The Missouri Valley Conference is one of only four non-Power Conferences with two teams in the top 32 in the nation according to www.kenpom.com. Sunday afternoon Creighton earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning their second straight Missouri Valley Conference title with a 68-65 victory over Wichita State.
Both teams were named by Breitbart Sports as being among 45 teams considered to be tournament “locks.” Creighton finished their season 27-7 while Wichita State was 26-8.
As the Blue Jays pulled out the nail-biter over the Shockers, it was Jahenns Manigat who scored a season-high 16 points and hit the game securing lay-up. Reserve Ethan Wragge also came through in a big way for Creighton scoring 15 points from 5 three pointers, as leading scorer and tournament MVP Doug McDermott (23.4 PPG) struggled with 14 points.
McDermott is being considered a National Player of the Year candidate by many, though he did not make the Breitbart Sports All-American team this year due to not shooting quite as well as his unbelievable last season. However, he showed he can do it on both ends of the court when his intense defense on the final Wichita State possession forced an off balance, contested three-pointer that rimmed off as time expired to secure the title.
The defense he led resulted in the Shockers poor shooting performance, managing just 34% from the field. Malcolm Armstead, who averages only 9.8 points per game, scored 28 points for Wichita State.