Another big promotion in the college basketball polls Monday produced very little excitement in the Creighton basketball program.
Two wins, including a 101-80 drubbing of No. 6 Villanova, earned the Bluejays a seven-spot promotion from 18th to 11th in the Associated Press rankings. Creighton also jumped from 17th to 12th in the coaches rankings.
Coach Greg McDermott’s response?
“I’m just glad we got that win,” said McDermott, referring to Sunday’s victory over the Wildcats. “We needed that one.”
The victory moved Creighton a half-game ahead of Villanova in Big East championship race. The Bluejays are 11-2 in league play, while the Wildcats dropped to 10-2. The real value of the victory comes when McDermott looks at the teams’ upcoming schedules.
Three of Creighton’s last five league games are on the road at Marquette, Xavier and Georgetown. Villanova must play Tuesday night at Providence, but then finishes up with four of its last five at home.
“Their schedule is a lot more favorable,” McDermott said.
Creighton had jumped to 12th in the rankings two weeks ago, but slipped back after a Feb. 9 loss at St. John’s. That back-and-forth movement might be one reason Monday’s promotion caused very little ripple among the players.
“Rankings are going to go up and down each week,” Creighton guard Jahenns Manigat said. “One thing that they can’t take away from you is winning the regular-season championship or the tournament championship.
“I want to win the Big East. I would rather have that be the thing we celebrate. That’s been our goal from the start.”
In other Monday developments:
» Creighton’s Doug McDermott was named the Big East player of the week for a league-record seventh time this season. McDermott averaged 32.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in the Bluejays’ win over Butler and Villanova.
» McDermott also was named the Naismith Award national player of the week. He also earned the same honor from CBSSports.com and NBCSports.com.
» Creighton’s official NCAA RPI improved to eighth, the same position it was before the loss to St. John’s. Creighton had been 12th last week.
» The Bluejays regained the No. 1 spot in 3-point field goal percentage after slipping to third last week. Creighton is making a nation-leading 42.2 percent of its shots from beyond the arc. The Bluejays also are first in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.81), second in 3-point field-goals per game (10.4), 3-point field goals made (259) and assists per game (18.1) and third in total assists (452).
» McDermott’s 39-point performance against Villanova vaulted him into the national scoring lead. He is averaging 25.9 points per game and is third in points with 647. Two of McDermott’s teammates also are in the top 10 nationally: Ethan Wragge is third in 3-point field-goal percentage (.483) and ninth in 3-point baskets per game (3.3), while Manigat is seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.62).