OMAHA, Neb. -- The Creighton men's basketball team will head to Greensboro, N.C., to play Alabama on Friday, March 16th in second-round action of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.
Creighton (28-5) earned a No. 8 seed in the tournament, while Alabama (21-11) is the No. 9 seed. The winner of the Creighton-Alabama game will play on Sunday against the winner of the game between North Carolina and either Lamar or Vermont.
Creighton guaranteed itself a 17th all-time NCAA Tournament bid by winning the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on March 4th. This is Creighton's eighth appearance in the last 14 years, and 15th straight postseason appearance.
Creighton leads the nation in field goal percentage (.509) and also ranks third in three-point percentage (.425) and assists per game (17.9). Sophomore forward Doug McDermott ranks third nationally in scoring (23.2) and has been named MVC Player of the Year, MVC Tournament Most Outstanding Player and an All-American after setting a school-record for points in a season (765). He's joined in double-figures by senior point guard Antoine Young (12.5 ppg., 4.4 apg.). The Bluejays also boast the MVC Defensive Player of the Year, Gregory Echenique, who averages 9.8 points. 7.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. The Bluejays are coached by Greg McDermott.
Elsewhere around the MVC, Wichita State earned a No. 5 seed and will take on No. 12-seeded VCU.
Omaha will also host four games on Friday and two on Sunday. CenturyLink Center Omaha hosts Missouri vs. Norfolk State and Florida vs. Virginia; while Kansas vs. Detroit and St. Mary's vs. Purdue is also on the docket.
The game will tip at 1:40 pm Eastern (12:40 pm Central) and be televised on TBS.
-Creighton will be making its 17th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, and first since 2007.
-This will be Creighton’s eighth trip to “The Big Dance” in the past 14 years. No other MVC team owns more than eight postseason bids in that span.
-Creighton is 9-17 all-time in NCAA Tournament action. Creighton’s last win in the NCAA’s cme on March 15, 2002, when the Jays topped Florida in double-overtime, 83-82.
- Creighton is one of nine schools to have appeared in 14 straight postseasons, a streak it will extend to 15 this spring. Joining the Jays on the list of teams with streaks of 14 or more straight postseason bids (entering this season) are Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Oklahoma State and Syracuse.
-Creighton will enter the NCAA Tournament with a 28-5 record. Only the 2002-03 team that finished 29-5 has had more wins in school history. The only programs with more than 28 Division I wins this season are Syracuse (30) and Kentucky (30).
-With last Sunday’s win vs. Illinois State, Greg McDermott became the first coach in league history to win the MVC Tournament at multiple schools. He also won a title in 2004 as Northern Iowa’s coach.
-Creighton owns 11 MVC Tournament titles all-time, including seven of the last 14. No other MVC school has won more than five in its history.
-Greg McDermott’s 51 wins at Creighton are the most by any coach in his first two seasons at an MVC school since Cincinnati’s Ed Jucker. Jucker won 56 games from 1960-62 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 once (1981), 10th five times (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007), 11th once (1991), 12th once (2002) and 14th once (1989).
-The MVC has sent eight (of 34) 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 have played 12 postseason games in the past four years, including six last season and four in 2011.
-Creighton was ranked 19th in Monday's Associated Press poll and 22nd in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll. It’s the first time all season that the Jays have been ranked higher in the AP poll.
-Creighton leads the country in field goal percentage and is third nationally in three-point percentage and assists per game.
-Creighton’s 2,641 points this year are 48 shy of a school-record for one season. Creighton’s 2002-03 team scored 2,688 points in 34 games, while last year’s team scored 2,684 points in 39 contests.
-Creighton is one of five schools with the same starting five in every game this season, joining Missouri, Nevada, Wisconsin and Youngstown State.-Creighton is one of two teams nationally (with Murray State) with 10 or more true road wins and three top-50 RPI victories. -Creighton’s Doug McDermott was named Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year and also MVC Tournament Most Outstanding Player. 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 teammates Antoine Young and Gregory Echenique.
-Doug McDermott ranks third nationally in scoring average (23.2 ppg.). His 765 points this season are a Creighton record, and trail only Oscar Robertson & Larry Bird for most in MVC history by a sophomore.
-In the past week, Doug McDermott has been named a finalist for the Naismith and Wooden Awards, a second-team All-American by Sporting News, and a first-team All-American by ESPN.com’s Jason King.
-The 33 points scored by Doug McDermott in the MVC Tournament title game tied the most in an MVC Tournament game by a Creighton player (Nate Funk). It also tied the most in a championship game by any player since the event moved to St. Louis in 1991.
-Gregory Echenique will enter the NCAA Tournament with 997 career points in his college career, including 639 at Creighton.
-Grant Gibbs had a career-high 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and no turnovers in Sunday’s MVC Tournament title game. He’s the only Creighton player to post a 20-7-5 game without a turnover in the past 25 years.
-The only player on the Creighton roster with experience playing in an NCAA Tournament game is Grant Gibbs, who played at Gonzaga in 2010.
-Antoine Young has averaged 15.9 points and 4.4 assists in his last 10 games. He ranks 17th in school history with 1,330 points and third with 496 career assists.
TICKET INFO FOR FOLLOWING THE JAYS TO THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Creighton men’s basketball team will take on Alabama on Friday (game time TBA) at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. While the Greensboro site is not sold out and all-session tickets are available, fans are encouraged to contact the Creighton Athletics Ticket Office regarding the availability of single-session tickets to Creighton’s game on Friday. Deadline is Tuesday at noon. Fans should feel free to call 402-280-JAYS or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
MORE NCAA TOURNEY TICKET INFO - WHAT IS PRIMESPORT AND TICKET EXCHANGE?
For sites that are sold-out, fans can still purchase official NCAA ticket packages from PrimeSport, the official ticket and hospitality provider and official ticket exchange provider of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. For more information, go to http://ncaa.com/hospitality or call 800-591-9198. Fans looking to buy tickets from other fans can do so at the Official NCAA Ticket Exchange. The Official NCAA Ticket Exchange allows fans to buy and sell tickets online to every round of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship in a convenient, safe, and guaranteed environment. Ticket holders who are unable to attend their games or find their team eliminated prior to the final rounds of the tournament, have a place to safely sell their tickets, and the buyer, in turn, can be assured that the tickets are authentic and guaranteed. For more information, go to http://ncaa.com/ncaaexchange or call 800-591-9198.
TRAVEL & LODGING INFO FOR FOLLOWING THE JAYS TO THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
An airplane charter for fans is highly unlikely due to high costs/short turnaround time. Creighton’s team hotel in the city of destination is assigned by the NCAA – based on seeding – and that information won’t be known until after the selection show Sunday night. The NCAA holds a limited number of rooms at the hotels specifically for each team’s travel party although some properties have rooms available for fans (usually at a much-higher rate) while some properties are already sold-out of rooms with the exception of the limited number being held for the team’s travel party.