Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tasty Knowledge Nuggets

Now that I’ve grabbed your attention (and either have your mouth watering with thoughts of delectable snacks of some sort or have grossed you out) with the title, it is time to offer some thanks and recognition to some of the hardest working members of the Creighton athletics department.

Players play the games. Coaches prepare them for the battles. But the unsung heroes of Jays games are Rob Anderson and the rest of the Sports Information staff at CU. Their responsibilities are extensive, their knowledge of the team and the college game Rainman-esque, and their efforts exhaustive and consistent.

If you want to riddle your mind with every possible statistic you can think of related to Creighton’s year in, year out quest for MVC championships, grab some of Rob’s game notes via some time. For obsessed fans like me, it is the ultimate resource for feeding my addiction to CU hoops.

So, in honor of Rob’s efforts and the work of the entire Sports Information staff, here are just a few of the tasty nuggets that can be found in the notes preceding this year’s Arch Madness tournament.


Can You Forecast This?
Even though the games are played indoors at Scottrade Center, the weather in the St. Louis metro area may play a bigger factor that you’d expect. According to historical weather data found on for St. Louis, consider the following information:
  • Creighton is 12-1 since 1999 when playing MVC Tournament games when the high temperature that day was 49 degrees or warmer.
  • Creighton is 8-1 since 1999 when playing MVC Tournament games when the high is 47 degrees or cooler.
  • Creighton is 0-2 since 1999 when playing MVC Tournament games and the high that day was exactly 48 degrees.
  • The forecast for this weekend is nothing short of brilliant. expects it to be 64 degrees on Friday, 62 degrees on Saturday, and 53 degrees on championship Sunday.

What A Win Friday Would Mean
With a win on Friday, Creighton would...

  • Improve to 26-6 on the season, and win its 11th straight game.
  • Win its 13th straight game in the MVC Tournament when playing as the No. 2 seed.
  • Improve to 21-4 in MVC Tournament action since 1999.
  • Reach the semifinals for the ninth time in the past 11 seasons.
  • Improve to 16-11 in quarterfinal round action of the MVC Tournament.
  • Improve to 36-17 at the MVC Tournament all-time, tops in wins and winning percentage (.679) in the event’s history.
  • Give the Valley’s No. 2 seed a quarterfinal round win for the 11th straight year.
  • Head coach Dana Altman would improve to 21-7 in MVC Tournament games, extending his league record for tournament victories.

Creighton owns a 35-17 all-time record in MVC Tournament games. Creighton’s 10 MVC Tournament titles are five more than any other school, while its .673 winning percentage in league tourney action is also tops. Creighton is 15-11 in the quarterfinals, 10- 5 in the semifinals and 10-1 in the championship games.

Creighton owns six league tournament titles in the last 10 years. On a national basis, the only schools that can claim this are Gonzaga (8), Winthrop (8), Duke (7) and Creighton (6). Creighton’s 10 Valley Tournament titles are twice as many as the next closest school, Southern Illinois (5).

Since the start of the 1998-99 season, Creighton owns 16-0 record on the first day of events they have played back-to-back games in. They are 14-2 during the second day of back-toback games, and 6-2 when playing on a third straight day.

Voted the preseason favorites in the MVC way back in October, Creighton lived up to those expectations this year with a regular-season title. Since 1985-86, the preseason poll has now accurately predicted the league’s regular-season champ 11 times out of 23 polls. In only nine of the previous 23 preseason polls was the preseason favorite the eventual Valley Tournament champion. However, the past three times that has happened, it’s been Creighton (2007, 2003, 1999). Only four previous times has the preseason favorite won both the regular-season and tournament titles (1988 Bradley; 1991 Creighton; 1997 Illinois State; 1998 Illinois State).

Creighton is one of just 12 teams in the top 52 of the RPI with at least 10 Division I wins away from home (thru 2/28). Joining Creighton on that list is powerhouses North Carolina, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Memphis, Xavier, Clemson, Florida State, Butler, Utah State and Gonzaga.

Creighton attracted 276,115 fans this season, a figure that is the most in the 102-year history of the MVC. The Jays are also on pace to set an MVC record in average attendance. Creighton is averaging 16,242 fans currently (10th nationally), just ahead of the 15,909 average from 2006-07.

Booker Woodfox has made 43-of-44 free-throw attempts away from home this season (97.7 percent), including 25-of-25 in MVC road games this year.

Creighton’s 10-game win streak is tied for third longest nationally.

Creighton currently has 25 wins, all against Division I opponents. According to Jerry Palm from, every team in the last 15 years with at least 25 Division I wins from a top-10 conference has made the NCAA Tournament. The MVC is currently the ninth ranked conference. Overall, only four teams have missed the NCAA’s with 25 or more Division I wins in the last 15 years...Robert Morris last year, Akron and Vermont in 2007 and Butler in 2002.

Random Valley Tournament Facts…

  • Creighton is the only Valley school that has not appeared in the play-in round since that format began in 1997.
  • Creighton has not gone consecutive seasons without winning a Valley Tournament title since 1997-98. CU has won titles in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007 in recent years.
  • Creighton is 7-1 in its last eight MVC Tournament games when playing an opponent with a better seed than the Bluejays.

Random Valley Tournament Facts (about possible quarterfinal opponents)…

  • Creighton has scored exactly 70 points in all five previous MVC Tournament meetings with Wichita State, winning four of those contests.
  • Five of the previous six Bluejay teams to beat Missouri State in Springfield went on to win the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and reach the NCAA Tournament that March. Creighton won in Springfield, 65-59, this year.

Creighton’s defense has been stellar in the second halves of its current 10-game win streak. The Jays have held opponents to 38.8 percent from the floor (109-281) after intermission and just 29.9 percent from three-point range (26-87) in those 10 triumphs.

In the past 10 games (all CU wins), Josh Dotzler has 40 assists, seven turnovers and 19 steals in 216 minutes. Despite being CU’s primary ballhandler, Dotzler owned just 18 turnovers in 18 MVC games this season, including 15 league games with zero or one miscue this winter. He ranked sixth nationally with a 3.00 assist/turnover ratio (now 3.12) through games of last Thursday.

Creighton has made four or more three-pointers in 64 consecutive games, which ranks eighth nationally.

The rebound differential between Creighton and its opponent has stood at 10 or larger in 16 of the 31 games to date. The Jays have won the boards by 10 or more five times (going 4-1), but lost on the glass by double-digits on 11 occasions (going 7-4). In the 15 games that the rebound discrepancy has been a single-digit, CU is 14-1. Creighton is 13-1 when winning the rebound battle this year, and 18-2 when they are -9 or better on the glass.

Creighton has shot 104-for-197 in the final seven minutes of regulation in its 25 wins this season, good for 52.8 percent. That figure includes Stinnett shooting 24-of-28 from 2-point range (85.7 percent), and the team shooting 34-of-81 (42.0 percent) from three-point range in that time range. On the other hand in the final seven minutes of its six losses, Creighton is 16-of-54 from the field (29.6 percent) and 5-of-26 from 3-point range (19.2 percent). Stinnett is 0-for-9 from the field in the last seven minutes of CU’s six losses this season.

Creighton has shot the ball well from the free throw line, moving up to ninth nationally with its 76.0 percent rate from the charity stripe. That’s even more impressive when you consider CU’s 525 free throw makes are also 10th nationally. Creighton and North Carolina are the only teams in the country to rank in the top-10 in both free-throw makes and free-throw percentage.

Booker Woodfox is 83-of-163 (50.9 percent) from three-point range this season, best nationally. For his career, he is 139-of-295, which computes to 47.1 percent, just ahead of the school-record figure achieved by noted marksman Kyle Korver. The only previous player in CU history to shoot better than 44.5 percent from three-point range in their career was two-time MVC Player of the Year Korver, who made 45.3 percent from downtown while hitting 371-of-819 from long-range.


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