October 23, 2014

Big East coaches pick Creighton for 9th

Villanova picked as Big East champ.

Villanova picked as Big East champ.

The Creighton men’s basketball team has been picked to finish ninth in a preseason poll of BIG EAST coaches.

Defending league champion Villanova was a unanimous favorite with 81 points, as coaches are not able to vote for their own team in the poll. Georgetown (67) picked up the other first place vote and was tabbed second, just two points ahead of St. John’s (65). Rounding out the top half of the poll were Xavier (52) and defending Tournament champion Providence (49).

The bottom half of the poll features Seton Hall (43) in sixth, Butler and Marquette (28) in a tie for seventh, Creighton (25) ninth and DePaul (12) in 10th.

Creighton’s ninth place prognostication is the program’s lowest mark since being tabbed 10th of 11 Missouri Valley Conference teams in 1995-96. That Creighton team exceed expectations, tying for fifth place in The Valley.

It also snaps the program’s streak of 14 straight years being picked fourth or higher in the preseason poll of its conference, a remarkable testament to CU’s consistency and ability to live up to lofty expectations that is evidenced by the team’s streak of 17 straight top-four finishes in the year-end standings.

Georgetown guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was selected as the 2014-15 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year. He was joined on the preseason first team by Butler’s Kellen Dunham, St. John’s D’Angelo Harrison, Villanova’s JayVaughn Pinkston and Xavier’s Matt Stainbrook.

Seton Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead earned the nod as the Preseason Rookie of the Year.

Creighton did not have any representatives on the preseason all-conference team for the first time since 2007-08. It’s just the sixth time in the last 20 years CU did not have a first team all-conference honoree in the presason, and will mark the first time in Greg McDermott’s five seasons at Creighton that his team did not have the Preseason Player of the Year. Four of the five previous Bluejay teams in the last 20 years without a preseason all-league honoree would reach either the NCAA or NIT.

Creighton will open the exhibition season on Nov. 7 vs. Sioux Falls before starting the regular season one week later against Central Arkansas.

Story courtesy: GoCreighton.com

Both Nebraska and Creighton volleyball start the season nationally ranked

The Nebraska volleyball team is ranked 7th in the preseason AVCA Coaches’ poll. The Huskers return all but one starter from last year’s team, which finished with a 26-7 record, a trip to the NCAA Regional Final and a No. 7 final ranking.  The Huskers have now been ranked in each of the AVCA’s 462 all-time polls, dating back to 1982. Nebraska has been ranked in the top 10 in 418 of those 462 polls, the highest total of any team in the country.

The Huskers will face a ranked opponent in 13 of their 29 matches this season, including six matchups with top-10 opponents. NU will face the top three teams in the preseason poll a total of four times, beginning with a contest against No. 3 Stanford in the second game of the season at the Devaney Center on Sunday, Aug. 31.

The Huskers open their season on Friday, Aug. 29, against 13th-ranked Florida State Seminoles.

The Creighton Volleyball program is ranked 23rd in the preseason Top 25 poll released this afternoon by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. It’s the second straight season the Bluejays have earned a spot in the preseason poll, and a two-spot upgrade after being 25th in last year’s initial survey.

For the second straight fall, Creighton’s non-conference schedule features five teams that are ranked in the preseason poll, including No. 5 USC, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 11 Illinois, No. 19 Kentucky and No. 22 Kansas. The Jays also host Colorado, which received enough votes to be 33rd in the ranking, and have a home-and-home series with league foe Marquette, which was ranked 29th. The Golden Eagles are the only other BIG EAST squad listed.

Creighton has spent 10 weeks in the top-25 of the rankings during the course of the past two seasons, with four such weeks in 2012 before six weeks as a ranked squad last fall. Last year’s team was ranked 25th in the preseason poll, then opened the year with a victory over No. 13 BYU.

Last year’s Bluejay squad advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four seasons, defeating Arkansas before falling at Kansas with a Sweet 16 bid on the line. Top returnees for CU include all-conference selections Leah McNary, Kelli Browning and Michelle Sicner.

The Bluejays opened their fall practice schedule earlier this morning, hosts the annual Blue-White Scrimmage on Aug. 22, and opens the regular-season on Aug. 29 with a match against Lipscomb at the Kansas Invitational in Lawrence, Kan.

AVCA Poll

Omaha to host Big East baseball tournament in 2015

The BIG EAST Conference announced that the 2015 Baseball Tournament will be held at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, May 21-24.

“It is an honor for Creighton Baseball to host the BIG EAST Conference Tournament in just our second season as a member of the our conference,” said head coach Ed Servais. “This will be the second time we’ve hosted a conference tournament in TD Ameritrade Park. I am confident our staff will do a tremendous job, just as they did in 2011.”

The Bluejays hosted the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in the first season of TD in 2011, which also serves as the host site for the College World Series.

Creighton finished its first year as a member of the BIG EAST (2014) as the regular-season champions at 32-17-1. The Bluejays advanced to the Tournament Championship game with a 2-0 mark, before falling to Xavier (5-0).

Other CU baseball notes:

Creighton assistant Spencer Allen, who served as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the past two seasons at CU, has taken a job with the University of Illinois.  Allen has two stints in Omaha, returning to Creighton after three seasons at Washington State.

Late inning heroics by the Huskers again leads them to a win over Creighton

A three-run eighth inning lifted visiting Nebraska to a 4-2 win over Creighton Baseball on Tuesday, April 8th, spoiled the pitching performance of Bluejay freshman Jeff Albrecht.

Creighton had a three-game win streak snapped, falling to 15-11-1 on the year. Nebraska, which had three last at-bat victories over the weekend vs. Ohio State, used more late-inning heroics to win its fifth straight game and improve to 20-13.

Albrecht was dominant while working into the sixth inning. He allowed just one hit in his first 5.1 innings of work before departing with a 2-0 lead with one out after Michael Pritchard’s single up the middle.

Nebraska scored three runs in the eighth inning after John Oltman (0-1) walked Pat Kelly on four pitches and a single to Ryan Boldt put two on with one out. Creighton saves leader Bryan Sova gave up a single to Taylor Fish to tie the score at 2-all. After a groundout moved runners to second and third with two outs, Jake Placzek lined a single just past the glove of Sova to put the Cornhuskers ahead, 4-2. It was the second game-winning RBI this season for Placzek against the Bluejays.

McDermott adds to his post season awards collection

After two consecutive seasons of being an award finalist, the third time was a charm for Creighton University senior Doug McDermott, as he was named winner of the 2014 Naismith Trophy for Men’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T.
The Atlanta Tipoff Club made the announcement earlier tonight during the AT&T National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Guardians of the Game Awards Show at the Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas. The other finalists for the 2014 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T included University of Arizona junior Nick Johnson, Duke University freshman Jabari Parker and University of Louisville senior Russ Smith.
McDermott was one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy in 2013 and 2012, but saw Trey Burke (University of Michigan) and Anthony Davis (University of Kentucky), respectively, take home the award.
First created in 1969, UCLA’s Lew Alcindor claimed the inaugural award.
During the current season, McDermott averaged 26.7 points and 7.0 rebounds in leading the Bluejays to a 27-8 record, and a second-place finish in the BIG EAST, Creighton’s first season in the conference.  With 3,150 points and 1,088 rebounds, McDermott is one of only three men in NCAA history with 3,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career. After earning Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year (POY) honors as a sophomore and a junior, he claimed the 2014 Big East POY award, making him just the third player in NCAA history to win POY honors in multiple conferences.
“With Doug you have to reflect not only on the current season but also his entire career to appreciate the full impact he had on college basketball,” said Eric Oberman, Atlanta Tipoff Club Executive Director. “He’s got all the intangibles to make him a tremendous all-around player, and he showcased those attributes this season. It’s an
honor for us to call him a Naismith Trophy winner.”
“Doug has been the ultimate team player since arriving at Creighton four years ago, and there’s no one happier about his individual success than his teammates,” said his father and head coach, Greg McDermott. “He has experienced tremendous acclaim for his play on the court, and to do so while also serving as a role model for so many people makes recognition like the Naismith Trophy so special.”
McDermott was chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, which based its selection on individual performances throughout the 2013-14 men’s college basketball season, and by fans, who were eligible to vote via a desktop and mobile device voting program from March 24 through April 5. For the 10th consecutive year, fans have contributed to the selection of the Naismith Trophy for Men’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T.  The fan vote accounts for 25 percent of the vote total. The vote was tabulated and certified by the accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti& Wynne, LLP.  HA&W is the largest independent accounting firm in Georgia and one of the top 50 firms in the United States.
“We’d like to congratulate and thank each of this year’s nominees for their commitment to superior athletic performance, sportsmanship and leadership; and a special thank you to the fans who again helped select the winner,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T. “It’s an honor to welcome three-time finalist Doug McDermott into the elite company of Naismith Trophy recipients. His passion for the game has shown throughout his collegiate career.”
Other notable Naismith Trophy alumni include a pair of three-time winners in Bill Walton (1972, ‘73, ‘74) and Ralph Sampson (1981, ‘82, ‘83), as well as Michael Jordan (1984), Kevin Durant (2007) and Blake Griffin (2009). The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball’s best player.
The Naismith Trophy is the 13th different honor for McDermott as National Player of the Year this season, joining the USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy, the John R. Wooden Award, Lute Olson Award, CBSSports.com, Sporting News, USA Today, NBCSports.com, BleacherReport.com, Basketball Times and Dick Vitale. McDermott also won the Senior CLASS Award on Thursday, which takes into account his work on the court and in the classroom and community.