In college basketball, it is a rarity for teams to have their schedule set seven months before the season. For teams like Creighton, it is even more rare to have the next season’s schedule set a couple of months before the season. Schools like St. Mary’s barely had their schedule out less than a month before the start of this past season. However, Greg McDermott and his staff worked hard to find good opponents that will challenge the Bluejays, but yet also give CU the opportunity to build a resume in case it is needed come March.
Creighton grabbed the MVC automatic bid by winning the MVC Tournament last season, tied a school record for wins, and had the program’s first first-team All-American selection in Doug McDermott. And while the ink still hasn’t dried on this record-setting season of CU hoops, Jays fans are looking forward to what might be in 2012-13. McDermott returns along with almost all of his teammates. The expectations are even higher.
Lets take an early look at what is on the slate come November and also some of the scheduling quirks and what other Valley teams have lined up so far.
First a quick look at the schedule:
Creighton 2012-13 Projected Schedule
Opponent Quick Notes
2 games at home against either Florida A&M, Longwood or Presbyterian Part of the Las Vegas MTE during Thanksgiving. Cornell is also involved.
2 games in Las Vegas against Wisconsin, Arkansas & Arizona St. Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas
Boise State Part of MVC/MWC Challenge
UAB Return of a H/H series started last season
Tulsa Game 2 of a 4 game series with Tulsa. Will be at home in 2013-14 as well
St. Joseph's New 4 game series with the Hawks
@ California A new H/H series starting on the road
@ Nebraska In-State rivalry should be renewed
@ Loyola-Chicago A Bracketbuster return game from 2010 that was delayed
Akron Another Bracketbuster return game from 2011
@ Bracketbusters Likely on the road this season or is something else in store?
Based on what is scheduled above, it appears that the Bluejays have their schedule completed for 2012-13. Schools can schedule 28 games, which also includes one of those games counting toward some sort of exempt or multi-team event — multiple games are played, but they only count as one on the schedule. If a team is not in one of those events, then they can schedule a total of 29 games. With the 18-game Missouri Valley Conference Schedule that leaves 10 other games to be scheduled.
The new series added for this season is a home-and-home agreement with California from the Pac-12. That was an option when the Bluejays series against Northwestern finished up this past season.
A series with St. Joseph’s completed this year, but a new four-year agreement has been put in place against the Hawks to keep this series going through at least 2015-16. It is probably not a surprise since both teams do continue to have great games against each other and current Creighton President, Father Timothy Lannon, was the President at St. Joe’s before coming back to Creighton this past year.
Creighton will take part in a tournament in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend this season. Joining the Bluejays are Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Arizona State. CU will play two games in Vegas, and while matchups have not been announced yet the most favorable games for the Bluejays would be against the Badgers and the Razorbacks. No matter what happens, it is a chance to play teams from the Power Six conferences. Wisconsin could easily be in the top 25.
Many multi-team events they include games that are played at host sites. With Creighton being one of the host sites, they get to play two other opponents at home in this event. The teams on this list as of right now are Florida A&M, Longwood, and Cornell. The fourth team appears to be Presbyterian, but that may end up changing. One of the usual restrictions of these events is that all the teams have to be from different conferences. In July, Longwood and Presbyterian will both be part of the Big South. Now it is possible that both of these teams will still be part of this event, as long as they don’t play each other. Southern Illinois played in a Las Vegas event in 2010-11 where they played both San Diego and San Francisco from the WCC.
Cornell is part of the event, but is not an option to play the Bluejays because they already appear to be slated to play at Arizona State and Wisconsin.
Scheduling teams like UAB and Tulsa would be pretty good coups in past years. Both programs have had some nice history of NCAA appearances and are known as winning programs. It is kind of ironic that series with UAB and Tulsa were started last season and by the end, both teams were looking for new coaches. Mike Davis was let go by the Blazers and Doug Wojcik was given his walking papers by the Hurricane. The other ironic thing: their replacements are Kansas graduates, Jerod Haase and Danny Manning respectively.
The game against UAB will be the return game of a home and home series while the game against Tulsa will be the second in a four-game series. It sounds like the third game of the series will also be at home in the CenturyLink Center in 2013-14 before the Bluejays return to Tulsa in 2014-15.
One option that would open up the schedule to add a different opponent is if one of these teams wants to delay the game for this season based on the fact that they are new coaches for these teams. As they try to rebuild these programs, they may be willing to delay a game against a stacked Creighton team. So if there are any games currently on the schedule that may be delayed, it would be the games with UAB and Tulsa.
Nebraska also replaced Doc Sadler with Colorado State head coach Tim Miles during this offseason. Sadler was never fond of the series with Creighton and really tried to downplay it as an important game. While the contract hasn’t been confirmed as being renewed, you would almost expect that it would be with it being a pretty good rivalry and also brings fans to the games in droves. But it has been difficult the past couple of years getting dates that both teams agree on when opportunities to play other opponents arises. Miles and Greg McDermott are pretty good friends and it would be hard to believe that this series would not be renewed, especially since it is Lincoln’s turn to host.
The Missouri Valley Conference is in the final year of a four-year challenge agreement with the Mountain West Conference. This has been a great series with the MWC continuing to rise, including getting four teams into the NCAA Tournament this past season. The MWC has gone through a lot of changes during this period and it probably works out best that this series does end after this upcoming season with the pending merger/working agreement with Conference USA.
The Idaho Statesman reported earlier this year that the Bluejays will be playing Boise State this season as a part of the Challenge series. Not all of the matchups have been announced yet, but here are the other ones that are known so far:
- Bradley does not get a game this season
- Boise State @ Creighton
- Wyoming @ Illinois State
- New Mexico @ Indiana State
- San Diego State @ Missouri State
- Northern Iowa @ UNLV
- Wichita State @ Air Force
That leaves Drake, Evansville and Southern Illinois to be matched up with Colorado State, Fresno State, and Nevada. Based on the agreement, Drake is slated for a home game and Evansville is slated for a road game. Southern Illinois did not take part in the series last season, but is expected to go on the road for their challenge game. The guess here, based on elimination of options, is that Colorado State will host Evansville, Drake will host Fresno State, and Southern Illinois will go to Nevada to round out the matchups.
There have been several discussions between Creighton fans for the past several years that the BracketBusters, while a good idea at one time, is not something that can help teams from the MVC any more. With the recent exit of the CAA from the pool of schools that are a part of the event, it makes it even less attractive. For the Bluejays, the participation in BracketBusters has resulted in three games that take up the non-conference schedule.
First, you have the Bluejays hitting the road against Loyola-Chicago. In what was Dana Altman’s last season on the Hilltop and one of the worst since the start of his tenure, Creighton was matched up with the fellow Jesuit school in Chicago. With the 18-month clause in the BracketBusters to return the game to the opposing school, Creighton was scheduled to go to Chicago last season. Depending on who you talk to, there were different reasons why this did not happen.
One story had that Creighton and Loyola had a date set on the calendar to play the game. But then there was some remodeling going on with Loyola’s home court and there was concern about where the game was going to be played. Another story says that crosstown rival DePaul demanded to play their game against Loyola on the same date that Wolves were to host the Bluejays. When that happened, Creighton was to a point where they could not reschedule that game to a different date. Since the original game in 2010, Loyola-Chicago has replaced their head coach with former Bluejay, Porter Moser. Either way, you would assume this game still needs to be played and with Moser at the helm, you would bet that he would want to play this game too.
The second BracketBusters game is has Akron from the Mid America Conference coming to Omaha to return the game in Akron from the 2011 event. Head Coach Keith Dambrot put to rest any speculation that he might be leaving the Zips to take another head coaching job. He led Akron to their first ever MAC championship last season and has had seven straight 20-win seasons. They will be a tough team when they come to the C-Link this winter.
Finally, it appears Creighton would be going on the road if they are once again a part of the ESPN BracketBusters event. This is where things could get a little interesting. ESPN will meet with the MVC and other conferences involved in the event. With the CAA out, the MVC is probably the top conference in the event. But with Doug McDermott being the only returning First-Team All-American from this past season, this could be an opportunity for ESPN to allow Creighton to opt out of the event this season and use that available non-conference game in a made for TV game against a power opponent. To me it would make sense and with limited options based on the already full schedule, ESPN would be crazy to NOT take advantage of that option. Time will tell on how this turns out, but look for this to be a game on the road either way.
Although the 2012-13 season is what is most important right now, that does not mean that Creighton is waiting around to schedule things for the future. In 2013-14, the Bluejays are scheduled to be a part of Anaheim Classic, formerly known as the 76 Classic. Those games will all be on the ESPN family of networks. Penciled in right now along with the Bluejays are Marquette and San Diego State.
In addition, California, Nebraska and Tulsa will be coming to Omaha, while the Bluejays will hit the road against St. Joseph’s and returning this past year’s BracketBusters game to Long Beach State. In essence, Creighton only has four games left to schedule for 2013-14 as well. It should be a couple of exciting seasons with a schedule that might get Creighton fans a little more excited than in the past, which will draw even bigger crowds to the CenturyLink Center.
We are compiling the non-conference schedules for all 10 MVC teams. Check our Library page for what we currently know about for this upcoming season and in the future.