With the Big East revealing the men’s basketball schedule last week, we now know the entirety of Creighton’s 2018-19 schedule. That means that it’s time for a way too early outlook on the Jays upcoming season.
Coming off back to back NCAA tournament appearances, the Jays look to be in more of a rebuilding year. With Marcus Foster, Creighton’s leading scorer the past two seasons, now graduated, and Khryi Thomas foregoing his senior season for the NBA, the Jays will need to look for new star power to help get them back to the tournament.
Look for Creighton to build off junior forward Martin Krampelj’s big season last year, before he went down with a knee injury. In the 19 games that he played last season, he was averaging almost 12 points per game and eight rebounds per game while shooting 67 percent from the floor. With Foster and Thomas gone, Krampelj is set to take over their leadership roles.
Sophomore guard Mitch Ballock is set up for a perfect opportunity to become a star on this team. Ballock performed well early in the season, but couldn’t find consistency throughout the year. This should change this year, as he should be put into the starting five.
Although the Jays should focus on rebuilding this year, that doesn’t mean that they won’t experience success. The schedule should allow them to build up some wins before they get into the heart of the Big East schedule.
In nonconference action, the Jays will be tested early. In their third game of the season, Ohio State visits Omaha for a match up against the coach they almost hired two summers ago in Greg McDermott. Ohio State was a five seed in the NCAA Tournament last season and will be a solid indicator of what we can expect out of the Jays this season.
To start off December, the Jays will have a tough two game stretch, taking on Gonzaga at home before traveling to Lincoln to face in state rival Nebraska.
The Big East figures to be a lot more competitive this season as Villanova must reload and won’t be the same national championship contender they’ve been recently. Teams like Marquette and St. John’s, both whom missed the NCAA Tournament last season, should make big leaps into the top tier of the league this season.
My prediction: At best, the Jays finish the regular season at 21-10 and find a way into the NCAA Tournament as a 9 seed. At worst, the Jays struggle and go 16-15 and miss the postseason. Creighton should finish around 18 wins, which may keep them around the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, but ultimately, the rebuilding year might keep the Jays out of the Tournament this season.