Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Creighton -- Some Questions Answered

A partial answer to question #2 is...
The Blue Jays have released their out of conference schedule, and it appears they Coach Greg McDermott has upgraded the slate for the 2016-17 season, with a few caveats. Borrowing a leaf from Anonymous Eagles' playbook, I have averaged Pomeroy's 2016 rankings for the slate announced late last week, along with Pomeroy's rankings for the out of conference slate they played last season. I also added the RPI rankings (averaged again, not using the algorithm for the SOS) as a point of comparison. As of last March, the NCAA's Selection Committee (for better or worse...) continues to use the RPI as a point of reference. On to the details (again borrowing Anonymous Eagles' format (Kenpom rank is followed by RPI).

2015-16 Season:
Low: Oklahoma (7, 6)
High: Texas-San Antonio (339, 348 out of 351)
Average of Creighton's 13 opponents (Pomeroy): 187.2
Standard Deviation of Rank (Pomeroy): 105.6
Median Opponent Ranking (Pomeroy): 180

My question dealt at length with problems in the 2015-16 schedule, so I am not going rehash the argument here.

2016-17 Season:
Low: Wisconsin (33, 41)
High: Longwood (290, 324 our of 351)
Average of Creighton's 9 known opponents (Pomeroy): 167.3
Standard Deviation of Rank (Pomeroy): 85.9
Median Opponent Ranking (Pomeroy): 172

The numbers reflect last season's performance, and are -- at best -- only partially predictive of performance this season. They do suggest that McDermott has considered a more balanced schedule with fewer #200 and higher ranked programs, along with fewer top #50 programs. The second and third games from the Paradise Jam will be known only when the tournament is played, but looking at a second round match-up with North Carolina State (the better of the NCSU/Montana match-up) is not a stretch. The numbers improve at the margins in that scenario; the average and median drop to 158.8 and 131 respectively, while the standard deviation rises to 86.2 A quick look at the entire bracket suggests that Creighton would be the favorite in their side of the bracket, with (most likely) Mississippi (or less likely) Saint Joseph's/Oral Roberts the other bracket's contribution to the Championship game.

Scheduling Division 2 Truman State as the last out of conference opponent is interesting. With no obvious historical or personal connection to Truman State, there are pros and cons to weigh with this decision. The game is scheduled early in the Big East season and will be a respite to the conference grind. As a Division 2 opponent, the Jays' SOS will not suffer for scheduling the game. The school will include the stats in the records for the players and the history, while the NCAA will treat the stats and result as an exhibition game. While the Selection Committee will disregard the result when they analyze for the post season, it would be hard to unring the bell. This most likely is a guarantee game, a practice discouraged by the NCAA.

The schedule with Pomeroy and RPI

18-NovWashington St.NPac12204207
26-NovLoyola (MD)HPat286257
17-DecOral RobertsHSumm172149
20-DecArizona StAPac1210498
14-JanTruman St.HD2NRNR

More information for question #3 (and question #1)...
Kobe Paras, a consensus Top 150 recruit who reopened his recruitment when denied admission at UCLA in late June signed with Creighton earlier this week and will be available in the fall. At 6'5" and 190 pounds the Californian, variously described as an off guard and small forward, will join David Mintz as the second true freshman in the Blue Jays' four member incoming class. Expected to carve out a role as a wing in McDermott's system, Paras is known for his speed in the open court, quickness and his ability to score in bunches. At 190 he may have to put on some muscle to add an inside dimension to his game.

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