Make Your Case: Creighton BluejaysPosted by nvr1983 on March 11th, 2009
As part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 15th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble”. We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these bloggers could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the “bubble” and you would like to submit something, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creighton– Submitted by Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball.
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 2-2
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 7-3
Best Wins: New Mexico (Home), Dayton (Home), Northern Iowa (Road), and Illinois State (Home)
Worst Loss: Drake (Home)
After last Saturday’s blowout loss in the Semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference to Illinois State, Creighton is one of those teams that is sitting squarely on the bubble. I am going to state my case as to why Creighton deserves to go to the NCAA Tournament over other bubble teams.
Creighton was favored to win the Missouri Valley Conference this season, and even though they had a slow conference start at 5-4, they started playing better as a team and reeled off 10 straight wins (including a Bracketbuster win against George Mason) to tie Northern Iowa for a share of the MVC regular season title. The Bluejays extended their winning streak to 11 with a first round win in the MVC Tourney against Wichita State in dramatic fashion, but then turned around and got blasted by Illinois State.
Last impressions are hard to erase from people’s minds and the Illinois State loss will be a hard one for people to forget. However, statistical history is on Creighton’s side. There has never been a team with 26 wins in the RPI top 100 that missed the NCAA Tournament. Also, the MVC regular season champion has made the NCAA tournament the last 15 years.
Another thing that is in Creighton’s favor is a similar situation a few years ago with George Mason. Yes, the same team that barely got into the Big Dance but then ran to the Final Four. A few weeks ago, I detailed how Creighton looks so much like that George Mason team and ironically everything has been set up the same way. Replace the Missouri Valley Conference with this year’s Mountain West Conference and replace the Colonial with this year’s Missouri Valley Conference and you have the same story.
Yes, Creighton probably should have won the road games at Arkansas-Little Rock and Nebraska. At the same time Creighton was suffering from some team turmoil and P’Allen Stinnett, who was probably the most known of the Creighton players, did not start the UALR game and the next game was at Nebraska where he was benched for the whole game. Both of those games were 2-point losses.
But out of the season that was for the Bluejays, a star was born in the name of Booker Woodfox. The nation needs to see more of this amazing shooter. He will probably leave Creighton as the best percentage 3-point shooter in the school’s history and that is saying something with the likes of Kyle Korver to be compared to. Booker was the leading scorer for the Jays this season and literally carried this team through tough stretches as one of the nation’s leading 3-point percentage shooters. If not for a bum ankle during the month of January where the Jays were 4-4 which included home losses against Northern Iowa and Drake, Creighton would have been well on their way to a very comfortable situation than where they are at today. However wins against New Mexico who finished 2nd in a Mountain West Conference that may get 3-5 teams into the NCAA Tournament and Dayton who finished 2nd in the A-10 are quality wins for a Mid-Major team that always struggles to schedule quality opponents who will play home-home situations. Creighton did play in the Las Vegas Classic pre-conference tournament this season and they probably didn’t expect at the time they signed up for it that Fresno State and DePaul would end up having such horrible seasons.
Finally, let’s look at a comparison of teams that are right on the edge of the bubble like Creighton. We’ll take the last 4 in and last 4 out of the latest Bracketology from the 4 letter sports site.
Looking at the above, Creighton’s RPI looks better and they currently have more wins than these other teams. Creighton is also the only team in this group with a .500 or better record against the Top 50, though I know it is only 4 games. Fortunately for 5 of the 8 teams listed above, many can attribute many of the Top 50 matchups against teams from their own conference. In addition, the Mountain West Conference has had a great season, so San Diego St. can almost claim the same. Saint Mary’s gets talked about just because of Patty Mills, but if you look at their schedule they basically played no one. They got beat by Gonzaga three times. Their best win is against Providence…a bubble team in their own right. Their other good win is against San Diego State who may also be on the outside looking in.
So, although the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament is over, Doug Gottlieb over at ESPN brings up Creighton about every night on their College Basketball Final and how they deserve to be in. With Creighton having 26 wins, going 11-1 in their last 12, a familiar name in the basketball postseason and as long as they are being talked about, they have a great case for an NCAA Tournament bid.