An outright Big East regular-season title may not be enough of a résumé boost to ensure Creighton secures an at-large NCAA tournament berth.
That’s how the Jays are approaching this week, anyway — like they still have to prove themselves.
CU, the top seed, hosts No. 4 seed Marquette (7-8-2) in the league tournament semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Morrison Stadium.
“At the moment, we haven’t even made the NCAA tournament,” Creighton coach Elmar Bolowich said. “We could be the Big East champion and not go to the NCAA tournament. If we lose our semifinal, then it could be all over for us. That’s where we’re at.”
So the Jays (11-4-2), who missed the NCAA tournament last year, will be plenty motivated.
They enter Wednesday with a No. 30 RPI. That’s a bit concerning for a couple of reasons: The rating would dip if CU were to lose again, and there are only 24 at-large spots available in the 48-team NCAA tourney (the Jays are presumably close to the cut line).
Plus, Creighton has an 0-3-1 record against the RPI top 50. Its marquee nonconference win came against a Clemson team that finished 2-6 in the ACC. CU dropped three spots to No. 17 in this week’s coaches poll.
But the Jays can eliminate any doubt by beating Marquette Wednesday and defeating either No. 19 Georgetown (10-4-3) or Providence (10-6-2) Sunday. That would earn them the Big East tournament title and the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. So that’ll be the goal this week.