Bears could affect McDermott's POY bid

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
4:45
PM ET
If you’ve been following college basketball this season, then you’re not surprised that No. 18 Creighton’s Doug McDermott cracked the Wooden Award’s midseason list.

[+] EnlargeDoug McDermott
Peter G. Aiken/US PresswireCreighton's lack of TV exposure could hurt Doug McDermott's chances at winning Player of the Year.
He’s averaging 24.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He’s shooting 53.2 percent from the three-point line, 62.1 percent from the field and 84.4 percent from the free throw line. And he’s even delivered a baby while trapped in an Omaha elevator.

I made up the last part. I think.

But seriously, McDermott is a top candidate for various POY honors, but he’s at a disadvantage due to his conference’s makeup and limited TV exposure.

Creighton’s matchup at Missouri State tonight will not be televised. That’s one problem. The other issue is that his team is playing Missouri State.

Let me explain.

McDermott is vying for POY against high-profile athletes who’ve had the opportunity to play each other in nonconference and conference action. Creighton’s sophomore star hasn’t had that luxury.

You don’t know how he’d matchup against Thomas Robinson or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or high school teammate Harrison Barnes because Creighton hasn’t faced that kind of competition this season.

So the only way to judge McDermott is to analyze his dominance in the Missouri Valley Conference. The MVC is legit. But it doesn’t get the same national respect as Big Six conferences.

A string of so-so games in a league that’s not granted the same standing as the Big East, the Big Ten, the Big 12 or the SEC could have an impact on his national POY bid.

Enter Missouri State.

The last time Creighton faced Missouri State, Kyle Weems scored a career-high 31 points in his team’s 77-65 upset on the MVC favorite’s home floor. McDermott scored one point in the final 10 minutes of the game.

Now, the Bluejays are on the road against the Bears, who’ve lost three of their last five. But throw out Missouri State’s recent slide.

Creighton is intent Wednesday night on ending the almost two-year mastery that Missouri State has held on the Bluejays.

The Bears haven’t lost to Creighton since Jan. 24, 2010. They’ve won the past six meetings between the schools, including a 12-point win in last month’s Missouri Valley opener.

“Things have been a little lopsided the last couple of years,” Creighton guard Grant Gibbs said.

McDermott’s POY hopes might demand a big performance and a win over his squad’s perennial thorn tonight.

If he struggles again in a game that no one will see on TV, his POY hopes could take a hit. He can’t afford as many rough outings as his peers. And I don’t believe McDermott will win national POY honors if Creighton doesn’t win its league. Creighton is currently tied with Wichita State in the MVC standings at 6-1.

So McDermott is facing some pressure entering tonight’s game. He has to show up.

Getting swept by Missouri State could affect his end-of-year accolades.

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