Southern Illinois White-Out

December 30, 2008

Today, the Creighton Athletic office started advertising that January 14th’s game against Southern Illinois will be a White-Out for the regional television audience on Fox Sports Net.  The White-Out has been done in the past, but this year fans are being offered free White-Out t-shirts:

WHITE OUT FOR SOUTHERN ILLINOIS ON WEDNESDAY, JAN. 14

CU Athletics is requesting all fans wear a white shirt on Wednesday, Jan. 14 when the Bluejays host the Southern Illinois Salukis to create a “white-out” effect for the regional television audience. The game, which will tip-off at 7:05 p.m., and be played on First National Bank Court at Qwest Center Omaha, will be televised live regionally as the Missouri Valley Conference “Game of the Week” on Fox Sports Net Midwest. Fans can pick up free “White Out” T-shirts starting on Thursday, Jan. 1 by showing their game ticket at the Horseshoe Casino’s Total Rewards Center. While there, fans can also register for a chance to win a trip to St. Louis for the 2009 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Championship to be held Thursday-Sunday, March 5-8 at Scottrade Center. The prize includes game tickets, hotel accommodations
and round-trip airfare.

So now people do not have an excuse to not wear white to the White-Out….of course unless you leave your shirt at home when you go to the game :)  You can get your shirt as early as New Year’s Day!

Don’t be confused either…this is for the January 14th game against SIU, not the next home game against Northern Iowa on the 6th.

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Gametime Primer:Jays vs. Indiana St.

December 30, 2008

creightonindiana-st

Wednesday, December 31, 1PM
Hulman Center

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
TV: None, Video Streaming Available

Creighton Game Notes | Indiana St. Game Notes

Audio to Listen To
Coach Dana Altman (BS 590)
Coach Kevin McKenna (BS 590)

Other Previews
McKenna’s Sycamores Hope to Grow (OWH)
Richard Emerges in ISU Victory (Trib Star)
League Favorite Jays on tap for ISU Men (Trib Star)

The Jays got a nice win to kick off MVC play against Wichita St., but begin a tough stretch of 3 out of the next 4 games on the road. This could establish the Jays as the team to beat if they are successful in this swing.    First off is the scary game against Indiana St.  Here is what we need to know about Indiana St.

  • The season started out horribly for the Sycamores with a couple of unexpected things.  Their expected returning scorer Marico Stinson abruptly decided to leave and their point guard Harry Marshall was academically ineligible to start the season.  However with Marshall now back, the Sycamores are 2-2.
  • Since coming back, Marshall is leading the team in scoring at 16 pts. a game and playing 37 minutes a game.
  • Jay Tunnel, Rashad Reed and Aaron Carter (of Backstreet Boys fame) also average double figures in scoring.
  • Creighton has lost the last 2 games at Indiana St.
  • The teams have played at least one game decided by 8 points or less in each of the last 15 years.
  • Indiana State’s 3-point percentage is better so far this season (36.3%) than it has ever been and are making more 3 point shots per game.
  • The Sycamores average 61 points a game while giving up 71.

Playing in Terre Haute on New Year’s Eve.  Boy what a way to spend the holiday.  I can see why there is no TV for this one.  I wouldn’t want to spend my New Year’s Eve with this game.  Creighton has a bad history with Terre Haute.  3 of the last 5 have been lost there.  After ISU getting that double-overtime win on the road at Northern Iowa, this team will be fired up.  Plus with the coaching friends Dana Altman and Kevin McKenna, you know they would both like to come out of there with a win.

This has the makings of a dangerous game, but one that could be very winnable.  The difference in this team since the start of the season is the return of Harry Marshall.  He seems to be leading this team like many expected at the beginning of the season.  The key to this one will be to shut him down, maybe get him into foul trouble, and just take him out of the game.  If the Jays can do that, then they will win easily.

Though Indiana St. is 3-9, this could be a good win for the Jays.  Indiana St.’s strength of schedule is 123 while Creighton’s is 236.  I guess we’ll have to see.  Any road win in conference play is a good win.  They just can’t get caught in the trap of looking forward to Illinois St.

So while I am listening to this game on the radio and getting primed for New Year’s Eve and celebrating my wedding anniversary, I think it will be a great day for Creighton basketball.   I look forward to see how Justin Carter performs in his first conference road trip.  Can Booker Woodfox keep up his amazing shooting percentage?  Who will be the step-up player in this game?  Josh Dotzler has been quite efficient this season and is holding the glue together for this team more than anyone give him credit for.  This season is a season of redemption for the Jays and it starts with Indiana St.  There are too many players on this team from last season to let them lose three in a row in Terre Haute.  That hasn’t happened since 1992-94.   And winning 13 of the last 16 games in the series, this looks like a solid road win.

Prediction:  Jays 71, Indiana St. 60


Tom Whitehead Strikes Again

December 29, 2008

As many know, Tom Whitehead was going to be playing at Creighton this season until he found out he did not “meet the expectations” which meant his scholarship wasn’t being renewed and skipped town.  You can sort of follow the post I did earlier this fall on the former recruits in the “where they are now.”  Basically he threw the Creighton coaching staff under the bus.

Well anyway, Mr. Whitehead did end up going to Dixie State to play out his basketball days and this past week “The Spectrum–Southern Utah’s #1 source for news and information” did an article on Tom Whitehead and his struggles since leaving Creighton.  Once again he kind of blamed the Creighton coaching staff for his situation:

“From the day that I got there, I never felt any kind of connection with the coaching staff,” said Whitehead, who used up his redshirt year that season. “I don’t think the head coach said more than five words to me the entire time I was there. If he’s not talking to you, he’s not thinking about you.”

So he did not get to live out his dream of playing Division I basketball.   Wah!!  The article continues to say that Whitehead chose Creighton because of past success and received numerous calls from Division I programs, and made official visits to Creighton, Colorado State, Texas-San Antonio, Miami, Fla. and La. Tech.  Now obviously something drew him to Creighton and Coach Altman must have seen something that said he might be able to contribute and at the same time wonder why he didn’t take Colorado St. which was closer to home or just what the deal was.   Either way, it is a two-way street.  If the coach isn’t talking to you, then obviously you should talk to the coach.  When he came here originally, he had some high hopes:

“I know I’m going to get a good education, and the winning attitude really attracted me,” Whitehead said. “I’m a real competitive player, and I love to win. Coach (Dana) Altman has done nothing but win since he’s been there, and I don’t see that coming to an end any time soon. I want to play in the NCAA tournament, and they do that almost every year.”

“That facility is unbelievable and the support is top-notch,” he said. “I’ve never had a chance to play in front of that kind of a crowd, and I’m looking forward to it. Everything about Creighton just made sense to me that it was the place for me.”

Whitehead said Creighton’s coaches told him that he will probably play as a small forward, the same position that Korver played while starring four seasons for the Bluejays.

“I consider myself a slasher,” Whitehead said. “I like to get to the basket, but I can also shoot the 3. The thing I try to do more than anything is to be a complete player. Kyle Korver was that kind of player.”

Ok, the guy is 24 years old. At this point in his life after doing a mission and experiencing all of these “life experiences” that he would have a little more moxy to handle the situations he was in or at least seek assistance in figuring out what he needs to do to fix things.  It just is all a screwy timeline of events:

  • Looked at Weber St. to play ball, but  it was determined that a college level biotechnology class he took as a senior at Dixie didn’t count toward the required science requirement, making him a non-qualifier.
  • Took a 2-year mission trip and then enrolled at Yavapai College (Ariz.)
  • Whitehead earned his associate’s degree in just one year, having taken 16 hours his first semester, 22 his second and eight more during the summer session. He graduated with honors but wasn’t eligible to accept a scholarship from a four-year school because of an NCAA rule that requires non-qualifiers to be full-time students for three semesters at a junior college.
  • Whitehead appealed to the NCAA, saying that to attend another semester at a junior college would not further his educational development. The NCAA granted him an exemption, but the ruling came one day before school started at Louisiana Tech.
    “At first, I wanted to go there, but I changed my mind,” Whitehead said. “I just did not feel comfortable.”  Then heads to Creighton
  • After a semester where “nobody talked” to him at Creighton he finds out he didn’t meet some expectations of the Creighton coaching staff and Mr. Whitehead feels convinced he is not wanted and jumps ship.
  • Lands at Dixie State College to finish things out.

Now somewhere in there, there had to be someone to help guide him or give him some direction.  I get the feeling he either wasn’t listening or just didn’t have a clue.

So now after shaking off an early season ankle injury, apparently Tom is a sparkplug off the bench.    Well I guess good luck to him.  It is just too bad that he has such a bad taste in his mouth about Creighton, though he can’t just blame the Creighton staff.  It goes both ways.


Back in the Saddle

December 29, 2008

Coach Marshall, still lost

Coach Marshall, still lost

Ah, the Holidays.  They are great.  The bad part is that sometimes family takes priority of other things.  Being technology free for about 4-5 days really has a shock to the system as well.  I was sort of bummed I didn’t do a preview for the Jays-Shockers game tonight.  To me this is more of a rivalry at times than it is with Southern Illinois.  I guess maybe it is a regional thing.  Maybe it was Jamar Howard that kept a bad taste in my mouth.  I don’t know.

Today, there are not the prolific players to hate, but more like the coach.  In the couple of seasons Mr. Marshall has been around, he hasn’t come off to me as a real pleasant guy.  He cuts off radio interviews, has little fits and just can’t seem to have any better success than when he was at Winthrop.   He just makes me laugh.   Now to the actual game.  It was really too bad this game was played during the holidays.  He didn’t get nearly enough guff from the fans, except maybe the “Sign Guy” who made his triumphant return tonight reminding Coach Marshall that he earned over $68000 per win last season as coach of the Shockers.

Oh yeah and I guess on his post game show Marshall called out Coach Altman on running a lob alley-oop play up by 16 points with 50 seconds left after the last timeout. He said ‘that would come back to haunt them’. Ok.  Whatever you say.  I’m not exactly sure what he is talking about because I never saw that play.  Oh well.  Now on to the game.

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Box Score

Tonight the Jays beat the Shockers again in Omaha.  Wichita St. hasn’t won in Omaha since 1992.  Another sign that points that this is really a rivalry is that tonights attendance was 17,954, the largest crowd to watch a game of college basketball in the state of Nebraska ever.   The game started out slow as the team and the crowd were still getting over the holiday cheer and the comatose Qwest Center looked like it could come alive at any moment, but the Shockers stayed close and until a little run to end the half looked like this might be a snoozer, but shouldn’t be because it was so close.  It was like the crowd sort of knew the Jays would win and wasn’t too concerned, but it still bothered me that this “largest” crowd ever had no energy at times.

Justin Carter really had the breakout game he needed tonight getting 11 points and 7 rebounds.  Those numbers may not say that much, but it seemed like he was always getting the key rebounds and really came out of the gates with a lot of energy.  He also had a massive block in the later part of the game and hit a sealing three-pointer that sent the crowd to the gates.

Kenton Walker also got some good minutes tonight as he played tough to the rim and had some nice moves.  The combination of Kenton and Chad Millard played well tonight.  The stats may not show it, but really were a force in there to make up for the ineffectiveness of Kenny Lawson.

Once the Jays got the ball in Booker Woodfox’s hands, magic seems to happen and it seemed like his baskets were the things that really got the crowd going tonight.  Other than the drunk guy up in the Perch that was yelling non-sense the whole game, Booker Woodfox provided the rest of the entertainment from the crowd.

Now the Jays hit the road for two games which will really test this team.  Indiana St. had a thrilling double-overtime win over Northern Iowa on the road and has really sparked up play since Harry Marshall has returned.  And it will be interesting to see if the Illinois St. team is really all it is cracked up to be.


Booker Woodfox-MVP and Mr. Clutch

December 23, 2008
Creighton DePaul Basketball

Kenny Lawson, All Tournament Team

The Jays won the Las Vegas Classic tonight beating Depaul 83-75.  Non-conference opponents and media people keep talking that P’Allen Stinnett is the player to stop on this Creighton team.  Apparently they haven’t seen too many of the games and have not looked at too many of the box scores.  For the 6th straight game, Booker has led the team in scoring and has just been unbelievable shooting the ball from 3.  He is now shot 40-73 (54.8%) from three and in the last 7 games 31-50 (62%) He has hit shots when the opponents are on a run, he is making shots with hands in his face .

Scoring 50 points in two games in Vegas against Fresno St. and Depaul earned Woodfox the tournament MVP.  Kenny Lawson also earned himself an all-tournament team award.   Overall the Jays have been playing great team ball.

I will have to give Depaul credit.  They fought until the end.  To start the game, Creighton was on fire and stealing balls and got out to a huge lead.  It almost seemed like they were going to run them off the court.  The Jays  then hit a drought and Depaul started chipping away at the lead.  However, Depaul never led in the game and each team had their own spurts throughout the rest of the game.   Depaul also has a couple of special players in Dar Tucker and Mac Koshwal.  Tucker scored 32 points and Koshwal grabbed 22 rebounds in the game and just dominated Creighton on the boards.  In some respects, the Jays were lucky to win the game.  But here is the stat that won the game.  The Jays were 18-19 from the free throw line where Depaul was 13-24.  Also the Jays only turned the ball over 8 times, only twice in the second half.

The most frustrating part of this game was that the webcast was horrible.  It isn’t that the video wasn’t bad, but the score/time was frozen and eventually disappeared and the only audio was of the public address announcer.  The night before for the Fresno St. game, they had the score, time and the BS 590 radio feed going on.  What the hell happened that it didn’t happen the same way tonight.  So it was a challenge to figure out what the score was without being 20 seconds ahead listening to the actual radio broadcast.  What a cluster on that one.  I expressed my disappointment at B2TV.  They are like drug dealers–they treat you right to start off, but then stab you in the back when you come back.

However, a win is a win and this was a good win for the Jays.  They are now 10-2 and headed to conference play opening at home against Wichita St. on Sunday.   The roles are getting pretty well defined for this team and It will be interesting to see how they start off in conference play this season after starting last season’s conference play 0-2.  It will be important for them to get on track right away.


Gametime Primer: Jays vs. Depaul

December 23, 2008

creighton VS  depaul

Tuesday, December 23, 9PM
Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas Classic

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
TV: None, Video Streaming Available

Creighton Game Notes | Depaul Game Notes

Catch up from Last Night
Creighton beats Bulldog Men (Fresno Bee)
Depaul is up next for the Bluejays (OWH)
Former Palo star shines at Las Vegas Classic (Las Vegas Sun)

I watched the game and wrapped too many Christmas presents last night to do too much of a recap and even much of a preview of today’s game, but the newspapers pretty much covered it.

The Jays had, I think, a great 40 minutes of basketball where team play was the key.  Solid contributions for all, the press wore Fresno St. down, the refs were foul happy and the crowd at the Orleans Arena looked sparse.

Anyway, it is right back to the court to face the Depaul Blue Demons.  Here is what you need to know about Depaul:

  • This is the 3rd meeting in 4 years for these two teams as Depaul opened the season at the Qwest Center last season and Creighton played at Depaul 2 seasons before that.
  • Depaul is on a 3-game winning streak, all from the Las Vegas Classic games
  • Mac Koshwal averages a double-double per game and Dar Tucker is the leading scorer
  • Depaul leads the overall series 15-6, but the teams split the home-home series from a couple years ago.
  • If you like McDonalds then, you will be happy to know that former CEO Jack Greenberg is an alumni from Depaul.

Tonight is Creighton’s last chance to get a win against a Large Conference school, a school from the power that is the “Big East.”  The last two meetings over the past 3 seasons have been memorable ones.  3 years ago, Nate Funk had his season ended in this game injuring his shoulder.  Last season in the return game to Omaha, P’Allen Stinnett broke out with 23 points in the 2nd half in the opening game of the season to bring the Jays back from 17 down to win the game.  I’m sure this meeting will be memorable with something significant.

Depaul won last night against St. Louis 65-61.  If St. Louis is scoring 61 points on Depaul, there is no reason the Jays can’t score that and more.  The 2nd half of last nights game is where Creighton forced turnovers, dominated on the boards and great ball movement.  Depaul has a great athletic team.

Cavel Witter was just amazing last night and finally had that great game he has been looking for at the PG position this season dishing out 9 assists and getting 5 steals.   Booker Woodfox has lead the Jays in scoring the last 5 games and looks so confident out there.  Everyone is contributing.  If they play like they did last night, I don’t think the Jays will get beat in this one.

The other contributing factor to tonight’s game is that Depaul basically has 5 guys that played over 31 minutes last night.  They could be a tired bunch and Creighton’s depth will be too much.

Prediction:  Jays 85, Depaul 67


Gametime Primer: Jays vs. Fresno St.

December 22, 2008

creighton VS  

Monday, December 22, 9:30PM
Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas Classic

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
TV: None, Video Streaming Available

Creighton Game Notes | Fresno St.  Game Notes

Audio to Listen To
Dana Altman Interview (BS 590)
Nothing but Nylon with Nick Bahe (BS 590)
P’Allen Stinnett interview on returning to Vegas (BS 590)

Other Previews
Bulldogs Show Ugly Side in Blowout Win (Fresno Bee)
Headliners Missing in Vegas Classic (OWH)
Valley Facing Bear Market (OWH)

We have heard about this Las Vegas Classic tournament for months and there really isn’t anything left to say other than let’s play the games and get the heck out.  First off is the Fresno St. Bulldogs.  Creighton is pretty familiar with this team.  It almost seems to be a yearly thing.   Here is what you need to know about the Bulldogs:

  • A freshman, Paul George,  leads the team in all the main categories.  3 other players average double-figures in points.
  • Creighton leads the all-time series against Fresno St. 5-1, however Fresno won the last meeting in 2006.
  • In this all-time series, 5 of the games have been played in the past 7 seasons.
  • All of Fresno’s wins have come against nobody’s as their losses include UNLV, Oregon St.,  and St. Mary’s
  • Notable alumni include Robert Beltran, better known as Commander Chakotay of the USS Voyager (Star Trek)

To be honest, I think the idea of this trip is not for the competition, but a chance for P’Allen Stinnett to play in front of family and friends.  Last season, the Jays pulled out of the Vegas tournament to play against BYU, Louisville and North Carolina (which is the Las Vegas Invitational)  and then got bumped down to the Las Vegas Classic.   Surprise, surprise, the Jays get Fresno St. in the first game.

These two teams and the fan bases should be pretty familiar with each other at this point.  Thanks to the Bracketbusters, Creighton has had some exposure to the West Coast and may have been a factor in getting Kenny Lawson and Kenton walker to Creighton.  Then you add Justin Carter to the mix, you have the West Coast Connection.  So if you add them all to the mix, it is sort of a big homecoming game for several of the Jays players.  It used to be a “State of Iowa” type of thing as far as players go, but now it is the “State of California” with a little “Vegas” mixed in.

Though the Jays struggled somewhat in the first couple games in this “tournament” against Northern Colorado and Southern, I think the Jays have been playing really well lately.   This team is coming together and the shooting is hot and a lot of players have a lot to play for in this trip.  Not playing against anyone for a week, this team should be full of fire and excitement and I expect to see this team focused.

Fresno St. is a young team and have had problems handling Creighton in the past.  Look for this game to get out of hand and hopefully a win to face Depaul in the finals.

Prediction:  Creighton 77, Fresno St. 60