2009 Old Spice Classic Field

November 30, 2008

We heard earlier this summer that Creighton was going to be part of the 2009 Old Spice Classic in Orlando over next Thanksgving weekend.  Tonight during this year’s Old Spice Classic final between Tennessee and Gonzaga, the teams that will be joining the Jays were mentioned.  They include:

  • Alabama (SEC)
  • Iona (MAAC)
  • Baylor (Big 12)
  • Michigan (Big 10)
  • Xavier (A-10)
  • Marquette (Big East)
  • one slot remains

Many would like to see Gonzaga in this field again, but it won’t happen.  The NCAA used to have a 2 in 4 rule that meant teams could only play in tournaments like the Old Spice Classic 2 times in a 4 year period.  However, the NCAA got rid of that rule a few years ago saying a team can play in one of these tournaments every year, but just not the same one in back to back years.  So in this case Gonzaga can’t be part of this field.

However if this field is going to be setup with the same type of field as it was this year, an ACC or WCC team is still missing from this field.  The A-10 was added with the addition of Xavier, so I would expect the last spot to be filled with an ACC or WCC team.  Should be interesting.  It is also exciting to see the Jays in one of these types of tournaments.  Anyway, a little something to put in your hat for next year.  Creighton has enough problems trying to win the games they currently have scheduled for this year.

Here’s the official release.


Turning Point

November 30, 2008

As I sat with my cousin before the game with the Jays side of the court right in front of me, I thought that it was going to be an electric game and that P’Allen Stinnett would be back in the fold and the team would be coming together to kick it to the Huskers.  “P” was hitting almost every shot he was putting up and putting down some nice warmup dunks and I was encouraged and excited.  It was not to be.  4 games into the season and the Jays are already at a turning point.  Tonight’s 54-52 loss against Nebraska isn’t necessarily about losing to Nebraska in a really ugly game, but more of a character building game and the end of the first road trip of the season with a lot of things to resolve.

1)  The Jays are falling into the trap on the road that their opponents at home fall into.  They get a nice lead on the road in the first half and the home team is able to get some fire in the second half and lose the game in the final seconds.  This is a character building experience to know how to keep leads on the road.

2)  The toughness factor-Creighton came out with fire in their eyes determined to get rebounds and were successful in that aspect tonight against Nebraska.  However, in the second half, the defense broke down and the rebound factor was not there. Turnovers killed the Jays with the point guard position involved in 11 of the 24 turnovers.

3)  Player character–The developments with P’Allen Stinnett over the past week is troubling and at the same time a distraction to the team.   Being able to play without their star player builds character, but at what price.  Setting the example for others and being a team player is an important characteristic to have.  It took a lot of character for coach Altman to try and build the character needed for P’Allen by sacrificing this game which is probably one of the more important games personally to Altman.

4)  A tough road ahead.  Though the Jays get a little reprieve in hosting Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday, the road doesn’t get easier for them as they head on the road to St. Joseph, play a tough Dayton team at home, a couple games at home that should be wins and then the tourney in Vegas with Fresno St., Depaul and St. Louis.   Next thing you know, you are in Conference play.

The game against Nebraska needs to be all of those learning experiences above all in one….it has to be or it will be a long season.

Enough of the bad, how about the good–I loved the playing time  Careb Korriman received tonight.  Kaleb Korver (23 minutes) looked like he belonged out there hitting some big 3-point shots, getting rebounds and not turning the ball over.  There was a stretch in the 2nd half where Kaleb ws put in at the 18:24 mark and other than about a minute and a half break played until the 4:02 mark.  His time today was quite effective and some great game time experience.  Casey Harriman (24 minutes) had a “working man’s” game fighting for rebounds and playing tough all game.  He came up with a great offensive rebound put back and also a great steal and basket down the stretch to keep the Jays in the game.

Then you have Josh Dotzler.  The kid tried his best to take over the game when no one else would.  He had an amazing spin in the lane basket and of all people hit the 3-point basket to keep give Creighton the chance to win.  Although he had 4 costly turnovers, you couldn’t ask for anything more.

Kenny Lawson also did what he needed to do for the most part as the biggest player on the court.  He almost had his first double-double of the season (10 pts., 9 reb.) and 4 blocks.  He kept Nebraska from driving the lane in the first half, but unfortunately not as effective in the second half.  However, in the two road games, Kenny was the most consistent and had the best games of anyone.

I hope people haven’t given up on this team yet.  There is a lot of season to go.  Though there are no state bragging rights this year, there is still a lot to look forward to.  With the stuggles the Valley has had this year, the conference season is attainable and a trip back to the NCAA’s is still in reach.  It is extremely important that fans show up on Tuesday to show support for this team.  It is also important that the Jays make Mississippi Valley State an example of what they can do as they come together as a team.

Now if this P’Allen thing would get resolved…..

Gametime Primer: Jays vs. Nebraska

November 28, 2008

creighton @  nebraska

Saturday, November 29th, 7PM
Bob Devaney Sports Center

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
TV: Fox Sports Midwest (Omaha-Cox Ch. 47, Cox ESPN FC-Ch. 601, DirecTV Ch. 672),
Not available on Dish Network due to Channel Capacity

Creighton Game Notes | Nebraska Game Notes

Other Previews
P’Allen Stinnett Questionable for NU Game (OWH)
CU Must Rebound to Beat Huskers (OWH)
Doc Says Bluejays Like any Other Foe (OWH)
Huskers Hope Extra Effort Proves Contagious (LJS)

As we try to reign in the Jays fans from jumping off of a cliff after the loss to Arkansas-Little Rock on Tuesday night, the annual in-state rivalry game with Nebraska is upon us.  Here is what you need to know about Nebraska:

  • Nebraska is off to a 4-0 start to the season including a road game at TCU.  They have also played common Jays opponents Arkansas-Pine Bluff and potential opponent St. Louis.
  • The Huskers have only been allowing about 51 points a game.  However, they are being out rebounded about 2 rebounds a game.
  • The expected “big man” for Nebraska this season, Alex Chapman, has not even played in a game yet this season recovering from a knee injury.  The other tall guys are Chris Balham who can barely play 8 minutes a game and walk-on Ben Nelson.  One expected big man for this season Christopher Niemann was declared ineligible this year because he played for a team overseas that got paid.
  • Creighton is 8-1 in the last 9 regular season games against the Huskers and 3-1 in the last 4 trips to Lincoln

Pretty much if you are a Creighton fan or a resident of Nebraska, you know that this matchup is always one circled on the calendar for state bragging rights.  However, there has always been contention that this is really a rivalry due to the fact of the Nebraska Football/Creighton Basketball fan and the bandwagon fans due to the success of Creighton over the years.  Well, either way, this is a big game for both teams whether Doc Sadler likes to admit that or not.  This is also probably one of the few games that the Devaney Center actually is packed with fans.  From what was mentioned a couple weeks ago is that there were several tickets still available since Husker fans were trying to unload them.  I even know a few friends who have tickets to this game from the Husker season ticket holders because they weren’t able to use the tickets and tried to unload them to fellow Husker fans so they wouldn’t have to sell them to Creighton fan.  But in the end, they couldn’t get any Husker fan friends to take the tickets so they sold them to the Creighton fans.  Expect a lot of blue at the Devaney Center.

Now to the actual game itself.  Nebraska has been pretty successful with their defense to start the season and playing a lot of small ball because of their lack of height.  This means a few different things to be aware of.  1)  Each of the guys on the floor in all spots on Nebraska’s team on the floor may have the ability to shoot the 3.  2) Will Creighton be able to take advantage of it’s height to win the rebound battle?

The rebounding (or lack thereof) has been the talk of the season so far for the Jays.  After getting beat on the boards by 20, you would think the Jays would practice with helmets and shoulder pads to work on their rebounding.   However, I see the Jays loss at UALR as a bit of a wake-up call and a chance to hone in on what they need to do to be successful this season.  You have the crazies on the BlueJay Cafe that think the season is over, but it has barely begun.  The Arkansas-Little Rock game was a typical trap game and a good test win or lose.    If anything it will make them stronger.

Of course Nebraska get’s the “home court advantage” since the game is in Lincoln.  Two seasons ago, this was the opening home game for the Slingblade Sadler regime and the Jays cold shooting and the Huskers inspired play to give their new coach a key win to start things off in the right direction.

If the Jays are going to win in Lincoln, it will need to be a whole team effort.  The status of P’Allen Stinnett is unclear with not starting the other night, his injured wrist and total lack of motivation in Little Rock.  Expectations are high this season from the coaching staff and the fans for P’Allen and it will be interesting how he responds after facing some adversity.

This game could be a turning point for Creighton as to what type of team they want to be this season.  If history is any factor, these Jays should be fired up and ready to play and continue to strive to become a better team.  In the end, the Jays get a nice win on the road.    In a perfect situation, the Jays will run the Huskers out of the gym, but you know that probably won’t happen.

Prediction:  Jays 69, Nebraska 58

Calm Before the Storm

November 25, 2008

As the Creighton game started against Arkansas-Little Rock, I was somewhat encouraged.  The Jack Stevens Center wasn’t packed, the Jays were hitting shots early and the Trojans looked like they were out of sync.  Even the UALR coach was T’d up before it was even half way through the first half.  Next thing you know the Jays were up 16 points and well on their way to establishing themselves and running Arkansas-Little Rock out of the gym.  In my mind the magic number was 70. If the Jays could get to 70, they would get a win and they were well on their way.

Then reality came in and I saw how sloppy things were and how the Jays were missing rebounds and the Trojans picked away at the lead eventually taking the lead late in the second half and winning on a somehwat dramatic finish 71-69.

Getting out-rebounded by 20 (46-26) on the road will not win you any games.  Kenny Lawson played a great game tonight…for 14 minutes.  The other 14 he was non-existant and was getting pushed out by UALR’s Mike Smith.  Smith turned it on in the second half, was a monster in the paint and got the key rebound at the end to score the winning basket. Rebounding was the key word used over and over by Dana Altman the first three games of the season and it bit Creighton back.  There were so many open layups and baskets from Arkansas-Little Rock in the lane it was ridiculous.

Then you have Matt Mouzy, who once he got his shorts on the right way (yes, he had his shorts on backwards in the first half) hit some key 3 pointers in the second half to chip away at Creighton’s lead.  Then you add up the ratcheted defense and the crowd that was there into the game it it spelled doom for Creighton.

While everyone was worried whether Justin Carter would even play tonight, no one probably expected to hear that P’Allen Stinnett wasn’t starting the game this evening because he was “not upholding certain standards between him and coach.”  P’Allen did come in off the bench, but was off all night missing shots (2-10) and not finishing hard to the basket and just an overall bad game.  Hopefully this incident is a one time thing and will go away.  The Jays had enough adversity to fight through this evening and didn’t need this added in.  The distractions like these are not needed.  P’Allen has been talking the talk about the way he handles himself now and how this team is his team.  Be a leader and help the team succeed.

Cavel Witter and Booker Woodfox kept the Jays in the game, however they both had turnover bugs (5 and 3 respectively).  Josh Dotzler played his part getting 5 steals and 5 assists.  One surprise to me was that Kaleb Korver did not get in the game at all in the second half and Casey Harriman had some really limited minutes.  I thought Kaleb did some great things in the first half and also was not afraid to shoot the ball tonight hitting 2 big 3 pointers to extend the Jays lead in the first half.     Then Kenton Walker couldn’t get on the court.  With the rebound disparity that there was occuring, I was surprised there wasn’t more of an attempt to get Walker and Millard more minutes to try and fight for rebounds to try and compete with UALR’s Mike Smith

Creighton now takes the long trip back to Nebraska (ok, not that long, but losing makes it feel long) to prepare for the game against in-state rival Nebraska who won tonight against a Jays potential opponent St. Louis  71-57.  If Creighton wants to get a win in Lincoln this weekend, the team needs to rebound the basketball.  However, the experience tonight is something to build on and an opportunity to come back fighting.   Well, time to celebrate Turkey Day.

Gametime Primer: Jays @ Arkansas-Little Rock

November 24, 2008


Tuesday, November 25th, 7PM
Jack Stephens Center

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
TV: Action3News (Omaha-Cox Channel 5), Video Streaming Available

Creighton Game Notes | UALR Game Notes

Audio to Listen To
Travis Justice reporting from Little Rock

Other Previews
Northwest Arkansas News Preview

The Jays start a 2 game road trip on Tuesday with their first stop in Little Rock Arkansas.  Here is what you need to know:

  • Arkansas-Little Rock is expected to win the West Division of the Sun Belt Conference this season.
  • Valley brethren Evansville, Southern Illinois and Missouri St. are affiliate members of the Sun Belt in Men’s swimming and diving
  • The Trojans returned all 5 starters this season.  However, guard Steven Moore was suspended a week or so ago indefinitely because of conduct detrimental to the team.  That indefinitely was not long as Moore is back with the team, but now comes off the bench
  • UALR has 4 players averaging double figures and as a team averages 70 points per game
  • This game is the 2nd of a three game series with the Trojans who visited Omaha last season and will likely return to Omaha next season to complete the series.
  • Creighton is 2-0 all-time against Arkansas-Little Rock
  • Derek Fisher from the LA Lakers is their only current NBA player.
  • UALR plays its home games in the recently built Stephens Center, an on campus facility that seats 5,000 plus fans. Prior to this on campus home, the Trojans played at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Previous to that, UALR’s home games were played in Barton Coliseum on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock.

Some may remember last season’s blowout win by the Jays 80-61.  However, looks are somehwat deceiving.  In last season’s game UALR started horribly cold from the field (6-21 in the first half) while the Jays were hot and dug themselves a hole that they really were not able to handle.  The game here on Tuesday has the makings for a great “trap game” that not only the Jays players need to watch out for, but the fans as well.

The Jays are a little emotionaly spent after having to come from behind again (albeit, not as bad as New Mexico), but then have to figure out how Justin Carter getting injured will affect the team chemistry and who will step up.  The Jays reserves Kaleb Korver, Casey Harriman, and Chad Millard stepped up and really were able to do the little things to help the Jays to the win on Sunday.  In addition, this is the Jays first road game and it is always hard to tell how a team is going to respond on the road.  Then you have the anticipated matchup on Saturday with in-state rival Nebraska on the horizon, so you have to be careful not to overlook this UALR game.

Of course rebounding will be the name of the game again as the Jays will need to be tough on the boards.  The Trojans inside game is starting to take shape, so it will be vital for the Jays to box out on the boards.

Since most of the players are returning from both teams, it might be worth it to check the stats of the last game to see where the Jays had the advantage last season. The two top scorers for each team in that game are gone (Dane Watts, De’Andre Eggins) so the scoring will probably come from others including P’Allen Stinnett who was the second leading scorer for the Jays in that game.  Chad Millard had 8 rebounds and Josh Dotzler had 5 steals in the game and their performances I think will have a factor in this game in Little Rock. An up tempo game will be an advantage for the Jays.  Creighton will need to control the tempo and play their style.  The higher the score the more likely the Bluejays will win.

Sounds like Justin Carter might have a chance of playing.   He will be traveling with the team and expected to practice with the team.  Since nothing was torn, that is a good thing and really they may not know for sure until game time if he will be able to play depending on the swelling.   It will be interesting to see how the Jays perform in their first road test and to see how the gameplan and substitution patterns may change if Justin isn’t playing or sees limited minutes.  I could also see this injury as a springboard for the team to become even more cohesive and continue to play team ball like we saw on Saturday in the 2nd half that will make the Jays tough to beat.

UALR and the Stephens Center will be a rocking place (I hope Travis J. realizes that the game is there and not the Alltel Arena!!) I bet since they have great fan support.  They have this game marked on their calendars as one of the biggest games at home this season.  This will be a tough game no doubt and if the Jays can keep the turnovers down to a minimum, they will be able to get out of there with a win and have a great thing to build on to prepare for the game against the Huskers on Saturday…..but try not to look too much towards that game until after Tuesday :)

Prediction:  Jays 76, UALR 71

Huh? What did I do?

November 22, 2008


Cavel Witter led the Jays in scoring for the 2nd straight game and during a stretch between the 17 and 12:30 minute mark in the 2nd half scored 11 of Creighton’s 14 points. Then between him and Booker Woodfox they were 19-21 from the free throw line to lead Creighton to victory 87-65 over Oral Roberts. Cavel had a great all-around game and really shows how comfortable he is being the point guard and having the ball in his hands.

But as to the picture above that is of Oral Roberts thug Marcus Lewis. As the Jays came out from halftime down two points, they had some fire going and started to pull away from the Golden Eagles. On a fast break, Mr. Lewis decided to just completely take out Justin Carter on a sure layup. Justin was on the floor for several minutes and an intentional foul was called. I watched the TV broadcast when I got home and replayed this several times to try and get a picture of the thugness, but basically Justin’s legs were taken out from under him and as he was falling on his back, Lewis pushed himdown to the floor. I tried to get a good picture of what happened and someone will probably have to pull the video later to see it, Here is the video I extracted so you could see how Lewis pushed Justin down to the ground as he was already fouled and headed to the ground:

One other thing that really ticked me off was that after that hard and thug like foul, Coach Sutton showed no class as he left Lewis on the floor and didn’t take him out of the game, even for a minute or two. Most coaches including Dana Altman would have, after a situation like that, taken the player out of the game and at either talked to the player or let him sit and think about it for a minute. Those types of fouls have no place in college basketball. The latest word is that Justin suffered some sort of achilies injury, but the achilies is still attached so it is now just to see to what extent he is actually injured. This got the crowd a little heated and Lewis was booed the rest of the game. Unfortunately, this incident took a little away from the great performances on the floor today.

Outside of the last 10 minutes of the first half, most of the players had a great game and a complete 2nd half. Casey Harriman played tough underneath with a football mentality and had 10 points including a couple of 3 pointers. Kenny Lawson and Kenton Walker were solid underneath and helped lead the Jays win the rebounding battle by 10. P’Allen Stinnett was kind of quiet, but the rest of the players stepped up. Some very impressive minutes by freshman Antoine Young had some great assists and hustle plays to get some great cheers from the Qwest Center crowd. Chad Millard also came back from his concussion suffered in the first game against New Mexico to play solidly, hit a three and showed some real focus.

One thing that Oral Roberts I think suffered from is that the Jays just plain wore them out. In the first half, the Golden Eagles were heavily denying the ball from the Jays players, but it looked like they sort of went away with it in the second half and the Jays could make more passes. The defense was able to shut down for the most part Oral Robert’s star player Robert Jarvis holding him to 4-15 shooting.

The Jays now prepare to hit the road for two games, Tuesday against Arkansas-Little Rock at Alltel Arena and then in Lincoln against Nebraska next Saturday night. These will be two tough games and it will be interesting to see how the Jays handle their first road tests.

Around the Rim-11/22/08

November 22, 2008

A few things before the Jays game today against Oral Roberts:

  • With all of these early season tournaments going around, you sort of get an understanding on how they are all setup.  For example, the Las Vegas Invitational that the Jays backed out of last year is organized by a guy that lives in West Virginia.  I wonder if he was the same person that promised the Jays would get to play in this tournament against the same type of competition last year (UNC, Louisville, BYU) this season, but then threw the Jays in the Las Vegas Classic instead and let his home state West Virginia and his buddy buddy Bob Huggins take their spot instead against the likes of Iowa, Kentucky and K-State?  The video says it all.
  • I guess it is who you know and not necessarily what you know as Andy Katz revealed this week that the organizer of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament that Southern Illinois participated in this year is none other than Rick Giles, who is SIU Coach Chris Lowery’s agent.  Too bad they couldn’t win a game..
  • Speaking of those tournaments, you wonder who at Wichita St. has the inside track to all the different tournaments full of high level competition.  Wichita plays in the Old Spice Classic this coming week that is stacked and in 2010 will play in the Maui Invitational with the likes of UConn, Kentucky, Virginia, Washington, Michigan St. and Oklahoma.  Who do people at Creighton need to know to get into these types of competition?
  • That is a nice segway into competition.  The sports people at the Norfolk Daily News must not have much to talk about.  They were already earlier this week talking about the Nebraska/Creighton game a week from today.   I guess they are ignorant to the fact that both teams still have a couple games to play over the next week before they concentrate on this.  I guess if there is not football to talk about, this is the only thing they can come up with.  I’m sure this game will be hyped up enough by the local media but NEXT WEEK.
  • Jays potential opponent St. Louis really has a thing for low scoring games.  Last year, they only scored 20 points against George Washington in a conference game and this year they opened up their new arena with a whole 48 points in a 48-33 win against Missouri-St. Louis who Kentucky destroyed in Exhibition play 113-53.   If the Jays end up playing the Billikins in Vegas in December, look for Majerus to try to have a grind it out game or the Jays will blow them out of the arena.  You take you choice on what you would like to see.

Well, time to get going with the day and head to the Jays vs. the Golden Eagles this afternoon.  Go Jays.