Bluejay Men’s Basketball – Season Review, Part 2

Post Season Review:  Creighton Bluejay Basketball
The Lumberjack
2013-14 Season:  Achievements and Statistics 
The 2nd installment of our postseason review looks at the team trending and the numbers.  

The Greg McDermott Era at Creighton has gotten off to a lightning fast start, with no indication that Coach intends to take his foot off the gas.  In his short 4 year tenure the Jays have continued on with the traditional Creighton style of play – shooters, a sprinkling of Bigs, and uptempo basketball.  

Coach Mac’s squads have won an eye-popping 74% of their games!  Needless to say, when winning overwhelmingly, and add in a kid who has developed into an All-American player, that team expectations are high.  Plus the fact that Coach Mac’s teams have already matched the annual win totals of the best of the previous era…talk tends to turn towards the topics of the best team in CU History and of Creighton’s new Big East era.  Success has a way of blurring reality. Winning has a way of minimizing problem issues and painting the canvas with broad brushstrokes. Winning at such a high rate can be deceiving.  While as happy and pleased as most Jays fans with Coach’s work, Bluenotes has elected to review the facts to see if they support such talk.  

That Coach McDermott is one helluva coach and has shown flexibility and adaptability is a given.  He has taken the players left from the previous regime, added new MVC level recruits, and an undiscovered Diamond-in-the-Rough (in his son Doug), and has coached them to 1 Las Vegas Invitational Tourney Championship, 1 MVC Regular Season Championship, 2 MVC Tourney Championships, and 3 consecutive NCAA Tournament Second Round wins.  Great work.  But therein lies the rub.  A great body of work, but teamwise – this is normal stuff for Creighton.  

Where is the PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE, the most important puzzle piece that completes the masterwork?  
Is that missing piece wins?
Maintaining the annual 20 W’s winning record.  
Most wins in a single season. 
Highest seasonal winning percentage.
Breaking the Mills Era longest winning streak.

Is the missing piece attaining seasonal milestones?
                 Win a early season tournament.  

Win the conference regular season. 
Win the conference tournament.  

Is it in Postseason successes

Make the NCAA Tournament field.  
Win the weekend-go to the SS.  
Win the weekend-go to the EE. 
Go to the FF.  
Win a National Championship.  
Apparent Criteria for Greatness
 Match the highest single season winning percentage record.
 Break the longest win streak record.
 Winning all or combination of seasonal milestones: Early season Tourney/ Big East Champion/ BE Tourney Champion. Win 20+ games. NCAA Tournament bid.
 Crossing the 30 wins threshold for most wins in a season.
 Advance to the SS/EE in the NCAA Tournament.
No team has come close in approaching the win percentages of the undefeated teams of 1917/18 and 1918/19, or the 1942-43 National Champion squad  (16-1, 94.12%). No team has threatened the record 38 game win streak either.  So scratch those as attainable goals.  Coach Mac and his staff have already matched the most win season totals of the Altman Era, to take the coaching lead in the so-called modern era.
  It seems that the sole reachable wins-related highwater mark is breaking the 30 win barrier.
Coach Mac and the Bluejays have won championships.  Non-exempt tourney and conference championships as detailed above.:  
  In 2011-12, the Jays won the MVC Tourney.  Record: 29-6
  In 2012-13 they won the LV Invitational, the MVC Regular Season, and MVC Tourney.  Record: 28-8
  This season, 2013-14, only 2 intermediate milestones were reached: sustaining the 20 win plateau and making the NCAA field. (BE-2nd, BET-2nd).  Record: 27-8  
Coach and the Jays have had some good post season successes in each of his 4 years.   Creighton has made the NCAA field for 3 straight years, and has won a 2nd Round game each year. No wonder expectations have skyrocketed amongst the faithful.
This was to have been the NCAA breakthrough year for the senior led, experienced Jays team.  The Bluejays earned a best ever NCAA (3) seed, and good pairings in the West Regional.  A very promising bracket for our guys.  Many picked Jays as an EE or FF team. and myself had the team winning the National Championship (no surprise there). 
  Jays win one/lose one and bow out in the NCAA 3rd Round.  Disappointing 4-4 finish for a very good year. 

Short of breaking out the NCAA or the per game team stats, it is evident that the 2013-14 Jays were very good.  
A very promising team from many aspects and definitely one of the better CU teams fielded in the modern era.  However, this years Jays squad did not perform well enough to cross the threshold as better than it’s 2002-03 Korver-led (29-5) sister team.  Nor did this team meet/exceed the apparent greatness criteria.
As a team the 2013-14 Jays continued the trend of sustained superior performance.  Several team records fell and several players broke individual and team records.  Doug McDermott set a bucketful of records – both Creighton and NCAA records.  Doug developed over his career into the greatest player in Creighton Hoops history.  This is all well and good for the program, for the fans, and for the public perception of the basketball program.  Alas, basketball is however, a team sport.
Was this Creighton team the Best Ever?  No.  But take heart.  The 2013-14 Bluejays were another in a long string of outstanding Creighton Men’s basketball teams.  Another very good season – one to build on moving forward.