The Creighton Bluejays will enter the 2013-14 college basketball season in a different league after joining the new-look Big East, and should to be the target that the rest of the conference will be coming after.
This distinction comes from 2012-13 All-American Doug McDermott returning for his senior campaign with hopes of taking the Bluejays deep into the dance. McDermott is coming off a season where he led the nation in scoring at 23.2 PPG. He shot nearly 55 percent from the field and 49 percent from beyond the arc. McDermott is also a great rebounder (7.7RPG).
Creighton could have a problem finding scoring from elsewhere as none of the other projected starters averaged double figures in scoring. This may not matter because point guard Grant Gibbs received a sixth year of eligibility. He is one of the best passers in the country and will find teammates for easy baskets. Gibbs averaged 5.8 APG last season and only had three games with five or more turnovers.
Creighton will also need to find someone to grab rebounds after Gregory Echenique‘s graduation. Will Artino will be the likely candidate for this role as he stands at 6-foot-11, but averaged 2.5 rebounds in less than eight minutes per game in 2012-13.
Still, Creighton comes into a Big East that is a far cry from last season’s lineup of great teams. Georgetown will be the toughest competition for Creighton, but with the Hoyas trying to find a replacement for Otto Porter, the Bluejays’ entrance in the league could not have come at a better time.
The Big East will not get the appreciation this season and that will probably hurt Creighton’s chances of receiving a no. 1-seed in the NCAA tournament. Creighton will win the Big East, and McDermott will be a first-team All-American and a National Player of the Year front-runner. The Bluejays have an opportunity to be a Final Four contender if McDermott can carry the load.
Creighton will be a no. 2 seed and finish with a regular season record of 25-4. However, with a lack of scoring from anyone other than McDermott, the Bluejays will likely fall short of the national championship game.
Creighton opens up the 2013-14 season at home against Alcorn State at 8 p.m. ET on Friday.