>> The defensive and rebounding effort was noticeably better than last year. The Jays flat-out played hard — so hard they were sloppy in the first 10 minutes. The nicest surprise was Ethan Wragge, who doesn’t seem like he wants to be just a 3-point specialist anymore. Seven rebounds and three blocks (in just 13 minutes) against an athletic frontcourt? A great sign that Wragge is ready to break out.
>> Avery Dingman had 10 points in 11 minutes, so it’s easy to say he played well. But I expect Dingman to contribute more and more, even pushing Jahenns Manigat and Josh Jones for minutes at crunch time. Why? Clearly Dingman can shoot it. But at 6-foot-6, he’s big enough to defend prolific wing scorers. That’s what hurt Creighton a year ago.
>> Point guard was the No. 1 concern entering the season. Friday didn’t change that. Austin Chatman may develop into a fine playmaker, but Antoine Young’s ability to make something out of nothing, especially late in the clock, was critical to Creighton’s offense. Chatman struggled early Friday — he and Andre Yates were dribble-happy — and he didn’t seem comfortable when he penetrated the defense. He’ll get better. But it’s not easy making plays in the paint at his size.
>> Doug McDermott finished 6 of 11 from the floor, but four of those attempts came in the final 6:18. Not only did he struggle to get shots against North Texas’ big frontcourt, but teammates missed him open a few times. Let’s see if that changes Wednesday against UAB. McDermott needs to average 15 shots a game.
>> I never bought the idea that North Texas was a threat to beat Creighton. But winning by 20 while shooting 5-for-18 from 3-point range is encouraging. The Jays had a lot of good looks that rattled out.