Creighton ready to dance
OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton men's basketball has earned the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region and will open NCAA Tournament play with a game against No. 10-seeded Cincinnati on Friday in Philadelphia, Pa.
The winner of the Creighton-Cincinnati game will play on Sunday against the winner of the game between Duke and Albany.
The Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament champion, Creighton (27-7) will be making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and second overall. Last season the Bluejays were sent to Greensboro, N.C., where they defeated Alabama before falling to North Carolina.
Creighton is led by All-American forward Doug McDermott, who averages 23.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. McDermott shoots 56.1 percent from the field, 49.7 percent from three-point range and 86.0 percent at the line and has been named Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year and MVC Tournament Most Outstanding Player accolades each of the past two seasons. Seniors Gregory Echenique (9.6 ppg., 6.6 rpg., 1.7 bpg.) and Grant Gibbs (8.6 ppg., 5.9 apg., 4.1 apg.) were both named honorable-mention All-Valley, as well.
The Bluejays are coached by Greg McDermott (Northern Iowa, '88), who is 79-29 in his third season at Creighton and 359-224 in 19 years as a head coach overall.
An announcement on gametimes and television coverage will be announced much later this evening.
Creighton Bluejays Pre-NCAA Tournament Notes
-Creighton will be making its 18th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, and second consecutive.
-This will be Creighton's ninth trip to "The Big Dance" in the past 15 years. No other MVC team owns more than nine postseason bids in that span.
-Creighton is 10-18 all-time in NCAA Tournament action. Creighton's last win in the NCAA's came on March 16, 2012, when the Bluejays topped Alabama, 58-57.
- Creighton is one of eight schools to have appeared in 15 straight postseasons, a streak it will extend to 16 this spring. Joining the Jays on the list of teams with streaks of 15 or more straight postseason bids (entering this season) are Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State and Syracuse.
-Creighton will enter the NCAA Tournament with a 27-7 record. Only two teams in school history have earned more wins, as the 2002-03 and 2011-12 squads both finished with 29 victories.
-Head coach Greg McDermott will be making his fifth NCAA Tournament appearance as a Division I head coach. He is 1-4 in his first four appearances.
-Creighton owns 12 MVC Tournament titles all-time, including eight of the last 15. No other MVC school has won more than five in its history.
-Greg McDermott's 79 wins at Creighton are the most by any coach in his first three seasons at an MVC school since Cincinnati's Ed Jucker. Jucker won 84 games from 1959-62 while starting his Bearcats career with consecutive national titles.
-Since the NCAA began seeding the entire tournament in 1979, Creighton's best seed has been a No. 6 seed in 2003. Creighton was also eighth twice (1981, 2012), 10th five times (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007), 11th once (1991), 12th once (2002) and 14th once (1989). This is Creighton's first time as the No. 7 seed.
-The MVC has sent eight (of 36) teams to the Sweet 16 since 1994. Most recently, Northern Iowa defeated UNLV and top-seeded Kansas in 2010 to reach the Regional semifinal.
-Creighton boasts one of the nation's most experienced teams when it comes to postseason play. The Jays nine postseason wins since 2008 rank tied for 16th-most nationally.
-Creighton was ranked 23rd in last Monday's Associated Press poll and 24th in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll.
-Creighton leads the the country in field goal percentage and three-point percentage.
-Creighton is one of two schools with the same starting five in every game this season, joining Stephen F. Austin.
-Creighton's Doug McDermott was named Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year and also MVC Tournament Most Outstanding Player for the second straight year. He's just the fifth player in league history to sweep both accolades in the same season. McDermott was joined on the MVC's All-Tournament Team by Bluejay teammate Gregory Echenique.
-Doug McDermott ranks second nationally in scoring average (23.1 ppg.). His 786 points this season are second-most in school history, trailing only the 801 he scored last season.
-Earlier this season Doug McDermott became the first junior in MVC history to surpass 2,000 career points. The only other players in league history to reach 2,000 career points in three seasons were Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird, who both did it as sophomores-to-seniors.
-Gregory Echenique will enter the NCAA Tournament with 984 points at Creighton (1,342 career if you include Rutgers) and 978 career rebounds (656 at Creighton).
-Grant Gibbs is leading the MVC in assists for the second straight season. His 202 dimes this year are the most by any Creighton player since 1976-77.
-MVC Sixth Man of the Year Ethan Wragge had 15 points in 16 minutes during the MVC Tournament title game. Wragge is one of two players nationally since 1995-96 (Patrick Beilein, Michigan) with at least 220 career three-pointers and 10 or fewer career starts.
-Creighton is 0-2 all-time against Cincinnati. The Bearcats won 66-46 on March 16, 1962 in the NCAA Tournament (in Manhattan, Kan.) and 60-58 on Dec. 28, 1989 (in Honolulu, Hawaii).
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