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Week 3 Progress Report: Creighton Bluejays

As the first month of the season nears the finish line, the Bluejays are starting off their first season in the BIG EAST Conference in style.

Dave Weaver-USA TODAY Sports

Four games have come and gone and one thing is for certain when it comes to Creighton Bluejays Basketball: the offense is dynamic.

As of November 27, the Bluejays rank near the top in most offensive statistical categories. They rank ninth in points per game in the country with 92.0, eighth in field goal percentage, having converted 53.2 of their shots, 10th in three-point percentage with a 46 percent clip from the perimeter. Delving in further, advanced metrics favor the Bluejays in a big way. Ken Pomeroy's ratings have them second in the nation in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, which measures how many points a team has attained per 100 possessions.

According to this statistic, the Bluejays have scored a staggering 119 points per 100 possessions in the 2013-14 season. Only Duke is better, with 121.1 points per 100 possessions. Furthermore, Creighton ranks 14th in the nation on two-point field goal percentage, shooting at a 58.9 percent clip, and ranks fourth in the country in eFG%, which is Effective FG Percentage. This metric accounts for the fact that a 3-pointer is worth more than a 2-pointer. Creighton's eFG% is 63.1 according to Hoop-Math, trailing only Duke, Gonzaga, and Colgate.

There is no denying that the star of the Creighton Bluejays is Doug McDermott. The senior from Ames, IA is putting together a heck of an early start to the 2013-14 season. He ranks 4th in the country in scoring, averaging 27.5 points per game, collecting eight rebounds per game, and is shooting 55.1 percent from the field. Additionally, McDermott is shooting 50 percent from the 3-point line. He is Creighton's go-to guy, having been accounted for 31.9 percent of possessions that Creighton has had this season. He has twice been the BIG EAST Player of the Week in the last two weeks, and it would be a surprise going forward if Doug didn't attain those honors.

Elsewhere the Bluejays are getting great contributions out of their big men. Freshman Zach Hanson and sophomore Will Artino are both giving Creighton great work in the paint. Artino, a native of Waukee, IA, is giving the Bluejays 7.5 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game, while Hanson, the newcomer, is averaging 5.0 points per game and 2.7 rebounds per game. Both Hanson and Artino are shooting over the 60 percent threshold, but it is certainly no secret that a majority of their attempts have been at the basket. Artino has taken 73.1 percent of his shots at the rim, while Hanson has taken 66.7 percent of his shots at the rim.

Another newcomer that has made a large impact on the Bluejays this season has been JUCO transfer Devin Brooks. The Harlem, NY native has accounted for the most possessions on the team, at 33.4 percent, and Brooks is making the most of it. He is averaging 9.5 points per game, dishing out 3.5 assists per game and is swiping 1.3 steals per game. Brooks is also making an impact while attacking the basket. A staggering 78.3 percent of his shots taken this year have been at the rim, and he's made 61.9 percent of those shots taken. Brooks is the guy that the Bluejays need to take these kinds of shots and chances, with the rest of the guard play still pushing forward, and much of them being primarily distributors.

In terms of Creighton's role players, it has been a mixed bag.

Senior Ethan Wragge has been dynamite from the 3-point line, shooting 56 percent from deep. Austin Chatman has done even better from the perimeter, shooting 58.2 percent from the 3-point line and is dishing out 6.3 assists per game. Jahenns Manigat has been an artist in stealing the ball, averaging 2.0 steals per game and currently holds a team high 4.2 Steal %, which checks in at 108th among all players in the country.

On the flip side, Grant Gibbs, who obtained another year of eligibility in the offseason, a surprise to many, has not gotten off to the best of starts. He has accounted for just 14.1 percent of possessions for Creighton and has only taken 8.8 percent of shots that the team has taken as a whole. While he has lately started to pile on a lot of distribution, with his assist rate shooting up to 5.8 assists per game, he has definitely taken on a limited role in the offense after being one of Creighton's primary role players a season ago.

Defensively, the Bluejays leave a little to be desired. They fall in the Top 100 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, but it is their placement is what jumps out. The Bluejays rank 96th in Points Per 100 Possessions, giving up 100.1, which in essence means that they are giving up at least one point every time that they are on defense. Despite the fact that the Jays have found themselves coasting to victory in second halves of games, sans their matchup against Saint Joseph's, that is certainly something that has to improve going forward. They face a very tough test Thursday night in Fullerton, CA when they meet the high-scoring Arizona St. Sun Devils, and we will see how their defensive inefficiencies match up.

In summation, at this point in the season we know a few things about the Bluejays, and they are:

  • They boast an elite offense
  • Doug McDermott is a superstar
  • The defense is giving up 100.1 points per 100 possessions, making for nearly a 1.0 point per possession rate, which must change
  • Devin Brooks may determine how good this team could be in a few months
  • The role players this season have produced mixed results