Gametime Primver: Jays @ Bradley

creighton @  braves

Saturday, January 10, 7PM
Carver Arena

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
TV: WTVP in Peoria (Feed available in Omaha on Cox Ch. 2)

Creighton Game Notes | Bradley Game Notes

Audio to Listen To
Nothing But Nylon with Nick Bahe (BS 590)
Bradley Coach Jim Les (BS 590)
Jim Les on MVC weekly Conference Call
Creighton Coach Dana Altman (BS 590)
Dana Altman on MVC Weekly Conference Call

Other Previews
BU to receive test of newfound status (Peoria Journal-Star)
BU Guard will miss season (Peoria Journal-Star)
Jays Seek Rebound on the Road (OWH)

The Jays start out on a next 3 out of 4 game road trip.  The first stop is in Peoria against the conference leader, the Bradley Braves.  Here is what you need to know:

  • Bradley has started the conference season 4-0 after a rough 6-5 non-conference start.
  • Bradley owns a 39-37 lead in the all-time series, but Creighton has won 14 of the last 17 meetings.
  • Theron Wilson has scored between 12 and 18 points in 13 straight games and also leads the team in rebounding.
  • In league-only play, Bradley leads the MVC in scoring defense, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, free throw percentage and blocked shots.
  • White supremacist and founder of the Creativity Movement, and currently in prison for soliciting an undercover FBI agent to kill a federal judge, Matthew F. Hale is a known alumni of Bradley

You hate to look at things as a must win with the 5th game of the conference season, but Saturday night feels like a must-win for the Jays as they begin a tough stretch that will sort of define how this season might continue to go for the Jays.  After this game, they play at home against rival Southern Illinois and then hit the road for two games against Wichita St. and Evansville.  It doesn’t get any easier.

Bradley has a lot to play for.  They can go 5-0 in the conference for the first time since they ran the table (16-0) in the 1985-86 season and this season sit on top with a 3 game lead over Creighton.  It is also Hall of Fame night at Carver Arena where they will be inducting 3 former Braves into their Hall of Fame.  A loss in this game could be a huge blow to an already bruised psyche being dominated by Illinois St. (who Bradley just beat on Tuesday) and the surprising no energy loss at home to Northern Iowa.

Then last year’s rout of the Jays at Carver (87-59) was a bit of a turning point for the Creighton last season and if I remember right, one of the worst conference losses in the Altman era. That loss really hurt last year’s team but finally recovered through the return game on Senior night that was amazing and the first round of the MVC tourney.

I have been horribly wrong about predicting the last two games, so at this point I don’t necessarily expect the Jays to win the game, although they should.  The team play and will to play hard has disappeared in the last two games and even though they are “showing they are fine in practice,” apparently it hasn’t transferred over to the games.

Earlier in the week I was just thinking that to turn heads a little bit, the Jays should run out on the court with a starting lineup of Dotzler, Young, Stinnett, Harriman and Millard with Woodfox with the offensive spark on the bench like he was last season in conference play.  I know that would never happen, but it was nice to hear from coach Altman that Antoine Young has earned himself a little more playing time at the expense of Josh Dotzler and Cavel Witter due to his practice and performance in the games of late.  Young provided a nice spark in his play in the first half on Tuesday and many wondered why he didn’t get in the 2nd half.  Coach admitted that Antoine has earned a shot at showing a little more.

I think we will see a little different rotation of players this game and there may be new guys that Dana will “trust” to get the Jays to the next level.  P’Allen Stinnett has been consistently improving his game since his little “suspension.”  I really like the way he is starting to be the vocal leader of this team and trying to get guys in the right spots.  It is the question of whether everyone else starts to jump on board with him.  Booker Woodfox got the team through the non-conference, now it is time for P’Allen to be the leader for conference play.  The foul trouble experienced in the last few games however is a little troubling.  He could be contributing and playing more minutes if he wasn’t getting into foul trouble.

Anyway, this game will be the first step to the next series of events for the Jays to work their way back up to the top.  Creighton is 13-1 when holding Bradley to 65 points or less.  Creighton has also won the last 18 meetings when it scores 70 points or more against the Braves. However, this may still be a work in progress. Until we see something different from this team, it is hard to predict they will win and that makes me sad.  A little reverse psychology doesn’t hurt.

Prediction:  Jays 66, Bradley 75

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