10-14 322 13.4

— Supply: NCAA

Seton Corridor entered rating No. 7 nationally in free-throw charge. In opposition to Creighton, the Pirates didn’t rating a single level from the charity stripe within the second half. 

It is a good factor, as a result of the 4 instances when opponents have made extra free throws than Creighton this season, the Bluejays misplaced. 

UConn, Iowa State, Texas A&M and Auburn every commit 19 or extra fouls per sport and are projected to make the NCAA Match. So it isn’t a one-size-fits-all method.

However there is no such thing as a denying the Bluejays have discovered a philosophy that works and are having fun with the outcomes whereas persevering with a formidable climb up the league standings and nationwide rankings.

“We’re blessed to have top-of-the-line rim protectors within the nation,” McDermott stated, “and our guys have carried out a very good job of creating certain we ship them to him.”




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