The reason that Creighton is having the season that they are having is that Greg McDermott can boast one of the most potent offenses in the country.
According to Kenpom, they are scoring 1.164 PPP, good for fifth in the country. What makes them so dangerous? They shoot the ball as well as any team in the country. Heading into Tuesday’s game at Southern Illinois, Creighton was third in the nation shooting threes at 42.6% and ninth in the country from inside the arc. Put it all together, and the Bluejays were — and still are — the nation’s leader in effective field goal percentage, a statistic that takes into account the fact that shooting 50% from inside the arc and 33% from beyond the arc yields the same number of points.
Like I said, Creighton shoots the ball as well as any team in the country.
So it should come as no surprise that their recent three game losing streak was the result of (gasp!) poor shooting. In the three games — close losses at Northern Iowa and at Evansville and a blowout loss at home to Wichita State — Creighton shot a combined 41.0% from the floor and 23.0% (14/61) from three. Do the math, and their eFG% during that stretch was a whopping 45.1%, well off their season-long 57.9% pace.
And as it turns out, Southern Illinois was the slumpbuster to end all slumpbusters. Creighton set a Missouri Valley record by shooting 77.5% from the floor in their 88-69 win. The Bluejays were 31-40 from the floor. More impressive? They shot 12-14 from three, which would be more noteworthy if it weren’t for the fact that Indiana State went 12-12 from three just three days ago. The place that Creighton has the most difficult on Tuesday night was at the foul line, where they shot a measly 70%.
Doug McDermott led five players in double figures with 18 points — on 7-7 shooting, of course — and the Bluejays assists on 21 of their 31 baskets. There still is some cause for concern, as shooting lights out does nothing to help the lack of playmakers Creighton has on the defensive end of the floor and makes it easy to ignore the fact that the Bluejays turned the ball over 16 times, but breaking out of their shooting slump is the first step Creighton needed to take to turn their season around.
I think its safe to say they did that.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.