Git’s Predictably Preposterous Pontificatory Preseason Prognostications – 2014/15 Edition

   The Verdict is in: 

No Rebuilding Year.  It’s Business as Usual for the Jays.


 
 
It’s August already and the helmet heads are gearing up for the USA’s favorite pasttime, NCAA and NFL football.  The media machine has been grinding all summer long and the football faithful are salivating with anticipation.  It is still summer but there is an air of expectation of the impending football season.  To a lesser extent the college futbol (soccer) contingent is also gearing up for action on the pitches.
 
And then there’s ol’ gtmo.  It’s always basketball season here, regardless of what the calendar says. Toiling away in the heat of the CZ…pouring over reams of hoops data, historic overviews, trending reports, team histories, and conference archives.  Ever sharp-eyed, ever alert, for gleaning of an undiscovered pearl of data from the stacks of information and reports.  Man, it’s tough being thorough and diligent, but somebody’s gotta do it.  The air of expectation here on Bluenotes is for college hoops.
For many the 2014-15 Creighton basketball season is perceived as a “rebuilding” year.  For the Bluejay faithful this is so due to the graduation of last year’s 4 senior players.  The big 4 included Doug McDermott – the 3 time consensus All-American (AA), sharpshooter Ethan Wragge, Grant Gibbs, and Jahenns Manigat.  These players started the vast majority of games, played the overwhelming majority of minutes, scored approx 60-70% of the points, and generally were the team last season.  It is not everyday that Creighton loses a 3 time AA player.  With such a transition only 1 starter remains and only 2 other returning players have any starting experience (7 starts each) as a Bluejay.  It is easy to see why folks, both loyalists and outside media, quickly assumed the need for the Jays to rebuild.  Many of the national pundits viewed Creighton as a 1-man team, and now that DMD is gone, so too has departed any respect given the Bluejays last season.  However, Gloom and Doom don’t reside here.  If that’s what you seek, please head over to the Scout, Rivals, CBS, ESPN, or other top tier site.  They all have big sales on G&D going on Now.
A lot of the nation’s college basketball teams lost 3-4 players (several lost 5 top players)…G’twn, Prov, Florida, Mich, Mich St. KU, Cal, Oregon, UK, Louisville, on and on.  Many of the pre-season Top 25 picks have lost several significant players, in fact 18 of the 25 teams in the CBS pre-season college hoops poll lost 3 or more significant players.  However, most if not all, have received plenty of love for either their few returnees or their incoming frosh.  Creighton gets very little credit for either, whether from the mainstream media or our own outlets. 

I submit to you that this upcoming season will be a wide open, veritable free-for-all, a 7th Fleet bar-room brawl, if you will.  Ranked teams will fall like flies in a Raid Factory as they all have significant flaws, eagerly replaced by the hoardes of the “also receiving votes” cast of characters.  Of course, it goes without saying that it will take 4-6 early losses to pry the perceived elite from the top 10 of most polls…after all the major polls are popularity contests, are they not.

Many of the good folks over at BluejayBanter.com and at WhiteandBlueReview.com continue to take the conservative approach. Many of the faithful are scared, thinking the program is about to fall off a cliff this season.  Many in Bluejay Nation are predicting a 15-19 win season.  Others less optimistic are predicting less than 15 wins.  Only a mere handful of folks in Jaysdom are predicting anything approaching a 20+ win season.  Some of the more moderate amongst the faithful see this season as a singular dip…a 1 year drop, as we have 2 great transfer players and a reasonable hope for more Top 150 players arriving in 2015.  Needless to say that we here at Bluenotes are not members of the conservative camp and definitely not of the “dip” ilk.  The Jays have a history of exceeding most folks limited expectations.  This coming season is no different – our Jays will be fine this year.  Bluenotes expects Creighton to continue challenging the collegiate status quo… to thrive in a year of basketball upheaval…to continue winning – convincingly.

A closer examination however, reveals that media assumptions and wishes ain’t necessarily so.  It appears upon a closer look that Creighton has more in the cupboard than most imagined.  The Jays may in fact, be more talented and athletic – across the board, than last year – again led by 5 seniors in 2014-15.  Make no mistake about it, this season will not be a cakewalk.  However, the non-conference portion of the season will present a few opportunities.  We hope to have 2-4 ranked opponents: Oklahoma, Nebraska, potentially Tulsa, and perhaps Cincinnati.  All 4 have flaws, weaknesses, and will be overly reliant on incoming freshman – therefore they are beatable.  We see the Jays winning 3 of these higher profile games, with perhaps a hiccup at Tulsa.  With their non-conference slate of games the Jays could run the table undefeated, but that is not highly likely.  In the previous post – “Case for Creighton”, Bluenotes outlined our reasons for optimism for the upcoming season.  No rebuilding for Creighton, to the chagrín of the media talking heads…it’s business as usual on the Hilltop.

 

2014-15 Creighton Men’s Basketball Schedule
Bluenotes Predictions

Non-Conference  11-2
2 losses during the non-conference portion of season.
L – @Tulsa
L – St. Marys

Conference Regular Season  14-4
No cakewalk for Villanova
CU Split w G’twn, Providence, Xavier, SH
In fact a 14-4 mark may win the conference this season.
Big East RS – CU 2nd Place
No Home losses in Conference.
RS Record 25-6

Conference Tourney  3-0
2015 NCAA Tourney  2-1

Off PPG 72.8 (v 6%) / Def PPG 64.5 (^ 5%)
Off Efficiency 55% (v 5%) / Tm Shooting 47.3% (v 5%)
3Pt % 39.1% (v 5%)
Offensive Rbds and 2nd Chance Pts (^ 5%)
*Jays were the top team nationally in many offensive/shooting categories
**Jays could go undefeated in the non-conference portion of season. 

2014-15 Preseason Projections -Points n Offensive Ratings
Recruit Rating
RealGM PPG
RealGM Ortg
Last Season
gtmo Cnsrvative
gtmo Optimal
R Harrell Fr
4
5.9
97.8
0
5.9
5.9
L Gilmore Fr
3+
4.6
96.8
0
4.6
4.6
T Hegner Rfr
3
4.3
95.3
0
4.3
6.5
Z Hanson So
3
6.7
100.4
2.8/5.1mn
6.0
10.0
IZ So
3
6.7
100.4
3.2/10.9mn
5.0
7.5
J Milliken RJr
4 Juco
10.0
105.3
0
10.0
11.0
G Groselle Jr
3
8.1
103.5
1.5/3.3mn
3.0
6.0
R Kreklow Sr
3
9.1
104.9
5.5/23mn
5.0
7.5
W Artino Sr
2+
8.3
102.0
5.5/13.1mn
6.0
10.0
A Dingman Sr
3
9.1
104.9
3.2/14.3mn
5.0
7.5
A Chatman Sr
3
9.1
104.9
8.1/30mn
10.0
12.0
D Brooks Sr
3
9.1
104.9
6.5/16.6mn
8.0
8.5
91
72.8
97
Real GM figures used as baseline PPG and for Offensive ratings. 
Predictions based upon historic data, current team assessment, and figures in the gtmo Conservative column.

Key Players:  Artino, Chatman, Hanson, and Milliken.  
Wildcard Players:  Groselle, Zierden.

If Hanson or Zierden have a Sophomore breakout season would put the numbers back to last seasons averages.
If Artino or Hanson have breakout season (both 66%+ FG percentage) would put numbers back to last seasons averages.
Hegner has potential to have outstanding Frosh campaign with a RS year under his belt.
Chatman, Milliken, plus either/both  Artino and Hanson have potential for dbl figures.
I expect all 3 frosh to exceed RGM season averages projections.
 
Go Big Blue.
 
 
 
 

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