Around the Rim–7/15/09

July 15, 2009

Been pretty crazy lately with summer activities so I haven’t been able to do as much in-depth stuff as I would have liked to this summer.  Anyway today’s ATR is more of a link dump more than anything as a lot of these things have already been talked about or know about, but interesting nonetheless.

  • George Mason coach Jim Larranaga twittered on Sunday that MVC commish Doug Elgin and coach Dana Altman called to see if they could move the December 12th matchup to ’10-’11 but coach Larranaga said NO.   He has since removed those two entries from his Twitter, but makes you wonder what was going on.  I’m wondering if Creighton was trying to schedule a home game that weekend since there was no UNO hockey in town that weekend.
  • A big congratulations goes out to the Creighton Sports Information Office as they received 4 publication awards for the Volleyball and Men’s Basketball media guides from this past season.   Rob Anderson and the staff there do a great job for the program.  This is a great honor.    Here were the rest of the winners.   The Creighton department was also recognized by the conference this past season as the top SID office in the conference.  Great job.
  • The NCAA removed the “last 12 games” criteria from the NCAA Selection Committee’s toolbox starting this season.  I guess there was a point of confusion between the different members of the selection committee on the weight of the last 12 games.  Some people thought it was more important than others and the application of that tool was not consistent.  So while the last 12 games for most teams deal with Conference play, it will be interesting now to see if the non-conference schedules carry more weight now.
  • A Saluki fan that started a new site a few months ago came out with his opinion of the rankings of the basketball facilities in the MVC.  The Qwest Center tied with Wichita’s Koch Arena as the best in the league.  I’m not sure you can really put the two on the same line.  The blogger talks about the facility as well as the environment, though he only has the Saluki home court 6th in the list.  If you want to put environment over the actual facility, I think it would have been higher than Drake and Northern Iowa.    We will have to see where Evansville ranks in a couple of seasons with their new Arena.
  • An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this week about AAU teams and how players are being developed without fundamentals and focused more on what coaches want athleticly to be recruited.  College Basketball is starting to look more like the NBA and individuals rather than teams.  I wonder if AAU basketball is the crux in all of that.  At the same time the NCAA is really scrutinizing recruiting services.  I always wonder how Scout, Rivals and the like get away with how they have access to the players and influences without getting in trouble.
  • I will have to give props to the Omaha World Herald in the past few weeks as they have been heavily covering not only Creighton Basketball, but Creighton Athletics in general.  They have talked about the Ryan Center about how it could give more access to the Men’s team due to open practices over there  and some Soccer news.    With basketball, they have done features on P’Allen Stinnett, Cavel Witter, and others.However, because of the newly re-designed site, most of those articles are falling off the online site within a few days when new articles are put up there.  That is too bad.  There are some great features there and as more and more newspapers try to add more online features to draw more interest, it appears the OWH would rather people not read the newspaper on the internet and instead purchase the newspaper and cut out news clippings.  I guess that is a model to go, but could really give the Jays and people outside of Omaha more exposure.  I also figured since they were cutting off western Nebraska since they don’t deliver papers out there anymore better online information and access so those people could still keep in contact with Omaha.   But to each their own.
  • A website called “The Hoops Report” has started previewing their top 65 basketball teams for the upcoming season and have Creighton in at #61.  Interesting enough, I will be excited to see how well Kenton Walker does in the starting lineup…..obviously they didn’t get the memo on him.
  • Here’s an interesting way to introduce the non-conference schedule for basketball.  Marquette (who the Jays may play this season in the Old Spice Classic) started this week announcing 1 game each day and giving a little capsule of the team they are playing with the full schedule to be released by the end of July.
  • Finally, since it is a big recruiting period, here are some recent articles on players the Jays seem to be interested in:  Elliott Eliason, Ricky Kreklow, Jose Bonilla and Josh Gasser.

St. Joseph Series Coming back

June 9, 2009

This past Sunday, the Bluejay Banter radio show had Joe Lunardi on.   Joe is ESPN’s Bracketologist, but also does broadcasts for St. Joseph athletics and is really tied into the program.  On the show it was mentioned by Mr. Lunardi that the Creighton/St. Joseph’s series will be starting up again in the 2010-11 season.  The games from the past two seasons have been fun and can benefit both teams come Selection Sunday.

Joe went on to say:

It is off this coming season 09-10, but has been renewed for 2 more years beginning the following season of ’10-11 and ’11-12, so I’ll be looking forward to a great steak dinner in Omaha in about a year and a half.

So it sounds like the series will start again in Omaha in 2010-11 and in Philly in 2011-12 at the remodeled Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena.

Creighton won both games from the past two game series during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.  I think Creighton enjoys playing the A-10 teams as St. Joes and Dayton have been on the schedule the past few seasons.

Former Jay Nick Bahe was on the show as well and had a lot of insight on the new guys coming in and the offseason workout program.  It still appears he is really involved in the program.


Around the Rim–6/4/09

June 4, 2009

A few different things going on the past few days with the Jays and around the Valley.

  • Scheduling–Earlier this week, an Iowa St. message board, CycloneFanatic.com, mentioned that a local radio show in Des Moines was talking that the Jays have been working at securing a date at the Wells Fargo Center for the upcoming season assuming that it is for a neutral game against Iowa.   Now initially, I am skeptical that it would be for this season for these reasons:

    1)As it stands right now, Creighton goes on the road @Dayton, @George Mason, @New Mexico the Old Spice Classic in Orlando and 9 conference road games.  That leaves Creighton with the potential of having 15 home games this season–9 conference, Nebraska, Arkansas-Little Rock and from what I have been hearing a home Bracketbuster game.  That leaves Creighton with potentially 3 games that haven’t been assumed, plus an exhibition.  That is a total of 16 home games.  Last season there were 17 home games + the exhibition for 18 home games.  Though ticket prices were not raised this year (probably because of less home games), it is hard for me to imagine that the athletic department would take one of the 3 remaining  games on the schedule to be a neutral site game.  I’m not sure how many fans are going to potentially lose 3 home games from last year.

    2)You know that there are a couple of games to sort of get the team acclamated to each other, especially with 5 new players hitting the court.  So you schedule the Iowa neutral game and that leaves the SWAC to fill the remaining 2 games.  Not an absolutely stellar home schedule and people complained last year with an average home schedule.  Hate to see what happens now unless the tough road schedule sort of fills that gap.

    3)I could see this more as a preparation of some type of 3-game series with the first game starting in Omaha, 2nd year at Des Moines and then the 3rd year at the opponent home.  But then the Iowa Events Center is always looking for things to be at the Wells Fargo Center.

    I guess we’ll have to see on this one.  Seeing schedules take shape is always interesting in the offseason.  Rivals has part 2 of their series of behind the scenes of scheduling.   Then you have UMass. They are having some trouble filling their schedule too.

  • Former Recruits–Former Creighton recruit D’Angalo Jackson is on the move again.  He will be playing for Mississippi Valley St. this season.  This will be his 4th team in 4 seasons.  He spent the first half of his freshman year nursing an injury on the Jays squad and transferred at semester to Wisconsin-Green Bay to be closer to home.  He played in the second half of the next season, but still did not see the court like he wanted, so he surfaced at Arkansas-Fort Smith last season.  With two years of eligibiliy left, it is a strong possibility we will actually see D’Angalo set foot on the Qwest Center court as MVS almost seems like a regular staple on the Creighton schedule.
  • Arkansas revisited–Coach Altman’s name came up again in Arkansas this week as former player Patrick Beverly came out with a story how players on the basketball team were having papers written for them by other people.  As the Arkansas writers said, “John Pelphrey had absolutely nothing to do with Beverley cheating. Nothing. That was Beverley’s decision, but it makes more sense every day why Dana Altman bolted back to Creighton.”   So under Pelphrey’s watch in 2 seasons, 15 scholarship players have left the program through different means.   Can you imagine what Coach Altman would have to be dealing with right now?
  • Honors–Creighton AD Bruce Rasmussen had a great honor bestowed to him this week as the 2nd part of the Ryan Athletic Center will be named after Mr. Rasmussen.  The facility will be a great addition to an already nice looking complex with Morrison Soccer Stadium and the women’s Sokol Arena.
  • Omaha World Herald–The OWH has ramped up some nice Jays coverage over the past few weeks with the breaking Cavel Witter returning stories, 1 & 2 , the near misses with all of Creighton Athletics this year, the workouts of the team going on this summer, and the exclusive on Bruce Rasmussen’s honor.  Keep up the great work.
  • BluejayCafe–The original BluejayCafe disappeared this week and has now become part of the Rival’s scouting network.   A lot of nice interviews out there, but unless you want to drop some coin, you won’t be able to take part in them.
  • Bluejay Banter–Finally, if you haven’t checked it out yet, there is a new radio show on Omaha’s 1620 the Zone AM and 1620thezone.com on Sunday mornings that talks Creighton Bluejay Athletics.  The past few weeks they have had several great interviews.  This week, be sure to check out the show as they will have interviews with former Jay Nick Bahe and take some time to interview ESPN’s Bracketologist Joe Lunardi, which may also provide some insight to a future continuation of the St. Joeseph basketball matchups.   Be sure to check them out at 10AM on Sunday.  If you happen to miss the show, you can always visit Bluejaybanter.com to get the podcasts, but also the guys have been gracious enough to allow access to the podcasts from this site.  There is a Bluejay Banter section on the right side of this page to check out the latest podcasts.

As always, if there is anything you ever want to contribute or provide information, feel free to e-mail me at wildjaysATgmailDOTcom.


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.


Around the Valley–11/11/08

November 11, 2008

As we get pumped for the season opening game for the Jays, lets see what our Valley cohorts are up to this week:

  • Southern Illinois, 2KSports Classic–We’ll start with the dogs as they are survived against California in the opening round of the 2KSports Classic in their Carbondale regional, 66-52.  No, this is not California from the Pac-10, but D2 California from Pennsylvania.  They were in the D2 Elite Eight last year, so they are no slouch but the team of newcomers look like they struggled in their first regular season game.  Duke punched their ticket to New York tonight to wait for the winner of SIU and UMass in tomorrow’s regional final.  I wonder which team Matty P will be going for.  What I find interesting is that ESPN took the time to broadcast all of the other 2KSports regionals at Michigan, Duke and UCLA, but nothing at SIU.  If you go to the trouble of going to 3 of the 4, why not the 4th one where probably the most competitve regional final will be in Carbondale.  If Southern doesn’t win tomorrow night and make it to New York, they will not have a game until November 26th @ Western Kentucky.  That is a long time to wait to play again.
  • Bradley is still smarting a little bit from losing their last Exhibition game, but have to get things turned around to play Illinois-Chicago on Friday night.  If you are lucky enough to live in Illinois, you can see this game on Lakeshore Public TV.  Then they turn right around and play Florida on Sunday on ESPNU.  This weekend will be a tough one and if they get an upset in Florida, then this team might be on the map and could be a huge confidence builder (that will also help support my prediction of them finishing 3rd in the Valley)
  • Besides Creighton’s game against New Mexico on Sunday, you would think the other best matchup in the Valley to start the season this week will be Drake playing Butler on Saturday.  With the history of Butler and the season Drake had last season, I am sort of surprised there wasn’t a bigger interest in broadcasting the game on a more national level.  However, if you live in Iowa, Mediacom has the game, so look for the game on there.  Butler lost all 5 starters from last season and picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the Horizon League.
  • Saturday night also gets Evansville started as they open up against Austin Peay.  Austin Peay is in the top half of the Ohio Valley this year so it will be a good test to see if Evansville’s experienced starting 5 can win this one.
  • OK, I’ve mentioned over and over how bad Illinois St. scheduled their non-conference this year.  However, this is the only nice thing I will say about it all year-They are giving themselves a bit of a challenge to start the year on the road against Wright St. on Saturday.  Wright St. has been picked by some to win the Horizon League this year, so this will be a good first test for a team who will probably not get a real challenge until they open conference play.
  • Missouri St. makes a trip to Auburn on Friday.  This will be the first chance for the conference to get a “BCS” win, but it is unlikely.
  • Northern Iowa opens up against Denver from the Sun Belt conference Saturday afternoon.  Denver finished 11-17 last season and is expected to finish in the middle of the pack of the 13-team league.  What an ugly game last night in an exhibition game against Wayne St. where UNI won 44-27 The recap says the UNI put on a defensive clamping on Wayne St. by holding them to 27% shooting and 27 turnovers, but the Panthers didn’t do much better shooting only 29% from the field.  but were 7-28 from 3 while Wayne was 2-19 from 3.  That had to be a frustrating game.  Nobody was in double figures.
  • Wichita St. coach Gregg “Double G” Marshall said that the scrimmage a couple weeks ago against Kansas St. really opened up their eyes.  So much for information about these scrimmages getting out.  They start up their challenging gouging of season ticket holder home schedule on Sunday afternoon against bottom feeder Florida A& M from the MEAC.  They follow it up against powerhouses UMKC and Centenary before hitting the Old Spice Classic.
  • Indiana St. won’t even start the season until a week from tonight @ Northern Illinois as they will still be playing an exhibition game this Friday.   They say Indiana St. won’t make progress until they are a fabric of Terre Haute life, but I think coach McKenna is doing his part for the basketball team being the fabric of Terra Haute with luncheons and other community things.

So everyone is off and going in the Valley.   We’ll see what next week brings.  Basketball is back.  Woo Hoo!!!


Scrimmages and Exhibitions

November 4, 2008

Sounds like everyone had a good time in Ames from what I and read from the Des Moines Register and read from the GoCyclones site.   even though there was not supposed to be anything written about it since the NCAA wants everything so secretive. Shh…Wichita St. and Kansas St. had a scrimmage this past weekend also, but don’t tell anyone.  Illinois St. is so secretive, we don’t know who they scrimmaged with.

But for the stuff we can talk about, the other Valley teams started their Exhibition season for the public last weekend:

Drake beat Truman State 77-61 with the Box Score

Evansville took 2 overtimes to barely beat Div II U of Southern Indiana 71-67 with the Box Score

Then last night a few other Valley teams got started:

Bradley defeated Lewis College 74-61 with Box Score

Missouri St tops Quincy Univeristy 79-44 with Box Score

SIU rolls over Missouri Southern 82-59 with Box Score

Indiana St. will start their Exhibition season on Saturday against Albion college in Michigan while Northern Iowa starts their Exhibition season tonight against University of Dubuque.

These exhibitions are fun to watch, but they probably won’t look like a normal game since the coaches are usually tinkering with lineups and looking for things that we as fans probably don’t notice.  So really, I don’t think how these games turn our really tells us what these teams are going to be like, but it at least lets some people take a look to see what is coming down the line and an introduction to the potential of teams.

However, the exhibition season could become a thing of the past.  The coaches talk about how they enjoy the closed scrimmages so much more and get so much out of it.  Just on the Jays opponents this year, there are several who opted for a closed scrimmage instead of 2 exhibition games:

  • New Mexico scrimmaged Arizona St.
  • Arkansas-Little Rock scrimmaged Tennessee tech (at a neutral site nonetheless)
  • St. Louis scrimmaged Memphis
  • Depaul scrimmaged at Iowa
  • Marquette scrimmaged Nebraska
  • Arkansas-Pine Bluff scrimmaged somebody.
  • St. Joseph isn’t playing any exhibition games

Unfortunately for the fans, if coaches continue to enjoy the closed scrimmages so much because of the level of competition lets them see things a little more, then it is more likely that there will be no exhibition games down the line.  On the other hand, if the NCAA is so concerned about putting an end to early Midnight Madness, then they should be just as concerned with these scrimmages as these are potential matchups that could be real during the season.  Why can’t these teams play an actual regular season game?   But really, if you want to have these “closed door scrimmages” allow them to be public, put people in the stands.  If you want to call them exhibition games then call them exhibition games.  I feel like the fan is getting taken farther and farther out of  basketball by the NCAA. Stop trying to take the fans out of College Basketballand just let teams play and let the fans enjoy it.  The fans need an exhibition season too.


Around the Rim–11/1/08

November 1, 2008

A lot of things going on lately.  Here are a few little snippets of things:

  • Today begins the College Basketball Exhibition season for most teams…..no wait that is scrimmages for some.  The Jays head to Ames today to scrimmage with Iowa St.  Wichita St. heads to Manhattan to scrimmage with Kansas St.  and Iowa is scrimmaging with Jays potential opponent Depaul.  Oh and what about North Carolina’s “secret” scrimmage.  Jeff Goodman from Fox Sports has a great listing of all the scrimmages happening this weekend.  What is sad about all of this is that all of these scrimmages are a “home-and-home” thing where most of them will be going to the opposite team’s site next year for a scrimmage.  And if you look at the matchups, these would make great regular season home-and-home games, so why won’t these teams schedule a real game where fans and media can come and have it count for something?    That is just crazy and you know you could pack the stands either way.
  • Jays opponent New Mexico is playing in the pricey Cancun tournament that also includes conference foe Drake.  $300 per person for all games of the tournament plus if you don’t stay at the resort where the tournament is being held, it is another $81 to enter the resort to get to the games.   Maybe the Las Vegas Classic is a good fit for the Jays fans and the economy where the full session tickets are not as pricey and fans have the opportunity to stay in Vegas for free.
  • An update on Anthony Tolliver and how things are going for him since the passing of his mother.  I haven’t always been a fan of the Spurs, but it is appreciated how they are handling the situation for him.  It sounds like he will be back with the Spurs this Tuesday.  Please keep Anthony and his family in your prayers.
  • CollegeHoopsNet has announced their preseason HIgh-Major Player of the Year and All-American Teams.  These are players from teams that are not from “BCS” type of schools, but are not considered “Mid-Major” either.  It is “High Major.”  Creighton’s P’Allen Stinnett is on the 3rd team along with Drake’s Josh Young and Creighton opponent Dayton’s Chris Wright. Interesting take.
  • Speaking of P’Allen, there is a great article on him in the Topeka Capital-Journal and probably other news papers since it is an AP article.  P’Allen talks about how he made a name for himself last year, but this year it’s time to take on a team role.  Very good read.
  • Kirk Wessler from the PJStar had some interesting notes from MVC Media Days.  The interesting parts were about possible expansion and non-conference scheduling.   The subject came up again and MVC Commish Doug Elgin pretty much said that expansion is not an option and if they did it would have to be an even number.  St. Louis always comes up as a school that would join the Valley because of the proximity to the rest of the league members makes more sense than being in the A-10 that is just all over the map.  In my mind Butler is another good team to consider since they play a lot of Valley teams each year and are in sort of the same geographic area.
  • The other part of the article had to do with non-conference scheduling.  In my review of the average RPI’s of the Valley’s non-conference schedule, it was noted how horrible Illinois St. scheduled their non-conference schedule.   A few years ago the Valley instituted an initiative to get member schools to work hard at scheduling good teams and to keep from playing an average RPI above 150 or suffer some type of penalty.  Though it hasn’t been enforced for a few years since things became a little better, it should almost be instituted just because of Illinois St.  Their non-conference RPI of the teams they ar facing are 215.  That hurts not only them, but the league as a whole.   Although they are ranked pretty high in the conference this coming season, I think their non-conference season is going to hurt them from being prepared and will make Osiris Eldridge become a one-man show.  We’ll have to see.
  • Just a reminder, tickets went on sale for the annual Nebraska-Creighton game on Thursday.  Get your tickets now if you want to go since the game is in Lincoln this year.
  • Finally, I mentioned earlier this summer that I was going to take on a role of a Big 12 correspondant for a great college basketball site called Rush the Court.  Originally I wanted to correspond for the Valley but another person was already signed up for the role.  However, due to some unknown circumstances, the opportunity to be a correspondant for the Valley became available again and I have agreed to do that as well.  So I will be doing updates on the league for the Rush the Court site for both the Big 12 and MVC as of right now.  So I’ll see if I can handle this great opportunity, but it also means watching a lot of basketball which should be fun.  Look for a Valley preview on their site upcoming this next week.