With a simple tweet, Creighton fans breathed a sigh of relief when two time All-American Doug McDermott announced that he would return to Creighton for his senior season.
Doug McDermott @dougmcd3
I will be returning to Creighton for my senior year and can’t wait to put on that uniform for one more season!
At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, McDermott said, “I was in my dad’s office and we were going over some things. That’s when it hit me. I told him I think I’m ready to come back.
I went with my gut on this one. My heart has been telling me all along to stay, but my mind tried to take over a couple of times. I just ended up trusting myself that I was making the right decision.”
Exciting news this week as the Missouri Valley Conference had two teams in the final Coaches poll of the mens basketball season. From MVC-Sports.com:
For the first time since 1979, the Missouri Valley Conference has a team in the Top 5 of a final national basketball poll. Wichita State (4) and Creighton (21) represent the MVC in the final USA Today Coaches poll, released April 9. The Bluejays were also ranked No. 23 in the final Associated Press poll, announced prior to post-season action.
It marks the second-straight year that Wichita State and Creighton represented the MVC in a season-ending Top 25 poll. Last year, Wichita State (18) and Creighton (19) were ranked in the season-ending AP poll. Creighton was No. 21 in the USA Today poll at season’s end in 2011-12.
Creighton was defeated by Duke 66-50 on Sunday night in Philadelphia, ending the Bluejays season at 28-8. The Bluejays shot just 30% from the field and a season low 10% from the three point line in the defeat.
Creighton started well with Grant Gibbs scoring the first four points of the game for the Jays, but Duke answered with an 11-0 run. The first half remained close until a buzzer beater three banked in for the Blue Devils that extended their lead to 29-23 at the break.
The second half was controlled by Duke and the lead was double digits for most of the final 10 minutes of the game. In a game dominated by whistles and foul trouble for both teams, Doug McDermott was never able to get untracked. The junior All-American scored 21 points and had 9 rebounds, but was just 4-16 from the field. McDermott did not make a field goal in the second half, although he was 12-12 from the free throw line.
Duke advances to play Michigan State in the round of 16.
With the loss, Creighton ends both their season and their tenure in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bluejays will join the Big East on July 1.
Creighton vs Duke
8:40 CDT (TBS)
Creighton looks to advance to the program’s first Sweet 16 since the NCAA tournament field expanded to 64 teams when they play Duke on Sunday. The Blue Devils will pose much different problems for the Bluejays than Cincinnati did in the opening round. Duke ranks 6th nationally with 78 ppg, something Cincinnati could only dream of. The Bearcats were a team of defenders and rebounders, but they lacked a potent offensive threat.
The style of basketball that Creighton and Duke play are similar. Both are highly efficient offenses with a stretch 4 forward capable of taking over a game. Creighton’s Doug McDermott is a two time All-American, but Duke’s Ryan Kelly has similar attributes. Both are adept at scoring down low, but have excellent three point shooting skills. The Blue Devils are 20-1 with Kelly in the lineup.
This game likely hinges on the matchup of guards. The big men, Creighton’s Gregory Echenique and Duke’s Mason Plumlee, are a push in my opinion. Creighton’s Jahenns Manigat will have his hands full trying to slow down Duke’s best scorer, Seth Curry. I believe that the key for Creighton will be the play of senior Grant Gibbs. Gibbs struggled against the length and athleticism of Cincinnati, committing 5 turnovers while managing just four assists in the win. For the Bluejays to be victorious, Gibbs will need to control the ball better and increase his productivity. He will likely be matched up with Duke freshman Rasheel Sulaimon. Can the veteran get the best of the youngster? Athletically, no. But Gibbs plays with a high basketball IQ and has a savvy that has been refined over the years. He knows that he doesn’t need to score many points for the Bluejays to upset Duke. What I will be watching is Gibbs’s assist numbers – particularly those passes that set up Doug McDermott for easy buckets. It says here, that if Gibbs gets 10 assists, Creighton moves on.
I’ve been a homer all week and it hasn’t failed me yet. Wichita State is headed to the Sweet 16. Why not make it two MVC teams?
Prediction: Creighton 76 Duke 74
Doug McDermott scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Creighton defeated Cincinnati 67-63 on Friday afternoon. While the junior All-American topped his season averages in both categories, it was the shooting of Ethan Wragge and the strength of Gregory Echenique that propelled the Bluejays into a Sunday matchup against the Duke Blue Devils.
Creighton started the game poorly, but Wragge connected on all three of his 3-point attempt in the first half as the Jays managed a 5 point halftime lead. The Bluejays’ lead never exceeded eight and with the game tied 54-54, it was Echenique who managed the game’s most important basket on an up and under move that gave Creighton a lead they would not relinquish. Creighton made 22 of 25 free threes in the contest, while Cincinnati made only 4 of 9.
With the win, Creighton earned a victory on consecutive NCAA tournaments for the first time in program history. The Bluejays will face 2nd seed Duke on Sunday.
Xavier, Butler, and Creighton will officially accept invitations to join the Big East on Wednesday according to multiple reports. A press conference is being held in New York to introduce the schools. Additionally, it is expected that the Big East will also announce their television deal with Fox Sports and an agreement with Madison Square Garden to host their conference tournament.
Creighton’s departure will leave the Missouri Valley Conference with 9 teams. It is believed that Commissioner Doug Elgin has given the remaining university presidents information on potential targets to replace Creighton. Among those being considered: Belmont, Oral Roberts, Valparaiso, Loyola-Chicago, Murray State, Nebraska-Omaha, Missouri-Kansas City and the universities in North and South Dakota.
You can discuss this and more on the MVCfans message board
Quick thought: The Valley was seeded well. A little surprised to see Wichita State get a 9 seed and Creighton was one spot from a 6 according to CBS. As a 7, Creighton draws Cincinnati – 22-11, 9-9 in the Big East. The Bearcats are a defensive minded team that excels on the glass (8th nationally in rebounding). Those are traits that could pose problems for the Bluejays, therefore, Creighton’s ability to hits outside shots and utilize their offense efficiently will be the key. The winner of this game will play the Duke-Albany winner.
The Shockers also draw a middle of the pack Big East team in Pitt who is 24-8 overall, 12-6 in Big East play. In this 8/9 game, the winner will likely face West Region top seed Gonzaga. The Panthers have won 11 of their last 15 games, with all four losses coming to nationally ranked opponents.
You can discuss this and more on the MVCfans.com message board:
MVCfans.com basketball discussion
According to multiple reports in the Omaha World Herald and confirmed by ESPN, Creighton will leave the Missouri Valley Conference and join the Big East beginning July 1, 2013.
Creighton is set to make the Big move.
Creighton University plans to accept an offer to join the Big East Conference, The World-Herald has learned.
Its entry into the newly reconfigured, basketball-centric conference will have the Bluejays annually going to battle on the court against iconic programs like Georgetown, Marquette and Villanova.
It also will mean leaving the Missouri Valley Conference, the league that has been the longtime home to Creighton athletic teams in all sports.
This is the way it had to be. If the conference realignment rumors circulating around St. Louis are true, this will be Creighton’s last trip to St. Louis for Arch Madness and I can think of no better way to close than with a title tilt against Wichita state. Will this be Creighton’s last triumph at a tournament they have owned? Or will it be a passing of the torch to the Shockers – seeking their first ever Arch Madness title?
The Bluejays easily advanced to today’s MVC Title game by routing Indiana State, while against Wichita State defeated Illinois State on Saturday to set up what should be the league’s most electric atmosphere at the Scottrade Center since the 2006 matchup between Creighton and Southern Illinois.
More to come from Scottrade at 1pm. Today’s game will be broadcast nationally on CBS.
Creighton’s Doug McDermott saved his best for last – and what a performance it was. The junior forward scored 41 points on 15-18 shooting in leading the Creighton Bluejays to a 91-79 victory over Wichita State in front of 18,613 fans in Omaha on Saturday. In scoring a MVC season high, McDermott made 5 of 8 three point attempts, 10 of 10 two point shots taken, and all 6 free throws attempted.
With the victory, Creighton finished the season at 13-5 and secured sole possession of the Bluejays’ first outright MVC regular season championship since 2000-01. Wichita State finishes the regular season in sole possession of second place at 12-6.
Top seeded Creighton will face the winner of the Bradley-Drake winner at noon on Friday in St. Louis. Second seeded Creighton will play the winner of the Missouri State-Southern Illinois winner on Friday evening.