NCAA Basketball Countdown: #8 Creighton Blue Jays

After a 15-5 Big East record a season ago and a 24-7 overall record, our composite poll ranked the Creighton Blue Jays at number 8 to start the season.

2019-2020 Record: 24-7

National Championship Odds: +2500

Big East Championship Odds: +333

Key Returners (2019-2020 Stats)

Marcus Zegarowski: 16.1 PPG, 3.8 REB, 5.0 AST, 1.1 STL

Mitch Ballock: 11.9 PPG, 5.3 REB, 3.1 AST

Denzel Mahoney: 12.0 PPG, 3.1 REB

Damien Jefferson: 9.4 PPG, 5.5 REB, 1.4 AST

Christian Bishop: 8.6 PPG, 5.3 REB, 1.3 AST, 1.1 BLK

New Recruits

Rati Andronikashvili: 4-star Point Guard

Ryan Kalkbrenner: 4-Star Center

Modestas Kancleris: 3-star Power Foward

  • Andronikashvili and Kancleris are both out for season with torn ACLs.

Upcoming Games

Nov. 25South Dakota State6:00 PM
Nov. 26TBD (Utah State or Wichita State)1:30 PM or 8:00 PM
Nov. 27TBD (West Virginia, Texas A&M, St. Mary’s, or MemphisTBD
Dec. 1Nebraska-Omaha4:00 PM
Dec. 4Kennesaw State4:00 PM
Dec. 8KansasTBD

Season Preview

After a strong season a year ago, the Creighton Blue Jays will look to build upon that success in the 2020-2021 season. This year they will have to do it without star guard and leading scorer Ty-Shon Alexander, who will hope to hear his name called at the NBA draft in a couple nights. While this is a big loss for the program, it’s nothing that they can’t recover from.

The final AP Poll from last season had the Blue Jays at #7 in the nation. The best thing that they can do to remain a top-10 team for this season and possibly even climb above #7 is to improve on their shaky defense. Last season Creighton ranked 78th in defense. This is a pretty ridiculous stat considering they were a top-10 team in the country. If they can improve even just slightly on the defensive side there is no reason why they can’t be a top-5 or maybe even the top team in the country and in the Big East this season.

Last season head coach Greg McDermott went eight deep in his rotation. Fortunately for him and for Creighton fans, they return six of the eight players from last years rotation. Experience matters in college basketball and having a solid core of guys who understand the system will help them tremendously this season. In 2019-2020 Creighton took 42.7% of their shots from beyond the arc and ranked sixth nationally in 3-point percentage. McDermott’s guys shot a ton of threes and they shot them well. Creighton will stick to this system this season and will be a tough team to keep up with offensively yet again.

Ryan Kalkbrenner is a fun new-comer to keep an eye on this season. The 4-star freshman center is a shot blocking machine. Standing in at 7-feet tall, I expect him to hold down the paint against most opponents on both sides of the ball.

I’m very high on Creighton this year. I think they have as good a shot as anyone to win the Big East and I believe have what it takes to make a run at the National Championship this year.

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