Gametime Primer: Jays vs. Northern Colorado

creighton VS  unc

Saturday, December 13, 7PM
Qwest Center Omaha
Las Vegas Classic

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

Creighton Game Notes | Northern Colorado Game Notes

Audio to Listen To
Northern Colorado Coach Tad Boyle (BS 590)

Other Previews
Jays Learned Lessons from Losses (OWH)

Creighton starts play in the Las Vegas Classic this weekend as they host the first two games of the tournament along with other hosts Fresno St., St. Louis and Depaul over the next week.  Here is the full schedule of the games:

Home Sites
12/13–Creighton vs. Northern Colorado
12/15–Creighton vs. Southern
12/17–St. Louis vs. South Carolina Upstate
12/17–Depaul vs. Liberty
12/18–Fresno St.  vs. Northern Colorado
12/19–St. Louis vs. Liberty
12/19–Depaul vs. Southern
12/20–Fresno St. vs. South Carolina Upstate

In Las Vegas
12/22–Creighton vs. Fresno St. and St. Louis vs. Depaul,
12/22–Northern Colorado vs. Liberty and Southern vs. South Carolina Upstate
12/23–CU/Fresno winner vs. SLU/Depaul Winner and Loser vs. Loser
12/23–UNC/Liberty winner vs. Southern/USC Upstate winner and Loser vs. Loser

UNC–The Jays play UNC Saturday night!  No not that UNC, but instead Northern Colorado of the Big Sky conference to kick things off for the Las Vegas Classic.  Here is what you need to know about Northern Colorado:

  • The Bears are in their 3rd year of the Big Sky conference and in their 5th full season in Division I after playing a provisional schedule in 2003-04 season and as an independent.  They are expected to finish in the bottom half of the Big Sky.
  • The team is 2-4 but have been competitive in each of their losses only losing by 9-11 points in each of those games.  They have lost to Oregon, Air Force,  Colorado St. and San Diego St.
  • Northern Colorado spreads the points around as 5 players 4 players (Jefferson Mason announced his transfer on Friday) score 10 points or more per game.   Northern Colorado has also out rebounded opponents by an average of about 4 a game.
  • Noted alma mater of known drunk Nick Nolte.

When I was in college, I had some classmates that went to school here in Nebraska, but was from Greeley, Colorado and you would have thought UNC was the center of the Universe.  They would always say, “Well at UNC this and UNC that.” always comparing the school with the school where they were at.  They probably just should have gone back there.  I have been on the UNC campus a couple times and the city of Greeley is kind of nice, but I wouldn’t want to live there probably.

Anyway,  Northern Colorado is in a mess right now.  One of their starters, Jefferson Mason, left the University on Friday and leader in rebounding and assists, Robert Palacios is out for a couple more games after suffering an ankle injury against San Diego St. last week and is not expected to play.   He is also considered their best defender.

All this news should make this matchup a little bit more likely that the Jays will win going away, but they just need to be careful not to take this team seriously as the Bears have been pretty competitive this season.

The Jays have played their best basketball in the past couple of games eating up A-10 teams St. Joesph and previously undefeated Dayton.  I expect this to continue.  A few things I would like to see from this game:

  • A little bit more action inside–Kenny Lawson and Kenton Walker need to show they want the ball and get the ball inside to establish a more robust inside game. The last couple games, the Jays have been dependent on the outside shot and it has been falling, but at some point it won’t.  This game and the game Monday against Southern will be a good time to try and establish that a little more.  UNC has 7 players that are 6’6″ or taller so that could be a nice challenge.
  • Speaking of the number of taller players on Northern Colorado’s team, let’s see if the Jays can continue their resurgent rebounding.  Casey Harriman has just been outstanding in showing what it takes to rebound the basketball
  • Kaleb Korver and Booker Woodfox 3-point shooting–Shooting a combined 19-26, or 73% from three in the last 2 games, that is another exciting part of the game.
  • P’Allen Stinnett dunks–I would hope that we get at least one mammoth dunk in this game.  P is doing what he needs to do and has really shown his diverse skills the past couple of games, I just haven’t seen the smile on his face lately that he is enjoying playing.  He looks frustrated.    Maybe a couple dunks will get him out of that funk.
  • More minutes for Antoine Young–He was a great spark off the bench in the first half of Wednesday’s game against Dayton.  It was unfortunate he didn’t get back into the game in the second half until the last minute of the game.  The more minutes he can get now, the better prepared he will be for conference play.

If anything the game on Saturday is a nice excuse to go out and have some good entertainment.  The discussion since the big win on Wednesday on the Bluejay Cafe has been the crowd and why there are big groups of people who show up late and then the mass exodus to leave at around the last media timeout.  I guess in these hard economic times, any entertainment you can get should be cherished and whether you came to the game for free or pay some hefty money to be season ticket holders, I do have a hard time seeing those types of things happen.  I myself have been a season ticket holder for several years now and I don’t know of  a game that I have left early, though a few I got to the game just as the starting lineups were going.  My wife and my two young kids usually go to 80% of the games with me.  This is the entertainment my kids love and though they stay up past their bedtime on these nights, it is one of the most fun things to do as a family.  I know several people that have lost their jobs over the past few months, so anything to get away from the game of life a little bit is something that I think people should enjoy more. Yes, I could leave early to beat traffic. I know many senior citizens that head home so they can go to bed.  Well, why?  Is it really going to make a difference?

After the game it is back to reality.  These young people play hard on the court and deserve respect to be there on time and leave when it is over.  Would you leave early from a concert?   Do you skip out on church before it is over?  Do you show up late for a job interview and then say, “Hey I have to leave early, your time is not valuable”?  I guess I don’t understand why taking in a basketball game is so different that you come and go as you please.  Heck, I hate to use Nebraska fan as an example, but somehow 80,000 fans are in their seats for the tunnel walk in the freezing cold at a football game and most stay to the end.  It is too bad Creighton games can’t be that way.

But it is just my opinion.   Nobody probably reads this stuff anyway.

Jays run away with this one.

Prediction:  Jays 85, Northern Colorado 59

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