Harris hopes Monday's game will give Kentucky a chance to show it has improved and learned lessons from regular-season losses. The Cats blew most of a 20-point lead against UNLV last week before holding on to win in their first NIT game.
"I think it is the fact that we didn't close out games. We would have a good defensive stand and then not get the offensive rebound. Or we don't communicate on defense and they would score in transition or something like that," Harris said.
"Those little things are what we were good at last year. We are not far from having a much better record this year. It's the small things that got us. If we just communicated better, we would have won more games."
Creighton on a winning streak
Creighton went 14-4 to tie for the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship and expected to receive an NCAA bid even though it did not win the MVC tournament. The Bluejays have won 12 of their last 13 games.
They are led by Booker Woodfox, the conference player of the year. He averages a team-high 15.7 points per game and ranks second in the nation in 3-point shooting (47.6 percent) and 17th in foul shooting (87.3 percent).
Sophomore guard P'Allen Stinnett (12.4 points per game) was a second-team all-conference selection and senior point guard Josh Dotzler led the conference with 68 steals and ranks third nationally in assist/turnover ratio at 3.38. Sophomore Kenny Lawson led the MVC with 54 blocked shots.
Creighton shot 37.9 percent from 3-point range and had a rare off night against Bowling Green last week when it had to overcome a 14-point deficit to win 73-71. The Bluejays missed their first 12 3-point tries and were 0-for-11 in the first half. That was the first time this season Creighton played a half without a 3-point goal. However, Creighton made five of its last 11 3-pointers, including 3-for-4 in the final seven minutes.
Turnovers could also be a determining factor. Creighton is 12th-best nationally with a plus-3.9 turnover margin and has had more turnovers than an opponent just five times this year.
Kentucky has a minus-2.6 margin, which ranks 296th nationally. The Cats have had five games with at least 10 more turnovers than their opponent and are only 11-9 when they have lost the turnover battle. Kentucky has turned the ball over on 24.1 percent of its possessions this year.
Harris knows a strong finish could help ease the pain of not making the NCAA tournament or winning the Southeastern Conference. He also realizes that has put some pressure on the team going into Monday's game.
"We want to win. Kentucky fans are great and they want us to win, too. We just lost games because of missed communication and not being on the same page. We know that. No one has to tell us that," Harris said.
"Last year we had a few ups and downs and then we got it going. We thought the same thing would happen this year, but it didn't. This is our last chance to get it going and prove that we are better than people think."