Creighton is in the midst of its best stretch of basketball since Doug McDermott wore a Bluejay uniform.
Granted, it hasn’t even been two full years since McDermott graduated, but still, Creighton did fall off the national map in a hurry after the Player of the Year finished his time in Omaha. But now, the Bluejays are making a real effort toward an at-large candidacy, thanks in good portion to their convincing 70-56 win over No. 5 Xavier last week.
Maurice Watson, Jr.’s impressive week against Xavier and Marquette (a game CU won on the road, 65-62) has earned the junior transfer national Player of the Week here at CBS Sports. Watson posted averages of 25.0 points, 7.5 dimes, 6.0 boards and 2.0 steals. He beat out a couple of worthy contenders (see below) in good part because of Creighton’s competition and the across-the-board production.
Watson was efficient, too. He shot 55 percent against Xavier and Marquette. He had 32 points against Xavier, which amounts to the biggest win at CU since the Bluejays won at Villanova with an insane 3-point assault on Jan. 20, 2014. In historic terms, it was Creighton’s first victory over a team ranked fifth or better in the AP poll since … 1970. That’s wild. Watson leads the team in scoring (14.9) and has become the first player in 26 seasons at Creighton to achieve four games in one year with 10 assists or more.
One more note: Benoit Benjamin — yeah, there’s a flashback — was the last Creighton player to score at least 32 points, grab at least seven rebounds and hand out at least five assists in a game.
Creighton has just one game this week, a Tuesday tilt at Butler. It’s turned into a huge game for both teams. If the Bluejays wins it could flip with Butler in terms of NCAA Tournament projections. The Jays already defeated the Bulldogs on Jan. 24. A sweep could prove vital.
Also heavily considered this week for POTW: Hofstra’s Rokas Gustys (21.5 points, 18.0 rebounds); Eastern Washington’s Austin McBroom (36.0 points, 5.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds); Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine (28.5 points, 11.5 assists, 6.5 rebounds); BYU’s Nick Emery (34.0 points. 3.0 assists, 2.0 rebounds).
Previous winners this season of the CBS Sports Player of the Week:
Week 1: Grayson Allen, Duke
Week 2: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
Week 3: Kyle Collinsworth, BYU
Week 4: A.J. English, Iona
Week 5: Troy Williams, Indiana
Week 6: Brice Johnson, North Carolina
Week 7: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Week 8: Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa
Week 9: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Week 10: Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette
Week 11: Juan’ya Green, Hofstra
Week 12: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Week 13: Roosevelt Jones, Butler