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Creighton in the NCAA Tournament: Scouting Rhode Island

Creighton in the NCAA Tournament: Scouting Rhode Island
Posted at 1:47 PM, Mar 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-13 14:47:13-04

Following a loss in the BIG EAST tournament to Villanova, Creighton's season was reborn when it was announced that the Jays had earned a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Though some may look at its matchup with No. 11 seed Rhode Island as a favorable one, it will be anything but a cake walk for Creighton.

Rhode Island is coming off of an Atlantic 10 Tournament run where it beat fellow NCAA tournament team VCU in the championship game. The tournament championship gave the Rams their first NCAA tournament berth since 1999. 

Rhode Island has won 14 of its last 17 games, including eight-straight with wins over teams like Davidson, George Mason and Saint Joseph's. The Rams will rely heavily on offensive leader E.C. Matthews in its matchup with Creighton.

Matthews averages 14.9 ppg and 4.2 ppg after missing all of the 2015-16 season with a knee injury. The Rams' defense is anchored by its big power forward Hassan Martin. The 6'7 forward grabs 7.0 boards a game and blocks 2.6 shots each game. 

One advantage Creighton holds is the ability to score at will, something Rhode Island will struggle to do. The Rams average just 73.5 ppg as a team, compared to the Jays' 82.1 ppg (19th nationally). The Rams shoot just 33.7 percent from beyond the arc, whereas Creighton hits 39.9 percent of its three pointers (18th nationally).

Creighton will take the court in Sacramento, California Friday at 3:20 p.m. in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on TBS.