Repost: Jays Nonconference Slate – "Big Games"

Big nonconference Road Games 
(Repost on 18 Nov 2015)
Basketball Rules for a Jump Ball
Photo: Getty Images

While it can be said that every game is a big game…playing a ranked opponent has not generally been a luxury Creighton was afforded. Now with the assent into Big 6 Basketball, playing ranked opponents is “normal”, and expected.

Creighton’s 2 big non-conference games look promising… 1 expect that the team will probably go 1-1 in these games, but should the Jays gel and improve rapidly over the course of the 2 months, they could win them both.

Parrish’s Early Top 25 & 1 –  13. INDIANA 

  • Notable players definitely gone: Max Hoetzel, Stanford Robinson, Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Emmitt Holt (since August 2015)
  • Others expected to leave: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon, Troy Williams, Robert Johnson, Nick Zeisloft
  • Others expected to join the roster: Thomas Bryant, Juwan Morgan, Ogugua Anunoby
Why the Hoosiers are ranked here: What was Indiana missing this season? A competent big man. What is Thomas Bryant? A competent big man. So the Hoosiers should have no issues making the NCAA Tournament again — especially with Yogi Ferrell returning.

gtmo – With the player losses from last season, coupled with the unexpected losses of Fwd Mosquera-Perea, Fwd Devin Davis, and Emmitt Holt, Indiana has a lot of holes to fill. I am surprised the pundits have them ranked, as it must be based on “potential”, as they have nothing in the paint. Expecting Thomas Bryant to be an “instant force” is wishful thinking, as he will have the standard Frosh learning curve.

The best possible course is for the Jays to meet them early and overwhelm their frontcourt guys, with containing either Blackmon or Ferrell. Fortunately Creighton will be their 3rd game, 1st real challenge and the timing is great as they will be looking ahead to Wake Forest and the rest of the Maui Invitational a couple of days later. Although the IU coaches will be preaching to not look past the Jays – that CU is a dangerous team, the facts are:

1) CU is only a recent accession to a major league.
2) The only “true” player we had (DMD) has matriculated to pro ball
3) Our record last year as last in the BE / 14-19 overall says CU is not a good team
4) It is a UI home game – 19 November 2015

The above points will only help the IU players underestimate the Jays coming into Bloomington.
IU doesn’t/can’t play defense. If they fall behind they will attempt to score their way back. I look for a 2nd half shootout. 1st team to 80…or 90, wins.  IMO Creighton pulls the “upset”.

Update-18 Nov 2015:  UI is currently ranked 14th in the AP and 15th in the Coaches Polls.  The Bluejays are at #14 Indiana tomorrow – 19 Nov 2015.  Teams appear evenly matched (Warren Nolan), neither team is very good defensively, but CU is bigger in the post, a bit longer, and a bit better on D.  UI, while winning, has a high TO rate (24.3%), and a tendency to get “sped up”.  Coach Crean will not want to run with the Jays, but slow the pace and control the game via athleticism.  Jays have played better early competition, are not intimidated by large crowds, and have more depth than UI.  Everyone has UI winning…except gtmo.  Keys: Discipline (stay in the gameplan), confidence, and poise.  Jays keep the pace and tempo high, control the paint, shoot better, play defense in good spots, and win 92-77 over Indiana.  

Note:  For those outside of the US, First Row Sports has it…



  • Notable players definitely gone: TaShawn Thomas, Frank Booker
  • Others expected to leave: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins, Jordan Woodard, Ryan Spangler, Khadeem Lattin, Dinjiyl Walker
  • Others expected to join the roster: Akolda Manyang, Christian James, Rashard Odomes

Why the Sooners are ranked here: Buddy Hield’s decision to return for his senior season means he could be a First Team All-American. It also means Kansas and Iowa State will have a third legitimate challenger for the Big 12 crown.  

gtmo – Oklahoma has a daunting schedule. While the Sooners will have time to gel a bit, and assuming they don’t lose any games (@Memphis, Wisconsin, Villanova-neutral site) prior to facing the Jays, they still have some weaknesses which will be exposed in the non-conference. Of their bigs Spangler is a good, experienced PF, with a good skillset. However, the rest of their bigs are inexperienced role players. OU is obviously a guard-led team and will probably run a 4 guard out offense with Spangler or Lattin under. They will go as far and their iron men guard quartet takes them.

The problem for OU is that they are not a deep team. The Sooner roster is thin after their starting 5 and Lattin. The reserve cadre is a grossly inexperienced group. If their starters get in foul trouble, OU is in trouble. If they have an off night with their outside shooting, do they have the capability to play from behind. God forbid they incur any injuries along the way. Lloyd Noble is a nice arena, but it will be practically empty during the height of football season, maybe 4-5K diehards. Unfortunately for the Jays this Oklahoma team will probably have a couple of Ls in their record by the time CU comes calling in Norman on 19 December. After last years’ loss OU won’t be overlooking Creighton. However, if they have racked up 2-3 losses along the way the team confidence and chemistry could be suspect – One can only hope. The Sooners then travel to the Diamond Head Classic, Sheriff Ctr-Honolulu on the 22nd of December, initially playing Wash St., with 2 possible other good contests in that field.

The IU and OU big games reasonably bookend the non-conference slate for the Jays and will be excellent milestone markers as to the progress that CU has made over the Nov. & Dec. time period.