The matchups are intriguing at all five positions but the backcourts could hold the biggest key to Friday’s winner. Creighton’s Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas combine for nearly 35 points, eight rebounds, five assists and 2.5 steals per game.
Gonzaga counters with point guard Josh Perkins, who is eighth nationally with 29 made 3-pointers and his accuracy (57.4 percent) is off the charts. Running mate Silas Melson chips in 10 points and 3.1 assists per game and he’s the Zags’ best perimeter defender.
Thomas, co-Big East defensive player of the year last season, figures to guard Perkins. Melson could conceivably defend Foster or Thomas. All four players are in the 6-foot-3 range, but the Bluejays’ tandem is 10-15 pounds bigger. They’re effective with penetration and put foul pressure on the defense.
Creighton also starts Davion Mintz, another 6-3 guard who leads the team in assists despite playing just 18.7 minutes per game. One of the Bluejays guards will have to match up against 6-6, 215-pound Corey Kispert if the freshman wing is able to play after spraining his ankle Wednesday.
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