The Bracketology Report: Creighton
Editor's note: Each week Bracketology Insider will take an in-depth look at teams headed for the NCAA Tournament ... or not.
Week in review
Creighton (No. 33 RPI, No. 213 SOS) rebounded from a surprising loss at Northern Iowa (No. 124 RPI, No. 199 SOS) Wednesday with a solid 72-53 win over Evansville (No. 252 RPI, No. 84 SOS) on Saturday, the Bluejays' 26th straight win at home. Creighton took a 19-point lead early in the second half, and the Purple Aces never seriously challenged the rest of the way. Brody Deren, a 6-foot-8 senior, led four teammates in double figures with 15 points.
Three days earlier, Deren, with 14 points, was the only effective Bluejay against NIU, which made 12 3-pointers and knocked Creighton from the ranks of the unbeaten, 82-73. Ironically, the upset came just two days after Creighton entered the Top 25.
Freshman Brooks McKowen made six of the 3-pointers and finished with 24 points for Northern Iowa, which never trailed after a 15-2 run in the later stages of the first half.
Wednesday, Creighton travels to Wichita State (No. 88 RPI, No. 59 SOS), where the Bluejays suffered one of their three MVC losses a year ago, 80-74. The Shockers scored the game's final seven points to erase a late Creighton lead. The Bluejays did avenge that loss by beating Wichita State twice in a six-day span, including a one-point victory in the MVC tournament semifinals.
The Shockers enter this game having lost two of three, including a one-point defeat at home to Indiana State last Saturday. Wichita State was the pre-season Missouri Valley favorite in many quarters, so this game may be doubly dangerous for the visitors.
Creighton is back in Omaha this Saturday against a reeling Illinois State club (No.206 RPI, No. 44 SOS). The Redbirds enter the week on something of a tough-luck, six-game losing streak. Included in the skid is a 56-55 loss to Creighton. It took a free throw by sophomore Johnny Mathies with 1.4 seconds left to allow the Bluejays to escape that night. Deren led the way with 12 points in a game in which Creighton shot just 41 percent and trailed at one time, 50-38.
The Bluejays are No. 33 this week on The Bracketology Report national seeding chart. That's down from 31 last week and makes Creighton a true No. 9 seed.
It's like walking up the down escalator for Creighton and other quality mid-majors. No matter how fast they move (or how many wins they get in their respective conferences), they are probably going to move backward in the national picture. Until the Bracket Buster on Feb. 21, the Bluejays have no one on the schedule to help them.
All Creighton -- and others like them -- can hope for is to keep winning and for those teams they've already beaten to do the same.
Games of the Week Creighton fans should root FOR and AGAINST the teams in ALL CAPS. For St. Joseph's @ ST. BONAVENTURE (Sat.)
NEBRAKSA @ Missouri (Sat.)
Against ILLINOIS @ Wisconsin (Sat.)
OKLAHOMA ST. @ Texas (Sat.)
Inside the Numbers Additional considerations for the NCAA Selection Committee include: "Good" wins
(vs. RPI 1-25) NONE
(vs. RPI 26-50) NONE
(vs. RPI 51-100) Nebraska, @Fresno State, @Wyoming, Southwest Missouri State
(vs. RPI 101-150) @Northern Iowa
(vs. RPI sub-150) NONE
Record vs. projected field (1-0)
Win: @Fresno State
Record vs. at-large pool (n/a)
Win: does not yet apply
Loss: does not yet apply
Reason(s) to INCLUDE Creighton
- 4-1 road/neutral record
- 4-0 vs. RPI Top 100
Reason(s) to EXCLUDE Creighton
- No. 199 SOS
Season breakdown (13-1, 5-1)
All RPI data through Sunday, Jan. 18
Date Opponent Result Opp.RPI Opp.SOS 11/22 San Diego 79-64 255 86 11/29 St. Bonaventure 83-63 127 27
12/3 Bethune-Cookman 69-49 313 290 12/6 Delaware State 77-48 195 134 12/10 Nebraska 61-54 64 80 12/13 @Fresno State 70-62 (ot) 70 33 12/20 Ark.-Little Rock 91-66 212 267 12/22 @Wyoming 66-61 95 39 12/30 SW Missouri State 59-54 97 158
1/5 @Bradley 66-49 163 179 1/7 @Illinois State 56-55 206 44 1/11 Drake 78-67 154 131 1/14 @Northern Iowa 73-82 (L) 124 199 1/17 Evansville 72-53 252 84 1/21 @Wichita State 88 59 1/24 Illinois State 206 44 1/28 @Indiana State 210 279
2/1 @Evansville 252 84 2/4 Northern Iowa 124 199 2/7 Southern Illinois 39 135 2/11 Bradley 163 179 2/14 @Drake 154 131 2/18 Indiana State 210 279 2/21 Bracket Buster/TBA 2/24 @Southern Illinois 39 135 2/28 @SW Missouri State 97 158
3/1 Wichita State 88 59 3/5 MISSOURI VALLEY TOURNAMENT
Joe Lunardi's forecast (Jan. 21)
Chance of NCAA top seed: 0 percent
Chance of NCAA "protected" (1-4) seed: 5 percent
Chance of NCAA bid: 60 percent
Chance of NCAA at-large bid: 40 percent
Chance of NIT bid: 35 percent
Chance of missing post-season: 5 percent
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