The Jays will open their 2019-20 season with a home game against Kennesaw State. And we’ve got a full breakdown of the matchup:
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2018-19 Record: 6-26, 3-13 Atlantic Sun
KenPom offensive efficiency: 338th last year (CU: 47th)
KenPom defensive efficiency: 299th last year (CU: 83rd)
Trending: It’s the first year for new coach Amir Abdur-Rahim, a fast-rising 38-year-old who got the Kennesaw State job after stints as an assistant at Georgia, Texas A&M, College of Charleston and Murray State. We’ll see how quickly he can make an impact. The Owls haven’t had a winning season in 14 years.
Series history: CU won the only other meeting 75-57 on Nov. 26, 2010 in Omaha.
Three players to watch
Senior guard Tyler Hooker: The 5-foot-10 playmaker has a quick dribble and can be a problem when he’s going downhill on a right-hand drive. He wasn’t overly efficient last year, but he still ranked second in the A-Sun at 19.0 points per game.
Sophomore guard Danny Lewis: The only other Owl who averaged double figures last year. He’s got a slender 6-foot-4 frame but he shot 35.4% from 3-point range.
Freshman guard Terrell Burden: He’s a shifty 5-foot-10 point guard who prefers to work his way into the lane and creatively finish among the trees. He averaged 10.5 points per game on the Nike EYBL circuit last year (just 3 of 22 from 3-point range, though).
Three keys for Creighton
1. Stop the dribble: Kennesaw State got 59% of its points inside the arc last year, the highest rate in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy’s data. The Owls do have some new pieces after a coaching change — but a sudden infusion of shooting talent seems unlikely (in fact, their best shooter last year, Bobby Parker, decided to transfer). So one would assume their plan Tuesday will be to drive the ball right at CU’s defense. The Jays have to be solid on the ball.
2. Clean up on the glass: Kennesaw State doesn’t have a ton of size, but the activity and athleticism of 6-foot-6 Ugo Obineke and 6-foot-8 Bryson Lockley helped the Owls lead the Atlantic Sun in offensive rebounding percentage during league play last season. A commitment to finishing defensive possessions with a board will be a key all year for an undersized Creighton squad. Tuesday’s game will be its first test.
3. Don’t settle on offense: Of the Jays’ 43 halftime points in an exhibition win over McKendree on Friday, just six of them came from behind the 3-point line. They weren’t shooting well early, sure. But they also didn’t rely solely on the jump shot. They had 13 buckets in the paint and eight made free throws. They attacked. That aggressiveness has to be part of the recipe Tuesday, whether the 3s are going in or not.
ESPN’s BPI: Creighton’s win probability is 96.5%
KenPom: Creighton wins 89-63
Jon Nyatawa’s take: Kennesaw State’s backcourt doesn’t appear to have a great deal of length and size, so Creighton’s guards should feel comfortable to operate their fast-paced offense. The Jays newcomers are still learning — there will be plenty of mistakes. But CU is the better team. 87-66.
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2016: Creighton players from left Toby Hegner, Tyler Clement and Kobe Paras react to a play in the first half. The Jays would lose to Rhode Island 84-72 in the first round.
2016: Creighton's Justin Patton reacts to a call as he fouls out of the game.
2016: Creighton's Toby Hegner reacts to the loss to Rhode Island in the locker room after the game.
2016: Creighton's Marcus Foster is fouled by Rhode Island's Cyril Langevine.
2014: Creighton coach Greg McDermott hugs his son, Doug McDermott, as he leaves the game during the final moments of an 85-55 loss to Baylor.
2014: Doug McDermott, from left, Ethan Wragge, Will Artino, Jahenns Manigat and Austin Chatman sit on the bench during the game's closing minutes.
2014: CU's Doug McDermott gets a clear shot at the basket.
2014: CU's Austin Chatman, center, and the rest of the team take in the loss in the locker room after the game.
2014: Creighton's Ethan Wragge hits a second-half three point basket in front of the Creighton bench during a 76-66 Jays' victory.
2014: CU's Grant Gibbs fights with Louisiana's Elfrid Payton under the basket.
2014: Doug McDermott drives to the hoop as Louisiana-Lafayette's Elfrid Payton, No. 2, Shawn Long, No. 21, and Elridge Moore, No. 22, defends during the first half.
2014: Austin Chatman celebrates teammate Jahenns Manigat, No. 12, scoring a basket while being fouled.
2013: Creighton's Doug McDermott, left, and Grant Gibbs try to press Duke's Mason Plumlee.
2013: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Creighton coach Greg McDermott exchange a few quick words in the hall after the game.
2013: Gregory Echenique, front, and the other players applaud the fans at the end of the Duke game.
2013: Creighton's Doug McDermott doesn't find much space against Duke's Mason Plumlee.
2013: Gregory Echenique goes for the hoop past upended Cincinnati defender Justin Jackson. The Jays would win 67-63.
2013: Creighton's Doug McDermott looks for an open teammate against the Cincinnati defense.
2013: Creighton's Gregory Echenique, left, and Ethan Wragge, right, acknowledge the fans following the win over Cincinnati.
2012: Creighton's Josh Jones gets off a 3-pointer over North Carolina's Harrison Barnes. The Jays would lose 87-73 in the third-round matchup.
2012: Creighton's Gregory Echenique dunks over UNC's John Henson.
2012: North Carolina's John Henson, right, confronts Creighton's Grant Gibbs, left.
2012: CU's Ethan Wragge, left, and Josh Jones, center, reflect in the locker room after the loss to UNC.
2012: Alabama's Trevor Releford missed a game-winning shot with CU's Josh Jones playing tight defense. Creighton would win 58-57.
2012: CU's Avery Dingman, left, embraces Grant Gibbs after Alabama's final shot didn't go in.
2012: Creighton's Doug McDermott, left, and Gregory Echenique, right, crowd Alabama's JaMychal Green.
2012: The referee keeps a close eye on Alabama's Andrew Steele as he plays tight defense against Creighton's Doug McDermott.
2007: Nevada's Kyle Shiloh, right, pokes the eye of Creighton's Nate Funk while both track a loose ball in the air during the Jays' 77-71 overtime loss.
2007: Creighton's Anthony Tolliver shoots against Nevada's Denis Ikovlev.
2007: Creighton's Dane Watts throws his elbows as he protects the ball from Nevada's Dennis Ikovlev (from left), Nick Fazekas and Marcelus Kemp.
2007: Creighton's Nick Porter reacts to the Bluejays' loss to Nevada.
2005: Creighton's Anthony Tolliver reacts to a foul called on him during the Jays' 63-61 loss to West Virginia.
2005: Creighton's Johnny Mathies, center, jumps for two but is swatted by West Virginia's Johannes Herber, right.
2005: Creighton fans cheer during a timeout after the Bluejays took a 10-0 lead to open the game against West Virginia.
2005: Creighton coach Dana Altman watches from the sidelines as the Bluejays and West Virginia duke it out.
2003: Creighton's Kyle Korver loses the ball after stealing it under the Central Michigan basket. The Jays would go on to lose 79-73.
2003: CMU's J.R. Wallace, left, and Tony Bowne, on floor, chase a loose ball with CU's Kyle Korver, No. 25, and Tyler McKinney, No. 24.
2003: Creighton coach Dana Altman watches Central Michigan take the lead in the second half.
2002: Creighton's Kyle Korver, left, tries to get by Illinois' Cory Bradford in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Jays would fall 72-60.
2002: Creighton's Larry House has layup is blocked by Illinois' Robert Archibald.
2002: Illinois coach Bill Self yells during his squad's game against Creighton.
2002: CU's Terrell Taylor kicks Cory Bradford's pass.
2002: Creighton's Terrell Taylor puts up the game-winning shot in double overtime to beat Florida 83-82 in a first-round game of the NCAA Midwest Regional.
2002: Creighton's Brody Deren, left, shoots over Florida's Udonis Haslem.
2002: Florida's Justin Hamilton, left, ties up Creighton's Joe Dabbert in the second half.
2002: Creighton's Kyle Korver celebrates after CU goes into overtime against Florida.
2001: Iowa's Jason Smith and Creighton's Kyle Korver scramble for a loose ball during the second half of the Hawkeyes' 69-56 win over the Jays.
2001: Creighton's Livan Pyfrom throws down the dunk over Iowa's Dean Oliver and Duez Henderson.
2001: Creighton seniors Ben Walker, left, and Ryan Sears leave the court after losing to Iowa.
2000: Creighton's Ben Walker, right, drives against Auburn's Scott Pohlman in the first round. The Jays would go on to fall 72-69.
2000: Creighton's Ryan Sears, left, and Justin Haynes, right, trap Auburn's Scott Pohlman.
2000: Creighton coach Dana Altman tries to get the Bluejays into position to press after they come with three-points of tying the game in the last minutes.
2000: Creighton seniors Donnie Johnson, left, and Matt West, right, watch the seconds tick away on their final game of their careers at Creighton.
1999: Creighton's Corie Brandon, right, leans around Maryland's Danny Miller, left. The Terrapins would win 75-63.
1999: Creighton coach Dana Altman signals jump ball to the officials after his players tied up Maryland.
1999: Creighton's Rodney Buford drives against Maryland's Laron Profit.
1999: Maryland's Terrell Stokes , left, and Steve Francis, right, right, box in Creighton's Ben Walker.
1999: Members of the Creighton basketball team, including Donnie Johnson, left, Justin Haynes, No. 40, and Alan Huss, No. 34, celebrate during the closing moments of an upset win over Louisville in the first round.
1999: Creighton's Ben Walker, on ground, reaches for a loose ball between Louisville defenders Cameron Murray, left, and Marques Maybin, right, during the second half.
1999: Creighton's Ryan Sears reaches out to attempt to knock the ball away from Louisville's Marques Maybin.
1999: Creighton's Doug Swenson, left, and Ryan Sears , No. 5, pressure Louisville's Tony Williams.
1991: Bob Harstad, the 1990 Missouri Valley player of the year, goes up for a shot over Seton Hall's Anthony Avent, the 1991 MVC player of the year, with Chad Gallagher getting position for a possible rebound. The Jays would go on to lose 81-69 in the second round.