Creighton's 2019-20 schedule is now out with the Big East slate released Thursday.
Three takeaways on Creighton's schedule are below:
1. The schedule seems slightly weaker than last year’s gauntlet.
Creighton certainly has plenty of tests. Of the four NCAA tournament teams the Jays will face in this season's nonconference, only one will play CU in Omaha (Oklahoma) — and the Big East, on the whole, should be better after a down year.
But last season Creighton played just three games against teams that ranked outside of the NET's top 150. Ultimately, CU finished with the 28th-toughest strength of schedule in the country (third-toughest among league squads).
This year's schedule has marquee opponents, yes. But it also appears to include a few more blowout-potential games for Creighton to boost its efficiency numbers, which now factor into the NCAA selection committee's new sorting metric.
2. The Jays could make an early statement in league play. Again.
Last year the challenging start to conference action got the better of CU, which suffered a four-game losing streak in January and never again rose its league record over .500 (they finished 9-9). Home defeats to first- and second-place finishers, Marquette and Villanova, occurred during that stretch.
Big East play opens in a similar fashion this time around. In its first five league games, CU plays at home against Marquette and Villanova, and travels to Butler, Xavier and Georgetown. If the Jays start strong, they could emphatically declare themselves as conference title contenders. But if they don’t? They’ll likely be climbing uphill in February again.
3. The bye weeks are timed well.
As it stands now, the Jays have 10 days off between the Dec. 21 game at Arizona State and the start of Big East play. They also have a week off at the end of January before a road trip to Villanova. And they’re off for a week again at the end of February before traveling to St. John’s.
It's still possible Creighton could add an additional nonconference opponent during those schedule breaks. CU has scheduled a non-Division I opponent in each of the last three years, and the Jays have announced just 30 total games for this season (the max is 31).
But it could be that the extra prep time will prove valuable. Last year, Creighton got seven days to reset and then it picked up a critical road win at then-No. 10 Marquette.