I've seen few college basketball players over the years compare to what I saw last night from Doug McDermott. It was my first time seeing him in person, and I'm glad I'll get to watch him again tonight at 9:30 against Xavier after Creighton took it to 12-21 DePaul by a score of 84-62.
McDermott had 27 points (Big East Tournament record for a half) and a career-high seven threes after one half. He'd finish without another three, falling two short of the Creighton single-game record, but he still managed to drop 35 and rest for eight minutes. That's the most points DePaul has ever surrendered to one player in tournament history.
He never stopped moving his feet on offense when he didn't have the ball. When he did have the rock, he made smart decisions and kept his head up. He made crisp passes and shot with such fluidity. Even on defense, where he said afterwards his Dad (also the Head Coach) has been his harshest critic, McDermott almost always had great positioning and awareness. He started off the game by drilling a three on the team's first possession and getting a steal on the other end. He made an immediate statement. "You remember the Kemba moment, so many great games...just to be a part of it was definitely in the back of my mind," McDermott said to reporters postgame.
His performance earned him an interview with Fox Sports 1's Erin Andrews after the game. "This was my first time seeing her in person. She looked good," McDermott chuckled.
This clinic he put on was only the nightcap to a great day at MSG - Seton Hall's buzzer-beating upset of VIllanova vaulted them into the Semifinals for the first time since 2001 where they'll play Providence at 7. In fairness, I suspected Villanova would be prone to an upset like this, but I didn't feel very confident in that charge. Seton Hall held 'Nova to under 38% from the field, which would surely earn them a Big East Title if they were to keep that defensive pressure up. I don't think Doug McDermott would be flustered by this Pirates defense, but who knows - the third-best team in the country just was.
We continue on with the "weird" theme tonight, when we see a Seton Hall-Proidence / Creighton-Xavier semifinals. Huh? This is the Big East?
Well, it is now. To be quite frank, I kind of like it. It'll take some time for most to get used to, but Day 2 at MSG was very fun to watch. I suspect Day 3 will be the same. I'm going to say Creighton-Xavier has Overtime potential - I was very impressed with the Musketeers last night.