Creighton (28-8, 13-5 Missouri Valley)
Last season: NCAA Third Round (66-50 loss to No. 1 Duke)
This is the second installment of a 10-part series evaluating the schedules of the 10 Big East teams for the 2013-14 season. Records, tournament finishes are from last season. To read Butler’s analysis, click here.
The Bluejays join the Big East following one of their best seasons in program history, when they advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to No. 1 seed Duke.
Creighton beat Cincinnati in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and won the Missouri Valley regular season and conference tournament, finishing with a 28-8 record.
The Bluejays expect to contend for the conference title this year, with the return of All-American forward Doug McDermott, who is playing as a walk-on this season (the perks of being the coach’s son, I suppose) and also got good news in July when the NCAA announced Grant Gibbs would receive a sixth year of eligibility.
Schedule (all times Central)
Nov. 1 – vs. Northern State 7:00 (exhibition)
Nov. 8 – vs. Alcorn State 7:00
Nov. 11 – vs. Missouri-Kansas City 8:00 Fox Sports 1
Nov. 16 – at St. Joseph’s Time TBA
Nov. 23 – vs. Tulsa 2:30 FSN
Nov. 28 – vs. Arizona State 10:00 ESPN2 (Fullerton, Calif.)
Nov. 29 – vs. San Diego State/Charleston 8:30/11:00 ESPN2/ESPNU (Fullerton)
Dec. 1 – TBD (Anaheim)
Dec. 3 – at Long Beach State 9:00
Dec. 8 – vs. Nebraska 5:00 Fox Sports 1
Dec. 17 – vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff 7:00 Fox Sports 1
Dec. 22 – vs. California 6:00 Fox Sports 1
Dec. 29 – vs. Chicago State 4:00 Fox Sports 1
Dec. 31 – vs. Marquette 9:00 Fox Sports 1
Jan. 4 – at Seton Hall 2:00 Fox Sports 1
Jan. 7 – at DePaul 8:00 Fox Sports 1
Jan. 12 – vs. Xavier 2:00 CBS Sports
Jan. 14 – vs. Butler 8:00 Fox Sports 1
Jan. 18 – at Providence 1:00 Fox Sports 1
Jan. 20 – at Villanova 6:00 Fox Sports 1
Jan. 25 – vs. Georgetown 7:00 Fox Sports 1
Jan. 28 – vs. St. John’s 8:00 Fox Sports 1
Feb. 7 – vs. DePaul 8:00 Fox Sports 1
Feb. 9 – at St. John’s 6:00 Fox Sports 1
Feb. 13 – at Butler 6:00 CBS Sports
Feb. 16 – vs. Villanova 4:00 Fox Sports 1
Feb. 19 – at Marquette 7:00 Fox Sports 1
Feb. 23 – vs. Seton Hall 4:00 FSN
March 1 – at Xavier 4:00 Fox Sports 1
March 4 – at Georgetown 6:00 Fox Sports 1
March 8 – vs. Providence 6:30 CBS Sports
Following tune-ups with Alcorn State and UMKC, the Bluejays will travel to Hagan Arena to take on the St. Joseph’s Hawks. St. Joe’s struggled to an 18-14 finish last year, but were 11-4 at home. Creighton blew out St. Joe’s, 81-50 last year and I expect the Bluejays to sneak out with a victory this year.
Another tune-up with Tulsa awaits Creighton in Omaha before the Bluejays travel to Fullerton, Calif., for the Wooden Legacy. Creighton plays Arizona State in the marquee matchup of the first round and will play either San Diego State or Charleston in the second round.
A likely bout with Marquette awaits the Bluejays in the championship game in what could be a preview of this year’s Big East Championship game.
Creighton will stay out west following the Wooden Legacy to take on Long Beach State, a team that is never afraid to schedule powerhouse opponents. That will be a rocking environment and I see Creighton stumbling in what will be its fourth game in five days.
In-state rival Nebraska comes to CenturyLink Arena in what will likely be a tougher game for the Jays to win than most think. While I don’t see the Cornhuskers contending for an NCAA Tournament bid this year, rivalry games have a tendency to bring out the best (or worst) in average teams.
I don’t see Creighton having much trouble with Arkansas-Pine Bluff, California and Chicago State at home, although the Golden Bears could surprise some teams this year in an ever-improving Pac 12. Justin Cobbs will have to score about 40 to get the upset, however.
Despite hosting Marquette in its first Big East contest, Creighton has one of the easier opening stretches in the league. Road trips to Seton Hall and DePaul, along with home games against Xavier and Butler shouldn’t be much of a problem. I’m predicting Creighton will be 17-1 going into Philadelphia to take on Villanova.
That’s when the schedule gets tricky, however. I think Creighton will lose at Nova. Following the home game against Butler, I don’t see many sure wins on this schedule (with home games against DePaul and Seton Hall being obvious exceptions).
The Jays play two of three games against St. John’s and I think it will lose one of them before getting upset at Butler. They’ll rebound, however, and win four of their final six to close the season.
Wins: Alcorn State, UMKC, at St. Joseph’s, Tulsa, Arizona State (Fullerton, Calif.), San Diego State (Fullerton, Calif.), Marquette (twice, championship in Anaheim), Nebraska, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, California, Chicago State, Seton Hall (twice), DePaul (twice), Xavier (twice), Butler, Providence (twice), Villanova, Georgetown, St. John’s
Losses: at Long Beach State, at Villanova, at St. John’s, at Butler, at Marquette, at Georgetown
Prediction: 24-6, 13-5 Big East (3rd)