If I were to pen this column a year ago, I would probably tell Creighton fans that the best case scenario for the Bluejays was an above .500 record in conference, by three or four games, another NCAA Tournament appearance, and a sensational end to the career of the legendary Doug McDermott.
As a worst case scenario, I would have said that the Bluejays would have trouble adjusting to the confines of the Big East Conference, and getting their feet wet would prove to be a tough and unenviable task.
As it turns out, what actually panned out was much closer to the former, and far from the latter. Creighton would go on to be the runners up in both the regular season race for the title, and in the conference tournament as well. They did fall to Villanova and Providence respectively, and yes, they did get knocked out of the 3rd Round of the NCAA Tournament as they failed to make the second weekend of The Big Dance. They haven't done so since the 1973-74 season though, so expectations can still be tempered.
This season, things look a little bit different though. And not just because of the composition of the team as a staggering 80 percent of the 2013-14 starting lineup has departed. But also, the team is not expected by many to play up to a high level. They were picked to finish eighth in the Big East, via the SBN College Blogger Poll, and ninth in the Big East preseason poll, which was released on Media Day on October 22.
With all that said, it's time to determine what's lying ahead for this team in 2014. So, without further ado, here are, in my opinion, the best and worst case scenarios for Creighton.
Best Case: Creighton rumbles through the nonconference portion of their schedule, only taking a loss to Buddy Hield and the Oklahoma Sooners, and snatching away a victory from in-state rival Nebraska -- in their house. Then, in the Big East slate, Creighton starts off with a startling victory at The Dunk, avenging the losses they took to the Friars last year in Friartown, and in the Big East Conference Tournament Final. The Bluejays continue to exceed expectations, and go by the way of CBS' Matt Norlander, who reminds us that four seniors could be starting for the Jays this coming year. Creighton finishes in the top half of the conference, and wins a Big East Conference Tourney game, and provide an interesting case for the NCAA Tournament Committee.
Worst Case: Everything. Falls. Apart. Without Doug, the offense looks listless. Creighton falls to Oklahoma, gets slugged by Nebraska in Lincoln, and Tulsa sneaks up on them in the game before that. Their trip to Providence on New Year's Eve provides for more miserable memories, and it's followed by another loss to a talented Georgetown team in The Nation's Capital. The daunting stretch from Saturday, January 17 to Saturday, February 7, with trips to Hinkle Fieldhouse, The Pavilion, Cintas Center and Madison Square Garden proves far too much for this squad, and the team follows the prophecy set out for them. Life After Doug results in a year in the conference's cellar.