Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Why Creighton is struggling
By Matt Giles
We recently wrote about the possibility that Creighton might miss the NCAA tournament. As presented by CBSSports.com's Jeff Borzello, if Creighton drops a regular season contest to Wichita State, and then loses in the MVC tournament, there could be a chance that the Bluejays might not dance in March.
We wonder what was the cause of Creighton's sudden slide -- the squad has lost four of their last six games, including a defeat against Saint Mary's during the weekend's BracketBuster event. We crunched the numbers over the course of those six games, and two aspects are obvious: opponents have put the clamps on Creighton's offense. The squad's offensive efficiency rate is just .99 PPP, well under the PPP of 1.16 the team has posted throughout Missouri Valley play. The Bluejays are converting more than 50 percent of their twos, but are struggling mightily from beyond the arc. According to Ken Pomeroy, 37.1 percent of Creighton's points come from deep -- tops in the conference -- but in the last six games, the team is shooting just 29.3 from three.
Part of the problem is that Creighton is not hauling in as many offensive boards recently. The Bluejays are still keeping their opponents off the glass, posting a defensive rebounding rate of 28.1 percent since February 6th (the date that started Creighton's slide), but for a team that relies on offensive boards to rack up easy putbacks and allow for open threes, the rebounds just aren't manifesting themselves. In those six games, Creighton's offensive rebounding percentage is a troubling 25.1 percent, way down from their overall MVC rate (31.4 percent). One might also make a case that the absence of Josh Jones, who quit basketball due to a heart problem, has hurt Creighton's perimeter defense; Jones was skilled at forcing turnovers, and while Greg McDermott's team never forces turnovers, Jones still would have exuded some needed pressure on opposing guards.