For only the second time in school history and the first time since 2002, the Creighton men’s and women’s basketball teams are both going dancing. Creighton swept the Missouri Valley Conference tournaments and in the process earned automatic bids for the NCAA tournament on both the men and women’s sides.
The mens basketball team finished the season with a 28-5 record and knocked off the Illinois State University Redbirds 83-79 in overtime in the championship game of Arch Madness in St. Louis, Mo., to earn a No. 8 seed.
This will be the team’s 17th appearance in the Big Dance and the Jays are 9-17 overall in tournament play. Creighton last made an appearance in 2007, when they fell in the first round to the University of Nevada Wolf Pack 77-71 in overtime. The Jays’ last win came in 2002 when they knocked of the University off Florida Gators in the first round in double overtime 83-82.
The women’s team had a successful season as well. The Jays finished the season with a 20- 12 record and were given a No. 14 seed. The team will be traveling to Norman, Okla., to face the No. 3 seed St. John’s University Red Storm in first round action. St. John’s is No. 14 in the country and finished the season with a 22-9 record and made the tournament with an at-large bid from the Big East Conference. The game tips off at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday and will be shown on ESPN2.
St. John’s is a talented team that went 13-3 in Big East play. Four players average double figures in points led by junior guard Shenneika Smith’s 12.6 points per game.
Creighton boasts a dynamic duo of their own, however, in sophomores guard Carli Tritz (14.5 points and 3.7 assists per game) and forward Sarah Nelson (12.6 points an 7.7 rebounds per game). If the Jays want to pull off the upset, they will have to rely on their defense. Creighton held opponents to just 56.6 points per game during the season: tops in the MVC.
Creighton beat the Drake University Bulldogs 53-38 in the championship game of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Charles, Mo., to earn their bid. The Jays will be making their fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament and hold a 2-3 record overall in tournament play. They last made the tournament in 2002 where they lost to Florida International University Golden Panthers. Their last win came in 1994 when they beat the Bowling Green State University Falcons 84-73.