Sunday, March 18, 2012 ● 5:15 pm (EST)
#19 Creighton Bluejays (29-5) vs. #4 North Carolina Tar Heels (30-5)
Greensboro, N.C. ● Greensboro Coliseum • CBS
• Creighton is now 10-17 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 7-10 mark in its first game.
- Creighton’s win on Friday was its first NCAA Tournament win since March 15, 2002.
- Creighton is looking to win consecutive NCAA Tournament games for the first time in program history.
- Creighton is looking to become the first MVC team to reach the Sweet 16 since Northern Iowa did so in 2010 (by knocking off No. 1 seed Kansas).
- Creighton has tied a school record with 29 wins, set by the 2002-03 team, which finished 29-5. That team was bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Central Michigan.
- Since 1994, the MVC has sent eight teams to the Sweet 16 (Tulsa 1994, 1995; Missouri State 1999; Southern Illinois 2002, 2007; Bradley 2006; Wichita State 2006; Northern Iowa 2010).
- Creighton is one of seven schools in the NCAA with multiple postseason wins in each of the past two seasons (Butler, Creighton, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State, VCU). All but Duke won their first postseason game this season as well.
- Prior to this season, 10 No. 8 Seeds have made the Sweet 16 since 1985, most recently Butler last year.
- Creighton’s been a basketball hotbed for years, but it’s safe to say no day has been bigger than Sunday. In addition to the CU game vs. North Carolina at 5:15 pm Eastern on Sunday, the Bluejay women play Saint John’s at 5:05 pm Eastern on Sunday in Norman, Okla., for its first NCAA Tournament game in 10 years. And if that wasn’t enough, Creighton is also the host institution for the 2nd/3rd-round games in Omaha this weekend. Florida faces Norfolk State at 6:10 pm Eastern, followed by a game between Purdue and Kansas.
- Creighton’s win on Friday improved the MVC to 6-3 against the SEC in NCAA Tournament play since 1994. In that same span, the MVC is 1-3 versus the ACC in the Big Dance, with Southern Illinois defeating Virginia Tech in the round of 32 in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
- Creighton leads the country in field goal percentage (.507), and also tops all remaining NCAA Tournament teams in assists per game (17.8). In addition, Doug McDermott leads the country’s NCAA Tournament players with 23.0 points per game, just ahead of fellow Greensboro participant C.J. McCollum of Lehigh.
- Sunday’s Creighton-North Carolina game features the nation’s two-highest remaining scoring teams in the NCAA Tournament. North Carolina ranks second nationally with 81.8 points per game, while Creighton is ninth at 79.4 points per game. It’s worth noting that Creighton has won its last 54 games when scoring 90 points or more, a streak that dates to January of 1988.
- Creighton entered the NCAA Tournament shooting 50.9 percent on the season. Since 2005-06, teams that have shot 50.8 percent or better are 18-4 in the NCAA Tournament, including two national titles (Florida in 2007, Kansas in 2008).
- Creighton is 4-0 against teams from the “BCS” conferences this season, including three wins over the Big Ten (Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern) and one over the SEC (Alabama).
- MVC schools are 1-7 all-time against No. 1 seeds. In 2010, Northern Iowa beat top-seeded Kansas, 69-67.
- The Bluejays have not faced a team from the ACC since losing to Miami 53-52 in the second round of the NIT on March 20, 2006 in Omaha.
- Creighton is 0-2 against the ACC in the NCAA Tournament, losing to Maryland in the second round in 1999 and falling to the Terrapins in the first round in 1975.
- Creighton is 0-2 all-time against North Carolina;
o L, 64-72, Dec. 19, 1960 in Omaha
o L, 86-106, Dec. 12, 1970 in West Palm Beach, Fla., at Gold Coast Classic
- Creighton is 1-9 against the ACC all-time with its only win coming against Clemson, 87-67, in Omaha on Dec. 15, 1962. (Creighton owns wins over Virginia Tech, Florida State, Miami and Boston College when the teams were not members of the ACC)
- The highest-ranked team Creighton owns a victory over is No. 4 Arizona State, defeating the Sun Devils 84-83 on Dec. 13, 1963. (UNC is ranked No. 4 in this week’s AP poll).
- Creighton has lost nine straight games to AP top 25 teams since a 67-61 win over No. 11 Southern Illinois on March 4, 2007 in the MVC Tournament title game.
- Creighton has lost 20 straight games to teams ranked in the AP top-10, since a 75-69 win over No. 6 Marquette on Feb. 9, 1974.
- Creighton’s game against UNC will mark the first time a ranked Creighton team will play a top 25 team since losing at No. 19 Xavier 75-73 on Dec. 31, 2002, when the Bluejays were ranked 15th.
- The Bluejays are 1-4 against ranked team while the Bluejays are a ranked team. The only victory was an 80-74 win over #16 Louisville in an NCAA consolation game on March 16, 1974.
- Creighton is now 50-17 as a ranked team.
- Creighton has won eight straight games. On a national basis, only Lehigh (9) has a longer streak, while Murray State and Norfolk State also have eight consecutive wins.
- Creighton’s 23 points in the first half on Friday against Alabama were its fewest points scored in a half this season. (Previous low was 26 against Evansville on Feb. 7)
- Creighton’s five free throws made against Alabama were its fewest makes in a game this season. (previous low was six at Saint Joseph’s on Dec. 10). Creighton’s 38.5 free throw percentage against Alabama on Friday was its lowest of the season (previous low was .519 vs. Campbell on Nov. 25.
- Creighton has set a school record for points scored in a season, with 2,699 points this year. The former record of 2,688 points was set by the 29-win 2002-03 team.
- Creighton is 4-0 in one-point games this year and 6-0 in games decided by two points or less, following its 58-57 win over Alabama on Friday
- A one-point margin of victory is Creighton’s most common margin of victory this year, having done so four times. The second most common margin of victory for Creighton is 19 points (3-0).
- Creighton overcame an 11-point deficit to defeat Alabama. It has now overcome double-digit deficits for a victory six times this season (at San Diego State, at Wichita State, vs. Northern Iowa, vs. Evansville, vs. Drake, vs. Alabama). All six of those teams made the postseason.
- Creighton has won eight straight games, including six away from Omaha. Creighton now has a school-record 15 wins outside of Omaha (road/neutral combined).
- Creighton’s last seven wins have come by a combined 44 points, including three one-point wins, a two-point win and a four-point overtime win.
- With its win over Alabama, Creighton improved to 8-4 on the season when trailing at halftime this year.
- Creighton, which improved to 5-0 on Friday’s this year, is 5-0 on Sundays this year.
- The winner of the Creighton-North Carolina game will advance to play the winner of Sunday’s South Florida-Ohio game being contested in Nashville. That Regional semifinal would take place on Friday in St. Louis, Mo., the same city where Creighton won an MVC Tournament two weeks ago and sold a league record 2,575 all-session Tournament tickets.
- Creighton and North Carolina have two common opponents this season – Long Beach State and Evansville. Creighton went 3-1 against those teams (2-1 vs. UE, 1-0 vs. LBSU). UNC beat both teams once.
- Creighton has a few connections with North Carolina:
o Creighton sophomore Doug McDermott and UNC sophomore Harrison Barnes played together at Ames (Iowa) High School, leading their teams to consecutive state championships during their junior and senior campaigns, winning 53 straight games during that span. McDermott spent most of his junior year coming off the bench, yet still earned second-team all-state accolades before ascending to the starting five for his senior campaign.
- Creighton men’s soccer coach Elmar Bolowich finished his first season with the Bluejays in December of 2011. Bolowich came to Creighton after serving as head coach at North Carolina for 22 seasons. Bolowich is the winningest head coach in UNC soccer history, leading UNC to the 2001 NCAA title and the College Cup (Final Four) in 2008, 2009 and 2010 before leading Creighton to the College Cup in 2011.
• As Greg McDermott discussed following Friday’s win, few could have predicted how the paths of Doug McDermott and Harrison Barnes have crossed. Barnes was the first freshman ever named a preseason All-American, while serious consideration was given to redshirting Doug McDermott before injuries last season to two other Bluejay forwards (current teammate Ethan Wragge and graduated senior Casey Harriman).
- Head coach Greg McDermott is now 1-3 in the NCAA Tournament, 1-0 as Creighton’s head coach after losing all three of his appearances with Northern Iowa.
- A win on Sunday would make Creighton the sixth team in MVC history to win 30+ games in a season. Indiana State’s 1979 team owns the record with 33 wins, while the last team to do it was the 2010 Northern Iowa team. Current Creighton head coach Greg McDermott recruited several members of that team, including starting center Jordan Eglseder and starting point guard Kwadzo Ahelegbe.
- Head coach Greg McDermott is now 52-21 in two seasons as Creighton’s head coach. It’s the most wins by a Missouri Valley Conference coach in his first two seasons at an MVC school since Cincinnati’s Ed Jucker from 1960-62, when Jucker won 56 games (and national titles both seasons).
- Head coach Greg McDermott is 0-2 as a head coach against teams from the ACC, falling to Duke while at Iowa State and losing to Georgia Tech while at Northern Iowa in an NCAA Tournament game.
- All four NCAA games Greg McDermott has coached in have been decided by five or fewer points. Each of his first three games were 5-point losses, before Creighton delivered a one-point win on Friday.
- Greg McDermott is 7-23 in his career against ranked teams, but 6-4 when head coach of a MVC team versus ranked opponents.
- Creighton is 18-117 all-time against team ranked in the Associated Press poll, including 0-1 under Greg McDermott (#21 BYU, Dec. 1, 2010).
- Creighton assistant coach Steve Merfeld is no longer the last head coach to lead a No. 15 seed to a win over a No. 2 seed. Merfeld was the head coach at Hampton, when his 15th-seeded Pirates knocked off second-seeded Iowa State in 2001. His Hampton team was the last No. 15 seed to win a game in the NCAA Tournament before two No. 15 seeds turned the trick on Friday (Lehigh in Greensboro, Norfolk State in Omaha).
- Creighton is now 5-0 on neutral floors this year; Friday’s win over Alabama, 3-0 at the MVC Tournament in St. Louis and a win over Iowa in Des Moines in November.
- Friday marked the first time all season that Creighton won a game with a worse field goal percentage than its opponent. Creighton is
- Doug McDermott recorded his team-leading 11th double-double of the season on Friday, the 20th double-double of his career, leading the team with 16 points and 10 rebounds against Alabama.
- Doug McDermott has made 299 field goals this year, just four shy of Bob Portman’s single-season school-record 303 set in 1967-78. McDermott’s 299 field goals this year far outdistance second-place Kevin Jones’ 260 for West Virginia this fall.
- Doug McDermott has now scored 781 points this season, adding to his school record and moving up the MVC single-season scoring charts. He now ranks 12th on the MVC single-season scoring list, seven points shy of the top-10 which currently features Hersey Hawkins, Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, Xavier McDaniel and Lewis Lloyd.
- Doug McDermott also moved into the Creighton career top-15, as his 1,362 career points rank 15th in school history, moving past Duan Cole (1,361) on the list. Just a sophomore, he’s just 754 points away from CU’s career record of 2,116 points held by Rodney Buford.
- Doug McDermott’s 1,362 career points are the most by any college player in his first two seasons since Davidson’s Stephen Curry from 2006-08. A North Carolina native, Curry had 1,661 points in his first two years with the Wildcats and led his team to the Elite 8 as a sophomore, including a 41 point effort in Greensboro against UNC Greensboro. Curry scored 94 points in three career college games in Greensboro.
- Last season Doug McDermott joined Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant as the only freshmen since 2002-03 with at least 581 points, 280 rebounds and 47 or more three-point baskets. McDermott, who has already reached those milestones in points and three-pointers, enters Sunday’s game with 279 rebounds this year. No player nationally since 1996-97 has done it as both a freshman and sophomore. In fact, the only player (of any year) to do it twice was former Duke forward Kyle Singler, who did it in both 2008-09 and 2009-10.
- Gregory Echenique now has 55 blocked shots on the season, tying his 2010-11 season total, which is also tied for 10th in single-season school history. He’s led the MVC in blocked shots each of the last two seasons.
- Gregory Echenique surpassed 1,000 career points in Creighton’s win over Alabama. Echenique has now scored 1,003 points in his collegiate career (645 at Creighton, 358 at Rutgers).
- Antoine Young surpassed 500 career assists on Friday, as he led the team with five helpers. Young now has 501 career assists, one of only three players in school history to reach 500.