Gametime Primer: Jays vs. Drake

creighton Vs. bulldog34

Saturday, January 24th , 1PM
Qwest Center Omaha

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or
Sirius Satellite Radio Ch. 122
TV: KMTV (Channel 5 on Cox in Omaha

Creighton Game Notes | Drake Game Notes

Audio to Listen To
Motivating the Bluejays (BS 590)
Bluejay coach Dana Altman (1620 the Zone)

Other Previews
Midseason Slump Slows Drake (OWH)
Phelps Ponders Lineup Changes (Des Moines Register)

The Jays have 3 games in a row at home, the first being against Drake.  Here are the storylines with Drake :

  • Drake has lost their last 3 games.  The last two have been by 21 and 22 points
  • Jonathan “Bucky” Cox (11) and Josh Young (16) lead the Bulldogs in scoring.   Though Cox plays more in the post, they both love the 3-point shot.
  • Drake is on their 3rd coach in 3 years, with Mark Phelps at the helm.
  • Drake is 2-3 in true road games this year, with road victories at Iowa State and Southern Illinois.
  • Creighton has historically won pretty consistently against Drake over the years, however have lost the last 3 including the two regular season and conference tourney meetings with Drake last season.
  • Entourage great Jeremy Piven is a noted alumni of Drake

First things first, if you are going to the game on Saturday, I suggest you leave for the game early.  Not only is the basketball game going on Saturday, but the big Car Show is going on at the Qwest Center as well.   So between the parking issues because of the new Baseball stadium, the sewer project that has closed down lanes of traffic and the car show at the Qwest Center and an expected packed Qwest Center, it is advised that if you want to pump up the Jays before the game and get things off on a good note from a fan perspective, SHOW UP EARLY.

Coming into this game, both teams have a lot of motivation.  For Drake it is the fact that they have lost 3 in a row and in the last two have just been blown out,–Northern Iowa destroyed them on their own home floor in front of ESPN cameras and then lost to last place Missouri St.  After the UNI loss, Phelps changed his starting lineup to put guard Josh Parker in the lineup.  He has been a bit of a dangerous player this season with the two Joshes (Young and Parker) combining in scoring big during their wins.

Creighton has motivation of their own for the fact that Drake beat them 3 times last season and most of the same players for the Jays are on the team again this year and won’t want that to happen.  After the big loss to Wichita St. last weekend, the Jays came back and shot lights out against Evansville to get a big win.  Coming back home for 3 games should be motivation to cleanup and keep trying to catch Northern Iowa.

For a team like Drake that rose up out of nowhere last season and fans had been satisfied with their ho-hum status,  Drake fans have become restless already like they should already be successful year after year.   I’m sorry, but 3 coaches in 3 years is not a successful program and it is not like the fans have been packing the Knapp Center this season in support of this year’s team.   However a large bus of student fans are coming down for sure and who is not to say that there are more Drake fans coming to town than realized.

The Jays should be pumped to play at home.  The play of the Kenny Lawson has improved (and is farther along at this point than Anthony Tolliver or Brody Deren) and Justin Carter is starting to look comfortable out there.  He is fighting for rebounds and his High School football experience appears to be helping him:

There is no Pierce Hibma this year (though he will be in press row doing the radio) that had steller games against Drake.  So this time we look to another unexpected player–Josh Dotzler.  Josh had a career high 10 assists against Drake his freshman year and I expect him to have a big role in this game.  Though he has been solid this year, I haven’t seemed to notice his game as much since the emergence of Antoine Young the last 3-4 games.  I just have a gut feeling on this one.  So I won’t be right.  Haven’t been right much this season on predicting these games.   Average score since 1980 is 70-68 in favor of Creighton.

The Qwest Center should be a rocking place Saturday afternoon and it is one of the few Saturday games this season.  There are no excuses for leaving early, showing up late or just plain not going and cheering like crazy.  Heck, just head out early morning, show your Creighton tickets and get a discount to the Car Show and then head over to the game.   You can still go home and enjoy Saturday night and relax Sunday.

In the end, the Jays are moving one way, while Drake is going the other.  The shooting woes for Drake will continue.

Prediction:  Jays 82, Drake 70


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