If it’s August it means that it’s time for another round of git’s ridiculous preseason predictions. Well then, here we go, again.
The mainstream prognosticators have the Jays in a rebuild mode. They are aware we have many returnees, but harp on the loss of our point guard and the loss of Justin Patton in the pivot. Such is life in the big city and what else is new. As is their MO our Jays get little credit for our returning personnel and recruits. The media has chronically underrated Creighton and our personnel. The pundits also forget we are now signing top notched talents.
A few such persons do note with the eligibility of transferee Kaleb Joseph along with the maturation of Davion Mintz, that our late season woes at the PG spot should be fixed. Some remember that Marcus and Khyri are returning. A few local pragmatists also note that 1 or 2 of our many talented SG’s may get spot duty at the PG as well. The wing positions are our primary strength and will provide the bulk of our offensive production, as well as being a strength defensively. Our wing frosh (Alexander and Ballock) are athletic, have college ready bodies, have high basketball IQs, are cool customers, and are expected to contribute…and play through mistakes. Both are excellent shooters and scorers.
Both our locals and the national talking heads have discounted our returning bigs (Toby and Martin) and evidently do not think very much of our new and transfer bigs (Jacob and Manny). With the Pivot and PF spots by committee, I think we can expect 10pts/10rbd and a few blocked shots at the pivot and 12-15pts/8 rbd at the PF spots. Both Jacob and Manny are good positional rebounders and Manny is a NY playground player with much paint savvy and experience. I believe Manny will outplay his press clippings and history. Martin is in his 3rd season, knows the system, and showed increased assertiveness this summer. Toby is a seasoned 5th year senior who can score and defend. We will be respectable up front. With only 5 bigs at our disposal (includes Ronnie-3rd yr) all our guys will be in the rotation and will produce enough position-wise for the Jays to be have a respectable presence up front.
In the early pre-season bracketology predictions Jerry Palm has Creighton sneaking into the dance as one of the last teams in (12-seed). As such the Jays would have a tough road to the SS or beyond. In his scenario the BE gets 5 teams in and that would speak to the Jays with a middlin’ finish in the conference and an 7 to 10 loss conference season. My bud, Joe Lunardi has the Jays a 9-seed (6th team in- in the BE order) in his 01 June bracket, again not making the SS. Not so my faithful Bluejay minions, not so. I do not see another 10-8 or 9-9 finish for Creighton this season. In fact I think the Jays will finish 2nd or 3rd in the conference this year and a possible 4-6 seed.
The nonconference slate is weighted in our favor, with no overtly challenging home tilts and 4 away games of significance with ranked opponents. A good tough home opener with Yale and another tough game, the 1st road test, at ranked Northwestern on the 15th of November. Of the ranked teams Northwestern is the only one with 3 significant players returning.
A great field in KCMO at the HOF Classic (20th-21st) with a rebuilding but ranked UCLA, Then either rebuilding Baylor or rebuilding Wisconsin (both ranked in some polls). I see a Creighton vs Baylor final.
UCLA had 3 frosh go pro and lost nearly all of their offense. Welsh & Holiday return. I want Wisconsin, but they lost way too much (Hayes, Showalter, Koenig, and Brown), and Happ is being asked to lead, score, and retool his shot. Wiscy is taking an Aussie/NZ trip to build chemistry and gain early experience. Baylor lost Motley and grad transfer (out) Al Freeman, have Sudanese Aussie Lual-Acuil (LOO-ahl ah-CHU-ill, 5th yr Juco) and Belgian Manu Lecomte (shooting PG) returning.
Creighton has a history of playing very well in this event (former Guardian’s Classic-2 titles/trophies) and in Kansas City in general. The Jays should win the HOF Classic and will join the major polls as a new inclusion the week of 27 November.
The Jays suffer their only non-conf loss at Gonzaga but remain ranked through December 2017.
Things could go south in a hurry based on the start…Yale, @Northwestern, and the HOF Classic… A slim possibility the early season could be reminiscent of 2008-09, but I don’t think so. Creighton generally starts fast and plays well early season. Take care of the home court, win the games we should win, play well in the non-conference exempt tourney, and roll on. Most have thus far underestimated our returnees and team. I expect such opinion(s) to continue. Win the HOF Classic and “suddenly” Creighton will arrive on the national scene again.
2017-18 Men’s Basketball Schedule
11/10/17 – HOF Classic Yale
11/12/17 –HOF Classic Alcorn State
11/25/17– SIU Edwardsville
12/05/17 – North Dakota
12/09/17 – Nebraska
12/15/17 – Md – East Shore
12/18/17 – UT Arlington
12/20/17 – USC-Upstate
Neutral 2-0 College Basketball HOF Classic (KC, MO)
11/20/17 UCLA (2-1)
11/21/17 Baylor (3-1)/Wisconsin (2-1)
11/15/17 – Gavit Games@Northwestern (2-3)
12/01/17 – @Gonzaga (6-2) loss
Non-Conference – 11-1 overall
[Red= ranked team
Parenthesis (0-0)=Jays all time record vs tm]
Big East – 13-5, 3rd Overall – 24-6 Big East Tourney – 3-0 27-6 NCAA – 2-1 29-7
Jays start fast…Win the HOF Classic, in typical Jays form. Lose once in the non-conference season, at Gonzaga. Team goes 13-5 in the BEast, Good for 3rd Place in the regular season.
Could we do better? Yes, I initially went with 2nd place, but the Big East will be tough once again. Jays will need a break or 2 to win the conference. Jays will need great seeding and matchups to go past the SS in the dance as well. Could it happen? Yes it could, but such serendipity is not probable.
Gonna have to wait for 2018-19 for a 30 win season.
Regular Season 24-6
Jays win the BET to go 27-6 on the season.
Jays win 2 in the NCAAs. Go 29-7 on the season.
Jays tie their best (Win Totals – Season- 29) in CU History.
(Undefeated: 1917, 1918. One Loss: 1942, are best overall win percentages)
Frosh Ball, Leaf, Anigbogu are gone, Welsh-Holiday return. (Norlander picks 3rd on faith, in new frosh) “Steve Alford and UCLA had the country’s biggest win turnaround last season — going from 15 wins in 2015-16 to 31 — and Ball was a major factor.” IMHO they now seem primed to reteat back closer to 15 wins again.
Novachap wants to see last years’ predictions vs actual results. No shame there. I normally don’t append the new predictions with the old – there is no Bluejay prediction competition or contest. My predictions are a labor of love. Most around these parts discount my predictions anyway as being overtly optimistic and unrealistic.
Jays were 18-1 when Mo went down with his knee. I am confident the Jays would have exceeded my modest predictions. As it was, the hardly predictable sweep of the Jays by Marquette, was the major difference between nearly on target and off by a few games (7-5 rather than 5-7) in the late going. Most would say losing 2 point games to X and Prov at home was the difference, but I contend that splits with both were expected. Not so with Marquette. Either way the season was not over with wins in any of those 4 games, the Jays would have still been on track to meet expectations. Given the way the season ended, 25-10 although not in the prediction ballpark…I’ll accept it.