In what we hope will be a semi-regular review of the bountiful number of “expert” polls ranking the nation’s D-I college basketball programs, White & Blue Review turns the attention of the first “Peek at the Polls” on the preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
Dana Altman is one of the 31 coaches casting a vote each week in this poll, and Altman’s Creighton Bluejays receive 7 votes in the preseason tally. Technically, that makes them #45 in the poll.
The Bluejays appeared on the coaches’ preseason radar four times in the past 8 seasons (including 2009-2010), including starting the season #23 in the country in November 2006. Below are Creighton’s starting spots in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll the previous 7 years:
- 0 votes to start the 08-09 season
- 0 votes to start the 07-08 season
- 113 votes to start the 06-07 season (preseason #23)
- 0 votes to start the 05-06 season
- 0 votes to start the 04-05 season
- 4 votes to start the 03-04 season (preseason #42)
- 30 votes to start the 02-03 season (preseason #36)
Here are the corresponding records/postseason bids for those seasons:
- 27-8 (14-4) / NIT
- 22-11 (10-8) / NIT
- 22-11 (13-5) / NCAA Auto
- 20-10 (12-6) / NIT
- 23-11 (11-7) / NCAA Auto
- 20-9 (12-6) / NIT
- 29-5 (15-3) / NCAA Auto
We all know these preseason polls are nothing more than a group of collective guesses about how the season will shake out. Still, the Bluejays made the NCAA tournament in two of the three seasons they garnered preseason votes in the Coaches Poll; in 2003-2004, Creighton started 12-0 and was ranked in the top 25 as late as the January 19, 2004 Coaches Poll.
Again, everyone knows how that played out. The Bluejays dropped a ton of games down the stretch and played in the NIT after a quarterfinal exit from Arch Madness.
And while we understand these preseason polls don’t mean much, a quick glance at the results look to resolve some of the “the Bluejays don’t play anyone tough!” arguments made by some fans of the BCS teams. Creighton is guaranteed six games against teams appearing someplace in the preseason Coaches Poll. This includes games against Michigan (#15), Dayton (#22), Southern Illinois (#48), and Northern Iowa (#55).
(Side note: Funny how a team can be picked by its conference’s own media and coaches to win its league (UNI), but can’t secure more votes for a poll like this than the preseason #2 (CU) and #4 (SIU) teams.)
Plus, if things go Creighton’s way (or not, depending on the possible outcomes), the Bluejays might get games against Xavier (#33), a team we used to beat but now won’t play us, and Florida State (#41), a team CU has played only one time in school history (Creighton beat FSU in the All-College Tournament in 1964).
What does all this mean? Nothing, really, except a few dozen of the nation’s college coaches (or whomever fills out their weekly ballots) think Creighton has a chance to be top 25-type of good. And that the Jays have some similar teams on their (especially non-conference) schedule this season.
CAN WE START THESE GAMES, PLEASE!?!