Stats & Info: Creighton Bluejays

Top stats to know for Sunday's games

March, 22, 2014
Mar 22
Sunday's NCAA Tournament slate features eight compelling Round of 32 games, and we've got you covered with a look at the key matchups in each contest.

Stanford is the third-most efficient team in the country on pick-and-roll, ball handler plays, averaging more than a point per play on those plays.

Kansas ranks 221st in points per play allowed while defending pick-and-roll, ball handler plays.

That could be a big factor with Joel Embiid not there to protect the rim on pick-and-roll plays.

Kentucky ranks second in offensive rebound percentage (42.1%) and scores 9.4 points per game on offensive rebound putbacks, fifth-most in the country.

Wichita State ranks fifth in the country in defensive rebound percentage (74.2%) and only allows 4.3 points per game on offensive rebound putbacks, 17th-fewest in the country.

Iowa State relies heavily on 3-point shooting. The Cyclones rank in the top 25 in 3-point attempts and 3-pointers made per game.

North Carolina is holding teams to 30 percent 3-point shooting in its last 14 games. The Tar Heels have held 13 of their last 14 opponents below 40 percent on 3-point shooting. They're only allowing 5.4 3-pointers per game in their last 14 games.

Mercer's opponents are attempting 23.1 3-pointers per game in its last 10 games. Mercer is 9-0 when its opponents attempt at least 24 3-pointers (12-1 when they attempt at least 23), including a win over Duke (37 attempts).

Tennessee hasn't had more than 24 3-point attempts all season. They average 17.1 3-point attempts per game.

UCLA ranks in the bottom 20 of the country in turnover percentage. The Bruins only turn it over on 14.9 percent of their possessions.

Stephen F. Austin forces 16.2 turnovers per game, eighth-most in the country. However, SFA is only forcing 11.6 turnovers per game in its last five games.

Creighton is 23-1 this season when shooting at least 35 percent on 3-pointers (4-6 when shooting less than 35 percent). Creighton is 15-1 when making at least 11 3-pointers (12-6 when making 10 or fewer).

Baylor's opponents are shooting 38.5 percent on 3-pointers in its last 10 games. Baylor has allowed higher than 40 percent 3-point shooting in five of its last 10 games and at least eight 3-pointers in six of its last 10 games.

Memphis ranks second in the country in transition offense with 21.2 points per game. The Tigers rank 21st in transition field goal percentage (59.3%).

Virginia excels in transition defense. The Cavaliers allow seven transition points per game, second-fewest in the country. Virginia also ranks in the top 25 in field goal percentage defense in transition.

Pace will be a factor, as well. Virginia has the third-slowest pace (60.7 possessions per game), while Memphis ranks 34th in pace (71.2 possessions per game).

Gonzaga is very efficient on offense, ranking in the top 10 in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.

Arizona ranks third in defensive efficiency, allowing 89.5 points per 100 possessions. The Wildcats are 15-0 this season when allowing fewer than 90 points per 100 possessions.

Gonzaga hasn't faced a single team all season that ranks in the top 30 in offensive efficiency.

BPI Talk: Projecting championship week

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
Championship Week can be unpredictable as teams try to improve their NCAA tournament résumés, whether it’s to vie for a No. 1 seed or just to get into the field.

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) measures how well each team performs based on game result, margin, pace of game, location, opponent strength and the absence of any key players.

Using BPI, we are able to project the chances for each team to win its major conference tournament. The probabilities take into account the matchups in each bracket based on each team’s BPI. The team with the best BPI isn’t necessarily always the favorite if that team has much tougher matchups than other teams in the tournament.

According to BPI, the Arizona Wildcats have the best chance of any team in one of the seven major conferences (American, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) to win its tournament. They have a 63 percent chance of winning the Pac-12 tournament.

Arizona has more than a six times better chance of winning the Pac-12 tournament than any other team. The UCLA Bruins have the second-best chance at 10 percent.

Pac-12 best chances: Arizona 63 percent, UCLA 10 percent, Oregon 10 percent, Arizona State 5 percent, Stanford 4 percent

The Florida Gators are the prohibitive favorites in the SEC tournament with a 57 percent chance to win it. The Kentucky Wildcats (25 percent) are the only other SEC team with better than a 7 percent chance. The No. 9 seed Missouri Tigers have a slightly better chance to win the SEC tournament than the No. 3 seed Georgia Bulldogs.

SEC best chances: Florida 57 percent, Kentucky 25 percent, Tennessee 7 percent, Arkansas 3 percent, Missouri 2 percent

American & Big East
The Louisville Cardinals (American) and Villanova Wildcats (Big East) are both close to 50 percent in terms of their chances of winning their respective conference tournaments.

The Memphis Tigers have an edge playing on their home court in the American Tournament, but they still have a significantly worse chance than Louisville and Cincinnati. Memphis does, however, have a greater probability of winning the tournament than higher-seeded teams Southern Methodist and Connecticut. With its home-court advantage, Memphis would be a favorite against any team in the tournament other than Louisville.

American best chances: Louisville 49 percent, Cincinnati 18 percent, Memphis 14 percent, SMU 12 percent, Connecticut 8 percent

No team other than Villanova or Creighton has better than a 6 percent chance to win the Big East tournament. There’s a 44 percent chance that Villanova and Creighton meet in the Big East championship game.

Big East best chances: Villanova 48 percent, Creighton 31 percent, Xavier 6 percent, St. John’s 6 percent, Providence 4 percent

Perhaps the most interesting conference tournament is the ACC, where the No. 3 seed Duke Blue Devils are the favorites at 27 percent. The No. 1 seed Virginia Cavaliers (25 percent) and No. 2 Syracuse Orange (23 percent) are close behind.

ACC best chances: Duke 27 percent, Virginia 25 percent, Syracuse 23 percent, Pittsburgh 12 percent, North Carolina 7 percent

Big Ten
Another interesting conference tournament is the Big Ten, where four teams have between a 17 percent and a 26 percent chance of winning the tournament. The No. 2 seed Wisconsin Badgers are the favorites at 26 percent, while the No. 1 seed Michigan Wolverines are only the third favorites.

Big Ten best chances: Wisconsin 26 percent, Ohio State 19 percent, Michigan 19 percent, Michigan State 17 percent, Iowa 11 percent

Big 12
The Kansas Jayhawks have a 37 percent chance to win the Big 12 tournament, but their path isn’t easy. They could face the teams with the fourth- and second-best chances of winning the tournament in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

The No. 8 seed Oklahoma State Cowboys, with a 10 percent chance of winning it, could face Kansas in the quarterfinals. The No. 4 seed Iowa State Cyclones, with an 18 percent chance, could face Kansas in the semifinals. Both teams have a 35 percent chance of beating Kansas, according to BPI.

Big 12 best chances: Kansas 37 percent, Iowa State 18 percent, Oklahoma 16 percent, Oklahoma State 10 percent, Baylor 6 percent

Villanova, Michigan St take big hits in BPI

February, 17, 2014
Feb 17

AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson
Head Coach Jay Wright and Villanova lost to Creighton Sunday, dropping them to No. 10 in BPI.

Villanova and Michigan State absorbed solid hits to their Basketball Power Index ratings after suffering emphatic losses Sunday.

Villanova was fifth in the BPI rankings before a 101-80 loss to Creighton, and now the Wildcats are 10th.

The Bluejays climbed from No. 14 in the BPI rankings to No. 11 after their second dominant victory this season over Villanova. Creighton scored a 99.6 on the BPI game score scale Sunday, the fourth-best of the season across all games. On Jan. 20, Creighton beat the Wildcats 96-68 in Philadelphia and earned a game score of 99.9, the best of the season.

Michigan State’s 60-51 loss to Nebraska in East Lansing, Mich., dropped the Spartans from sixth to 15th in the BPI rankings. Michigan State averaged 0.88 points per possession, its worst offensive efficiency in the last two seasons. The Spartans’ game score of 33 was a season low for the team.

Two dramatic victories last week kept Syracuse undefeated, but the most recent win – 56-55 over North Carolina State on Saturday at the Carrier Dome – resulted in the Orange falling from No. 2 to No. 3 in BPI.

Unlike many polls in which humans determine rankings with their ballots – and teams that win often retain their positions, regardless of how unimpressive a win might be – BPI evaluates each team’s performance in every game to produce its ratings.

Although Syracuse beat the Wolfpack, its performance was among its worst of the season. The one-point home victory over a team ranked 69th in BPI resulted in a game score of 78, the Orange’s worst against an ACC opponent and their fourth-worst of the season.

Florida, which was No. 3, took over the No. 2 spot. The Gators beat Kentucky 69-59 in Lexington, Ky., in a game with 59 possessions (the Gators average 65 possessions). The 10-point win in a relatively low-possession game helped produce a game score of 99.4 for Florida, its second-best of the season behind the 99.5 from a 67-41 win over Tennessee on Jan. 25.

Saturday’s loss dropped the Wildcats from No. 5 in BPI to No. 8 after their worst BPI game score (59) of the season (Kentucky rose to No. 7 after Villanova's loss Sunday).

Looking ahead
Using BPI ratings, we can assign a “Matchup Quality” factor for every game. This is a 0-to-100 rating that measures how good each team is as well as how close the two teams’ ratings are to each other. Based on BPI Matchup Quality, the following are among the most appealing matchups in the coming week (in chronological order):

BPI No. 1 Arizona at No. 39 Utah, 10 p.m. Wednesday (FS1)
Matchup Quality:
84 | Arizona 77 percent likely to win
Arizona has been BPI No. 1 since Jan. 12, retaining the top spot even after a loss (in double overtime, on the road) to Arizona State on Feb. 14. Utah spent much of the season with a BPI rank in the 40s and has a victory over BPI No. 12 UCLA in January among its achievements.

BPI No. 5 Duke at No. 33 North Carolina, 9 p.m. Thursday (ESPN)
Matchup Quality:
83 | Duke 58 percent likely to win
Other games have a slightly superior matchup quality, but the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels have been among the most powerful teams in the past month.

BPI No. 14 Wisconsin at No. 8 Iowa, 12 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2)
Matchup Quality:
87 | Iowa 68 percent likely to win
Iowa is the fifth-most consistent team in the BPI Top 10, whereas Wisconsin is the fourth-most inconsistent in the BPI Top 25. Wisconsin won the first matchup 75-71 in Madison, Wis., on Jan. 5

BPI No. 3 Syracuse at No. 5 Duke, 7 p.m. Saturday (ESPN)
Matchup Quality:
89 | Duke 55 percent likely to win
This is a rematch of Syracuse’s 91-89 overtime win over Duke on Feb. 1. The Blue Devils’ 89.5 game score from the game is the fourth-greatest for a losing team this season. BPI projects this as Syracuse’s only remaining regular-season game with the Orange having less than a 50 percent likelihood of winning.

Creighton picks up rare win with 3-pointers

January, 20, 2014
Jan 20
The Creighton Bluejays used an impressive 3-point shooting night to knock off the fourth-ranked Villanova Wildcats with a 28-point victory.

In doing so, Creighton made history, both from a team perspective and an individual angle, as Doug McDermott continued working his way up the Division I all-time scoring list.

Here are three main takeaways from Monday's game.

Top-Five Wins Rare for Creighton
Entering Monday night, Creighton was just 2-25 all-time against ranked teams ranked in the top five, and its last such win came in 1970 against fifth-ranked New Mexico State.

The win over Villanova (ranked fourth in the nation) matches the highest-ranked team the Bluejays have ever beaten. In 1963, Creighton also knocked off fourth-ranked Arizona State.

The 28-point victory is also notable, because it’s the third-biggest win for an unranked team over a top-five opponent over the last 20 seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Creighton also won Monday’s game on Villanova’s home floor. The last time Creighton won a true road game against a ranked team was in January 1978 against 13th-ranked Indiana State. That Indiana State team was led by Larry Bird.

Creighton Huge From Outside
Key in the Bluejays' win was 3-point shooting, as they hit 21 3-pointers in the win, setting both a school record and a Big East record. They also shot 60 percent from beyond the arc.

The previous Big East record was 20, shared by the 2005-06 West Virginia and 2010-11 Notre Dame teams. No other Big East team had ever hit more than 17 in a game.

Creighton’s 21 3-pointers are also the most made in a Division I game this season. Three other teams had hit 20 in a game.

McDermott Keeps Moving Up
McDermott finished with 23 points in Monday’s win, moving him up from 24th to 22nd on the all-time Division I scoring list, passing Navy’s David Robinson and New Orleans’ Bo McCalebb.

McDermott is averaging 24.8 PPG this season, and if he scores more than 20 points in his next outing (Saturday vs Georgetown), he’ll move all the way up to 19th on the all-time scoring list, passing, among others, former Northeastern player Reggie Lewis.

If McDermott continues at his current scoring pace, he’ll finish the regular season (11 more games) ninth on the Division I scoring list, right between Oscar Robertson and Danny Manning. He could continue to add to that total in the Big East Tournament or any other possible postseason tournament.

Numbers To Know: Wednesday recap

November, 29, 2012
Player of the Night – Mason Plumlee
Plumlee scored 21 points and tied a career-high with 17 rebounds as the Duke Blue Devils came back to defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes, 73-68. It’s his second 20-17 game of the season. Over the last 15 years, the only other major conference players with multiple 20-17 efforts before the end of November were Michael Beasley and Blake Griffin.

Over the past four seasons, the only other player with a 20-17 game against a top-five opponent was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist last season against Louisville. The last Duke player with a 20-17 game against a ranked opponent was Shelden Williams in 2004.

Scorer of the Night – Derrick Marks
Marks poured in a career-high 35 points, including 28 in the second half, as the Boise State Broncos upset the Creighton Bluejays, 83-70. During one stretch, he scored 18 straight points for the Broncos.

Creighton had won 42 straight home games in November, a streak that dated back to 1989. This was Boise State’s first road win over a ranked non-conference foe in school history.

Distributor of the Night – Larry Drew II
The UCLA Bruins needed some good news after a pair of transfers and an upset loss to Cal Poly. Drew helped deliver with 13 assists in an 82-56 win against the Cal State Northridge Matadors.

It’s the most assists in a game by a Bruin since Darren Collison had 15 in 2007. Drew fell three assists shy of Earl Watson’s school record set in 2000.

Stat Sheet Stuffer – Jamelle Hagins
The Delaware Fightin Blue Hens fell short of the Lafayette Leopards, 63-60, but Hagins finished with an eye-popping 18 points, 23 rebounds and five blocks. Over the past 15 seasons, only four other players have reached all three of those totals in a game: Cincinnati’s Kenyon Martin (1999), New Mexico State’s Chris Jackson (2003), Louisiana Tech’s Paul Millsap (2006) and Rider’s Jason Thompson (2008).

Freshman of the Night – Olivier Hanlan
Wednesday’s best performance by a freshman was probably Rasheed Sulaimon’s 17 points for Duke. But Hanlan had a more interesting game.

Hanlan went 15-19 from the line on his way to 22 points, as the Boston College Eagles beat the Penn State Nittany Lions, 73-61. That’s the most free throws for an ACC freshman in at least the past 15 years. The second-youngest power conference team, BC’s top six scorers are freshmen or sophomores.
Entering Friday, the last dozen teams to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, make at least 10 three-pointers, and commit fewer than 10 turnovers in an NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game all won.

But that history was not on Missouri’s side, as the No. 2 seeded Tigers fell to 15th-seeded Norfolk State, 86-84 in the tournament's biggest upset so far.

The state of Virginia is the home of the 15-versus-2 upset. Of the five to take place in tournament history, three of the winners (Hampton, Richmond, and Norfolk State) have come from Virginia.

Norfolk State scored 86 points on 64 possessions, its second highest efficiency (1.34 points per possession) in a game in the last 15 seasons.

One of the keys to the win was that the Spartans were 5-for-5 from the field on second-chance opportunities in the second half, including the go-ahead tip-in by Kyle O'Quinn with 34 seconds remaining.

Norfolk State's 86 points are the third-most scored by a 15 seed in a Men's Basketball Championship game. The most is 90 by Eastern Michigan vs Pittsburgh in 1988.

O'Quinn paced the Spartans with 26 points and 14 rebounds. He had had games of this nature before, just not in this sort of setting. O’Quinn entered the day with 48 career double-doubles, tied for third-most among active players

Missouri has now lost as a No. 2 seed, a No. 3 seed (1990 vs Northern Iowa) and a No. 4 seed (1987 vs Xavier) in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers join Arizona as the only teams to lose in the Round of 64 as a No. 2, 3 and 4 seed.

In other early action:

East Region
(3) Florida State 66, (14) St. Bonaventure 63
The Seminoles have won their last three games by exactly three points each. In addition, four of their last six games have been three-point wins.

Overall, Florida State is 6-0 this season in games decided by exactly three points. Michael Snaer, who leads the team in scoring, did not score a point (0-for-7 from the field). This was the first time in 100 career games with the Seminoles that Snaer was held scoreless.

(6) Cincinnati 65, (11) Texas 59
Cincinnati has now advanced to the Round of 32 in 12 of its last 13 Men's Basketball Championship appearances.

Texas shot just 16.0 percent from the field in the 1st half (4-for-25), its second-lowest percentage in any half of a game since 1965-66.

Midwest Region
(1) North Carolina 77, (16) Vermont 58
The Tar Heels improve to 30-1 all-time in Men's Basketball Championship games played in the state of North Carolina.

(3) Georgetown 74, (14) Belmont 59
Georgetown snaps a three-game losing streak in the Men's Basketball Championship, with all three losses to double-digit seeds, to advance to the Round of 32 for the first time since 2008.

(11) NC State 79, (6) San Diego State 65
The Wolfpack shot 58.5 percent from the field, their fourth-highest field goal percentage in a Men's Basketball Championship game and highest since 1989 (63.2 percent vs Iowa).

(8) Creighton 58, (9) Alabama 57
Creighton overcomes an 11-point second half deficit and reaches the Round of 32 for the first time since 2002. The Bluejays have won eight straight and improve to 8-1 this season in games decided by five points or fewer.

West Region
(7) Florida 71, (10) Virginia 45
Florida's 26-point win is tied for its fourth-largest in a Men's Basketball Championship game. The 45 points allowed by Florida are its fewest allowed in a Men's Basketball Championship game.

The Gators were 24-for-30 (80 percent) from two-point range, their highest field-goal percentage inside the arc in a Men's Basketball Championship game.

Big 12, MVC have strong week in rankings

February, 29, 2012
The Big 12 continues to close on the Big Ten, and the Missouri Valley Conference moved up two spots in ESPN Stats and Information’s weekly college basketball rankings.

For a complete recap of how we rank the conferences, click here.

The computer portion of this week’s rankings is once again comprised entirely of the BPI, ESPN’s new College Basketball Power Index. The BPI team rating takes into account the game score, where the game was played, the pace of the game and whether any of the team’s top five players was missing. For a complete explanation on the College BPI, click here.

After dropping two spots in last week’s rankings, the Missouri Valley Conference is back in the No. 8 spot this week. The conference’s overall computer rating remained constant but Wichita State is now the eighth-rated team in the nation according the BPI, moving up three spots in the past week.

It was the MVC’s human bonus that saw a big jump this week, increasing from 2.3 percent to 4.3 percent. Wichita State is now ranked in the top 15 in each human poll and Creighton returned to the Top 25 for the first time in three weeks.

The Big 12 has been gaining on the Big Ten and is now less than five points behind the top conference in the rankings. The Big 12 is the only conference with three teams in the top 10 of each human poll. Kansas and Missouri have been ranked in the top 10 for each of the past eight weeks, while Baylor returned to the top 10 after a one-week absence.

The Big Ten continues to have five teams ranked in the Top 25 but only one in the top nine. After reaching the number three spot in each poll during the week of Feb. 6, Ohio State is now 10th in the AP poll and 11th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. The Buckeyes have lost three of their last five games and two of their last three at home.

The Ohio Valley remained in the No. 22 spot of the rankings but saw the biggest increase of any conference this week, jumping 4.8 points from last week’s rating. Murray State is the only Ohio Valley Conference team in the top 150 of the BPI.

Tuesday recap: Thorns, TCU trip up UNLV

February, 15, 2012
Player of the Night – Hank Thorns
TCU stormed back from an 18-point deficit to beat UNLV 102-97 in overtime. Thorns posted a career-high 32 points, including eight in overtime. He also knocked down eight 3-pointers, matching the second most in school history and most since 1998. The Horned Frogs snapped a 15-game losing streak against ranked opponents.

Stat Sheet Stuffer – Jake Odum
Odum scored a career-high 34 points as Indiana State beat Illinois State 83-77 in overtime. It’s the most points in a game by a Sycamore since Marcus Stinson in 2006. He added seven assists and seven rebounds, becoming the first player to go 34-7-7 this season. Odum did most of his damage at the line, hitting 17 free throws. He’s the first player with 17 free throws and seven assists since Ben Woodside’s epic 60-point game in 2008.

Making History – Creighton Bluejays
Creighton broke a 28-year-old Missouri Valley record by shooting 77.5 percent from the field in an 88-69 win over Southern Illinois. Bradley previously held the record with a 74.5 percent performance against West Texas State in 1984. It matched the 20th best shooting performance in NCAA history and the best since Utah shot 80 percent in 2005.

Freshman of the Night – Myles Taylor
Taylor scored a career-high 31 points as Tennessee-Martin beat Kennesaw State 76-75 in overtime. The win snapped a 15-game losing streak for the Skyhawks, and a 19-game losing streak against Division I opponents. Meanwhile, Kennesaw State has dropped 15 in a row.

Ugly Stat Line of the Night – Texas Tech Red Raiders
Texas Tech had a historically bad offensive performance in a 47-38 loss to Texas A&M. It was the fewest points by the Red Raiders in the shot clock era. In fact, Texas Tech last scored under 40 in 1981 against Arkansas. Texas Tech actually led by nine at halftime, but scored only 12 in the second half. This is just the third time since the formation of the conference that a Big 12 team has failed to hit a free throw.
McDermott fever taking over Omaha
Doug McDermott scored a career-high 44 points in Creighton’s 92-83 win over Bradley on Saturday. It’s the sixth-most points in a game in school history, and the most since Benoit Benjamin’s 45 in January 1985. It passed IUPUI’s Alex Young and his 43-point effort against Western Kentucky for the most points in a game this season. He’s one of only four players to top 40 points this season.

McDermott, who had 31 in the second half alone, went 18-for-23 from the field. That 78.3 field goal percentage is the highest for a player who attempted at least 20 shots since Reggie Williams (86.4) for VMI in January 2008.

Lillard leads the nation
Overshadowed by McDermott’s big game, the nation’s leading scorer also exploded on Saturday. Damian Lillard scored 38 points in Weber State’s 88-81 win over Portland State. He also added five rebounds and five assists. He’s the first player to reach all three of those totals in a game since Norris Cole’s epic 41-20-9 game last February. Lillard leads the nation at 26.3 PPG, and has topped 30 points on five occasions.

Royce White’s Triple-Double
Royce White recorded the fourth triple-double in Iowa State history in Saturday’s 74-50 win over Texas A&M. He joins Curtis Stinson (2006), Jamaal Tinsley (2000) and Marc Urquhart (1989). White finished with 10 points, 10 assists and 18 rebounds.

Since the Big 12 was formed in 1996-97, there have been five triple-doubles in conference play. Three of those were by Cyclones. The 18 rebounds are the most in a triple-double since Cole Aldrich had 20 in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

A Chris Dudley comparison
There’s no better compliment for a Yale big man than to be compared to Chris Dudley (unless it’s regarding free throws). On Sunday, Greg Mangano had the most rebounds by a Yale player since Dudley in 1987. Mangano finished with 35 points and 22 rebounds in a 101-86 win over St. Joseph’s of Long Island. He joins Jeronne Maymon and Thomas Robinson as the only D-I players with a 30-20 game this season.

Four OT classic in Corvallis
Stanford needed four overtimes to beat Oregon State, 103-101, on Saturday. It marked the longest game in both schools' histories. Oregon State had its highest scoring total in a conference game since 1994. The teams combined for 171 field goal attempts and 108 rebounds during three hours and eight minutes. Chasson Randle’s bucket with 37 seconds left in overtime proved pivotal. He led all scorers with 24 points despite having only two at halftime.