CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS, 28-8 (13-5, MVC Tournament Champ)
Lost in 3rd Round of NCAA Tournament
Head Coach: Greg McDermott - McDermott begins his 4th season as head coach at Creighton having found success early this century at Northern Iowa, taking UNI to 3 consecutive NCAAs. He left his alma mater to become head coach at Iowa State where he found less success. He has taken the BlueJays to 3 straight tournament appearances.
Creighton has never advanaced past the Sweet 16 and haven't made it that far since 1974 and have a total of 3 Sweet 16's in their history. Prior to McDermott's arrival, Dana Altman helped set Creighton on its course to the Big East making numerous NCAA tournamet appearances. Creighton has made 7 dances since 2000 and have made the tournament in 9 of the last 15 years out of the competetive Missouri Valley Conference.
2013-14 Glance: Creighton jumps to a much tougher conference but will still be one of the favorites heading into the season. Returning for his SR. season is All-American Doug McDermott. McDermott averaged 23 points and 8 boards per game. Can he repeat this numbers in a tougher conference and without big man Gregory Echenique? There's little reason to think he can't as he has a lot of good players returning to help him.
The NCAA granted G Grant Gibbs a 6th year of eligibilty and he should run the point along with JR Austin Chatman. Gibbs averaged nearly 6 assists per game and Chatman was 3rd in the MVC, with 4.2 per game. Rounding out the backcourt will be SR. SG Jahenns Manigat. Avery Dingman provides another shooter and some depth.
Coming off the bench for Creighton will be sharp-shooter Ethan Wragge. Wragge shot 44.6% from deep last year, making 78 3's overall. Creighton's issues will be in the frontcourt next to McDermott. McDermott could rely on Echenique as a defensive presence. Who will step up to replace him this season. Creighton will look to JR. big man, 6'11' Will Artino and 7' SOPH C, Geoffrey Groselle to try and bring the defensive intensity Echenique did and help clean the glass. 6' 9" FROSH Zach Hanson should get a look as well.
Creighton should compete for the regular season league title and Doug McDermott will probably make his way into POY discussions. Most national writers are cautious on just how well Creighton will do. Bus trips to Wichita and Carbondale will be replaced with plane trips to NYC and Providence. Not knocking the Valley, but Creighton will have a uch tougher league schedule this season. They have some inexperience and questions in the frontcourt but solid guard play and the all-everything McDermott should help ease those growing pains. Creighton could very well win the league title and should finish no worse than 5th.
Creighton Basketball Blogs: whiteandbluereview.com