CREIGHTON tries to regain its winning form as it plays a tough opening match in the NCAA Tournament against Atlantic 10 champion Rhode Island on Friday in Sacramento (Saturday, Manila time).
The Bluejays are coming off a loss in the Big East championship to national titlist Villanova, their fifth loss in the last 11 games.
The Rams, on the other hand, have won eight straight.
Creighton was rated 24th in the final list by the selection committee, 20 places above Rhode Island, but the Rams are favored by analysts and bookmakers.
Bluejays coach Greg McDermott certainly does not want it to be a cameo.
“Their focus is always good,” McDermott told omaha.com.
“By practice (on Monday), they’ll understand — OK, what do we have to do to beat Rhode Island? We don’t want this to be our last game.”
It is the 20th time Creighton is seeing action in the tournament, but is making an appearance in the 68-team event for only the first time the past three seasons.
Kobe Paras of the Philippines has not seen action for Creighton since a brief appearance in a win over St. John’s two weeks ago.
Creighton, which went 13-0 to start the season before crashing into a wall that was Villanova, woud up 25-9 and was seeded sixth in the Midwest region, while six other Big East teams also made the NCAA tournament.
Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, while also making the tournament were Butler, Creighton, Seton Hall, Marquette, Xavier and Providence.
The potential second round opponent is is Pac-12 runner-up and Midwest No. 3 seed Oregon (29-5), which takes on No. 14 Iona Gaels, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions.
In other Midwest matches, No. 1 Kansas takes on NC Central/UC Davis, No. 2 Louisville battles Jacksonville State, No. 4 Purdue faces Vermont, No. 5 Iowa State squares off with Nevada, No. 7 Michigan plays Oklahoma State and No. 8 Miami takes on No. 9 Michigan State.