Creighton extended its winning streak to four with a convincing victory at then-No. 8 Villanova on Saturday. The recent surge has caught the attention of AP Top 25 voters.
The Jays jumped back into the rankings Monday, checking in at No. 21.
They were ranked No. 25 three weeks ago, which marked the first time in two years that CU had earned a spot in the AP Top 25. A loss to Georgetown dropped Creighton out of the poll, but it’s been inching its way back ever since. Last week, the Jays received the highest amount of votes among the unranked teams.
“In order to get that respect nationally, you have to win games, and that’s hard to do in our conference,” coach Greg McDermott said in a video interview released by Creighton. “The fact that we did a good job of protecting our home court and were able to get a couple road wins is a credit to our guys.”
The challenge for CU now is to continue its positive momentum.
The Jays will play at Providence on Wednesday. The Friars, who are desperate for quality wins in pursuit of an NCAA tournament berth, upset then-No. 16 Butler on Saturday.
After hosting St. John’s on Saturday, Creighton takes a trip next week to Seton Hall, which dropped two spots to No. 12 in the AP poll after a home loss to Xavier. Villanova is now ranked No. 10. Butler is No. 19. Marquette is the only other Big East team receiving votes.
The Jays’ weekend win over the Wildcats also made a positive impression on the computer metrics.
CU rose to No. 14 in the NET rankings, the model used by the NCAA selection committee. Creighton is at No. 19 in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings. It’s 15th in KPI, 13th in strength of record and 19th in Sagarin.
A few other notes about the Jays’ NCAA tournament résumé:
» The Bracket Matrix, a website that averages out the predictions from 78 bracket prognosticators, had Creighton slotted in as a No. 5 seed on Monday. Seton Hall and Villanova are both 3 seeds in the Matrix, while Butler is a 4 and Marquette is a 7.
» CU has six Quadrant 1 wins. That’s tied for the fourth-highest total nationally. Creighton is 6-5 in Quad 1 games (it was 3-10 last year). Of the nine games left for the Jays in the regular season, five are slated to be Quad 1 games.
» Wins over Texas Tech (NET No. 29) and Oklahoma (NET No. 49) were the highlights of CU’s nonconference campaign. But Creighton’s victory over Louisiana Tech in November is looking better and better. The Bulldogs (NET No. 79) are tied for first place in Conference USA. North Florida (NET No. 184) is tied for first in the Atlantic Sun.
» The NCAA selection committee will announce its top 16 rankings Saturday, assigning out the top four seeds in each region as if the tournament were to begin after the weekend. For CU to secure a spot in that group, it needs to beat Providence (and maybe get some help elsewhere).