The first game of the P.P. Era (Post-P’Allen) begins tonight in Peoria. I know what it sounds like, so you don’t have to admonish me in the comments for it. There’s just something about dubbing this P.P. that appeals to the 1% of my brain that never matured past the age of six. Moving on to where I’ll use the mature 99% of my brain…
P’Allen was (and is, should he return), a wildly inconsistent player:
His teammates have never known which P’Allen would show up, so in one sense, with him suspended at least they know what production they will get from him on a given night. Namely, zero. I do think his reputation made defenses respect him a bit more than other players on Creighton’s team, which in theory opens driving/shooting lanes for others. But with the team’s offensive struggles this season, I’m not sure it makes a huge difference.
As Otter showed yesterday, Darryl Ashford and P’Allen have been statistically interchangeable this season, so if you don’t think the defensive respect from opponents is a big consideration, then statistically its hard to argue there’s much, if any, drop in production by subbing Ashford for Stinnett. Ultimately, I think the Jays will continue getting similar production but on a more consistent basis from Ashford, and defenses will have to show him the same respect they’ve shown Stinnett, making the Jays a better team, on the court, long-term.
When he arrived on campus, a lot of people thought he might wind up as the “next” Rodney Buford. Just for fun, here’s Rodney’s junior season, compared to P’Allen’s junior season:
The peaks aren’t as high, but the wild fluctuations are oddly similar. I didn’t remember that about Rodney. Probably my drunken college mind obscuring all but the wild dunks!
Of course, these charts merely show production. What about intangibles…things like attitude, team play and penchant for technical fouls? Well, his nine technical fouls in 2-1/2 years is an astronomical number. But the thing about intangibles is that they can’t be quantified. We know how the team plays with Stinnett on the floor. We’ll have to watch the game tonight, and on Saturday in Des Moines, to get a handle on how the team plays without him, and judge it at that point.
The game itself features two of the teams locked in a third-place tie in the MVC, with both teams sitting at 5-4 at the halfway point. A win would be big for either team, obviously, but if the Jays can eek out a win, they will have survived the toughest portion of their schedule and emerged alive. While no one would call a 6-4 record a success, it would be the same record the Jays had a year ago at this point — and it would position the Jays well to get where they need to be for a weekend run in St. Louis.
One Big Paragraph with Lots O’Dots™: Bradley is 10-9 on the season and enters Wednesday night with a three-game winning streak. Like Creighton, Bradley is 5-4 in MVC play and part of a four-way tie for third place. The Braves are 6-3 at Carver Arena … Tonight’s game features the MVC’s two coaching deans: Bradley’s Jim Les (250 games in eight years) and Creighton’s Dana Altman (489 in 16 seasons) have combined to coach 739 games at their respective schools, while the league’s other eight head coaches have combined for 746 games with their respective teams … Tonight’s game has been deemed a Bradley Basketball White Out, with fans encouraged to wear white. Bradley will enhance the effect by distributing white Bradley Basketball t-shirts to everyone in attendance. No word on whether a certain radio host has taken credit for the idea … According to the RPI information provided by CBSSportsline.com Jan. 26, Bradley owns the nation’s No. 24 Strength of Schedule rating. Bradley and Miami-Ohio (22, 6-12 record) are the only two schools from non-BCS automatic qualifying conferences to rank among the nation’s top 25 in Strength of Schedule …The next toughest SOS in The Valley is Creighton at No. 66 and the other nine teams in the MVC have a 137.3 average SOS ranking … Bradley has played four teams that currently sit atop their current league standings … Bradley is the only school in the MVC with four players averaging in double-figures, a quartet led by Andrew Warren (14.8 ppg.). Warren also owns a team-high 41 three-point baskets … Also in double-figures are Taylor Brown (13.4 ppg., 6.4 rpg.), Sam Maniscalco (11.9 ppg.) and Chris Roberts (10.0 ppg.). A fifth starter, Will Egolf, averages 8.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while rejecting a team-best 17 blocked shots … Bradley averages 67 points per game while allowing 68 per contest. The Braves shoot 44% from the field, 36% from three-point range and 70% at the line.
The Last Time They Played: Creighton won 79-65 last February in Omaha, sweeping the season series. Creighton led most of the first half, including a 23-13 lead with 9:53 to play, before Bradley scorched the nets to close the first half, making their final five three-point attempts of the first half, including a half-court buzzer beater from Sam Maniscalco that gave BU a 39-37 intermission lead. The second half featured four ties and nine lead changes, the last coming when Creighton went ahead 59-57 on two Kenny Lawson Jr. free throws with 8:29 to play. Bradley had just one field goal in the final 10:48, a lay-up by Taylor Brown with 1:06 remaining.
The Series: Creighton and Bradley have split 78 all-time meetings, with both schools owning 39 victories. The Braves lead 24-14 in Peoria all-time, but the Jays have won six of their past eight trips to Carver Arena. Further, the Jays have won 16 of the past 19 meetings overall.
Heading into tonight’s game, Missouri State (26-17) is the only current Missouri Valley Conference member with a winning record against Bradley. Creighton could become the second Valley team with the series edge against Bradley with a win.
In the last 27 meetings between the schools, Creighton is 15-1 when holding Bradley to 65 points or less but 4-7 when it allows more than 65 points. Creighton has also won the last 20 meetings when it scores 70 points or more against BU.
Creighton coach Dana Altman is 20-13 all-time against Bradley and 13-3 against Jim Les.
Gratuitous Linkage: Bloopers from “At The Movies” with Siskel and Ebert. Who knew Ebert had such a temper? Oh wait…yeah. I forgot about this (make sure you read to the bottom).
The Totally Random Song I’d Play Right Now if I was Still a Radio DJ:
No Easy Way Out, baby. You bet. Of course, if you’re creeped out by Tepper’s fierce mullet, here’s the clip from the movie, which is about 9000% more awesome.
The Pick: Even though Creighton has played well in Peoria of late, I just can’t pick them to win tonight. I think there’s a solid chance Ashford plays a great game in Stinnett’s absence, but road games in the league are always tough even without the turmoil of the last two days. Bradley is playing well, defends well, has some solid post players and will likely win tonight. Long term, I believe the Jays will rally without Stinnett, but tonight is probably too soon.
Bradley 68, Creighton 62