Today it became official: Creighton University will move from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Big East Conference, effective July 1, 2013.
The landscape of televised collegiate athletics provided the impetus for this change. Specifically, after other conferences started plucking the schools that field football teams in the “old” Big East, the basketball-first schools had to reconfigure a conference that leads with premiere hoops.
Thus, Creighton, Xavier, and Butler will join Georgetown, Seton Hall, Villanova, Providence, DePaul, Marquette, and St. John’s in the Big East.
WBR will have plenty of coverage of this monumental shift in CU sports. Let’s start with a quick look at Creighton’s basketball history with the school’s new conference mates.
(listed in order of most meetings)
Marquette Golden Eagles
28-48 in 76 meetings (.368 winning percentage)
Creighton and Marquette first met on the basketball court in February 1923. The two programs played regularly until the mid-1990s. Marquette last played Creighton in the 1998 NIT. The Bluejays led 36-35 at halftime, and Rodney Buford, a local product, returned home and scored 24 points. But the Jays lost, 80-68.
The third-worst loss in Creighton hoops history occurred in Milwaukee, when Marquette pummeled the Jays 94-48 in February 1958.
A few of Creighton’s more memorable individual performances came against Marquette. Paul Silas once grabbed 36 rebounds against Marquette (January 1964), the third-best rebounding effort in CU history. And in January 1985, Benoit Benjamin scored 26 points, grabbed 18 rebounds, and blocked 7 shots to help the Bluejays beat Marquette for the first time in 11 years.
Marquette is one of three schools in the new Big East to have won a national championship (1977), although it occurred long before MU joined the Big East in 2005.
DePaul Blue Demons
7-15 in 22 meetings (.318 winning percentage)
These two programs met for the first time in December 1937, with the Bluejays scoring a 44-37 win. The schools most recently completed a home-and-home series with DePaul beating Creighton in Chicago in November 2005 and the Bluejays returning the favor two years later with a win to start the 2007-2008 season.
Eight of Creighton’s 22 games against DePaul came with the Blue Demons ranked in the AP poll.
The longest game in Creighton hoops history came against DePaul in Omaha, when the Bluejays lost 85-82 in triple overtime in February 1978.
Those two teams met again in the NCAA Tournament, and again engaged in a tight matchup. Creighton set program NCAA Tournament records with 64.3% field goal shooting and 31 assists against No. 4 DePaul in the 1978 Midwest Regional, but the Bluejays lost 80-78. DePaul shot 76.9% in the second half to storm back from a 14-point halftime deficit.
DePaul got the better of the Bluejays in the 1990 NIT with an 89-72 win in Chicago. Harstad (27 points) and Gallagher (20 points) combined for 57 of the team’s 72 points.
DePaul, like Marquette and departing schools Cincinnati, Louisville, and South Florida, has only been in the Big East since 2005.
6-9 in 15 meetings (.400 winning percentage)
The Bluejays and Musketeers enter the Big East as two of the three new kids on the block. But their own relationship on the hardwood dates back to 1938, when Creighton and Xavier met for the first time (a 34-29 CU win).
The two schools played a few times in the 1950s and 1960s, but skipped the 70s. The programs rekindled their relationship in 1985, Tony Barone’s first season at the helm on the Hilltop. The Bluejays lost a home game to XU 56-53 in December but won a 74-73 game the next season in Cincinnati.
The two schools wouldn’t meet again until Xavier came to Omaha in December 2001. With Kyle Korver out with a knee injury and the students home for winter break, David West and the Musketeers beat the Bluejays 72-65.
The next season, Korver and the Jays engaged in an epic New Year’s Even showdown in Cincinnati against West’s Xavier team. Korver tied a then-school record with 8 three-pointers, but West got the last laugh and No. 19 Xavier beat the Bluejays by a bucket. Our own Polyfro wrote a great flashback to that game a few years ago.
The two teams have played a few times since then. Tyler McKinney made a game-winning layup with a few second left to beat Xavier 73-72 in November 2004. A year later, Anthony Tolliver scored 26 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Jays to a 61-59 win in Omaha. And in December 2006, No. 24 Xavier came to Omaha and left a 73-67 loser, thanks to 17 points from Tolliver and 15 from Nate Funk.
The next season, CU traveled to Cincinnati and lost to No. 21 Xavier 79-66. The two teams met two seasons later in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, with the Musketeers posting an 80-67 win.
The teams have only met once in the postseason. Xavier beat CU 80-67 in the 1963 National Catholic Invitational Tournament. Paul Silas scored 25 points and snared 18 rebounds and Harry Forehand added 10 for the Jays, but the Musketeers had four players in double figures.
Xavier comes to the Big East from the Atlantic 10 Conference, to which XU has belonged since 1995.
4-6 in 10 meetings (.400 winning percentage)
Creighton and Providence met for the first time in February 1961, when the Friars unleashed a 115-70 beat down on the Bluejays in Providence. It remains the fourth worst loss in Creighton history.
The Friars and Bluejays last met in November 2000 at the Energia Systems Thanksgiving Tournament in Kansas City. Creighton posted a 63-51 win behind 17 points from sophomore Kyle Korver and a double-double by senior Ben Walker (10 points, 10 boards) en route to the tournament championship.
Providence is one of the founding members of the original Big East in 1979, of which four remain in the new conference configuration.
4-3 in 7 meetings (.571 winning percentage)
Creighton and Butler used to be in the same conference; the Bulldogs won two regular season Missouri Valley Conference championships.
That was back in the 1930s, when the Bulldogs were in the league from 1932 to 1934.
Creighton and Butler first played in 1933, with the Jays posting a 27-22 win in Omaha that January and the Bulldogs winning 45-33 at home in February.
The two teams last met in December 1975, when the Bluejays beat Butler 68-62 in the first game of the Pillsbury Classic in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Butler is no stranger to shifting conference allegiances. The Big East will be the Bulldogs’ third conference in three years (Horizon League members from 1979-2012; Atlantic 10 Conference members in 2012-13).
Seton Hall Pirates
1-6 in 7 meetings (.143 winning percentage)
Creighton and Seton Hall met for the first time in March 1949 and played each other regularly in the 1950s.
The last time Creighton met Seton Hall, the Pirates upended the Bluejays in the second round of the 1991 NCAA Tournament, 81-69. The Bluejays led 32-31 at halftime. Bob Harstad had 13 points and 8 rebounds and Chad Gallagher had 17 points and 12 board in the last collegiate games for the Dynamic Duo.
Seton Hall is one of the founding members of the original Big East.
St. John’s Red Storm
2-5 in 7 meetings (.286 winning percentage)
The first meeting between Creighton and St. John’s took place when St. John’s was ranked No. 7 and handed the Jays an 84-75 loss in January 1961. Creighton lost to St. John’s in New York again the next season, but finally beat them in Omaha 52-34 in December 1963.
The two programs played repeatedly in the 1960s, but their most recent matchup took place at the 1971 Lobo Classic in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where No. 10 St. John’s beat the Bluejays 94-73.
St. John’s is one of the founding members of the original Big East.
0-3 in 3 meetings (.000 winning percentage)
The Wildcats haven’t lost to the Bluejays. Villanova won the first meeting 84-63 in February 1950, then beat the Bluejays 61-43 in January 1951 and 79-61 in January 1952. The game in 1951 was Creighton’s first against a team ranked in the Associated Press poll (Villanova was No. 8 at the time).
Villanova is one of three schools in the new Big East to have won a national championship (1985). The program joined the Big East in 1980, a year after the conference began.
1-0 in 1 meeting (1.000 winning percentage)
The Bluejays beat the Hoyas 80-79 in the two programs’ only meeting, a neutral court contest at the 1970 Gold Coast Classic in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Georgetown is one of three schools in the new Big East to have won a national championship (1984). The Hoyas are a founding member of the Big East.