A great offense can carry you far in this sport. In some cases, it can carry a team all the way to a Big East championship, as it did for Creighton last season. But if you're not also good enough on defense, you'll always be susceptible. And the Bluejays were reminded of this late Monday when they lost 89-84 to Marquette despite shooting 48.3% from the field and 43.8% from 3-point range.
How did Creighton lose with those numbers?
Well, just look at Marquette's numbers.
The Golden Eagles shot 53.6% from the field and 57.1% from 3-point range in a performance that pushed the Bluejays' defensive efficiency ranking down to 68th nationally. That's actually 10 spots better than they were last season when they secured the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament. But it's still not the type of defensive efficiency ranking that typically allows a team to advance to the Final Four, which is among the things Creighton is trying to do (for what would be the first time in school history) this season.
"Disappointing -- that goes without saying," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said following the loss at home. "Offensively, we played plenty good enough to win the game. But there wasn't a lot of resistance."
The win was tremendous for Marquette, which got 20 points, five assists and five rebounds from Ohio State transfer D.J. Carton, and 14 points and 10 rebounds from McDonald's All-American Dawson Garcia. The Golden Eagles are now 5-2 with wins over two ranked teams (Wisconsin, Creighton) and losses to two unranked teams (UCLA, Oklahoma State). It's not quite enough to get them into Tuesday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings, but they're definitely on the radar and undeniably building a nice resume for the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
As for Creighton, the Bluejays have been hit with the long-established 10-spot auto-drop that I use to punish obviously good teams for bad losses without overreacting. So Creighton will remain in the Top 25 And 1 -- for the same reason Virginia and Wisconsin are still in the Top 25 And 1 -- despite having a resume that is, on a surface level, unworthy. But if the Bluejays take another disappointing loss before they have quality wins to offset it, then, absolutely, it'll be time for them to go.
Itching for more college hoops analysis? Listen below and subscribe to the Eye on College Basketball podcast where we take you beyond the hardwood with insider information and instant reactions.
Tuesday's Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Gonzaga's perfect record features wins over Kansas and West Virginia. The Zags have temporarily suspended basketball activities because of COVID-19 issues.||--||24-0|
|Baylor's perfect record is highlighted by double-digit wins over Illinois and Washington. The Bears have temporarily suspended basketball activities because of COVID-19 issues.||--||18-1|
|Luka Garza finished with 23 points and eight rebounds in Sunday's 106-53 victory over Northern Illinois. The Hawkeyes' perfect record also features double-digit wins over North Carolina and Iowa State.||--||18-7|
|Ochai Agbaji finished with 18 points and five rebounds in Friday's 95-50 victory over Omaha. The Jayhawks' lone loss is a neutral-court loss to top-ranked Gonzaga.||--||18-8|
|Gabe Brown made five 3-pointers and finished with 20 points in Sunday's 109-91 victory over Oakland. The Spartans' perfect record also features wins over Duke and Notre Dame.||--||13-10|
|John Fulkerson finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds in Saturday's 65-56 victory over Cincinnati. The Vols' 2-0 record also features a win over Colorado.||1||16-7|
|Collin Gillespie finished with 18 points and six assists in Friday's 79-63 victory at Georgetown. The Wildcats' 5-1 record includes wins over Texas and Arizona State.||1||15-4|
|Miles McBride finished with 20 points and five assists in Sunday's 87-71 victory over Richmond. The Mountaineers' lone loss is a single-digit loss to Gonzaga.||1||17-6|
|Virginia's lone loss is a one-point loss to San Francisco. The Cavaliers have temporarily suspended basketball activities because of COVID-19 issues.||1||15-6|
|Houston's perfect record features a double-digit win over Texas Tech. The Cougars have temporarily suspended basketball activities because of COVID-19 issues.||1||20-3|
|Greg Brown finished with 18 points and three blocks in Wednesday's 74-53 victory over Texas State. The Longhorns' 5-1 record features wins over North Carolina and Indiana.||1||14-7|
|Terrence Shannon finished with 15 points and seven rebounds in Saturday's 77-57 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christie. The Red Raiders' lone loss is a neutral-court loss to Houston.||1||15-8|
|Brad Davison finished with 23 points in Wednesday's 73-62 victory over Rhode Island. The Badgers' next scheduled game is against Northern Iowa.||1||16-9|
|Duane Washington Jr. finished with 17 points in Sunday's 67-61 victory over Cleveland State. The Buckeyes' next scheduled game is Wednesday at Purdue.||1||18-7|
|Xavier Pinson finished with 17 points and five assists in Saturday's 81-78 victory over Illinois. Missouri's 5-0 record also includes a win over Oregon.||1||14-7|
|The Bluejays allowed Marquette to shoot 53.6% from the field in Monday's 89-84 loss at home. Creighton's other loss is a one-point defeat at Kansas.||10||17-6|
|The Illini finished with 13 turnovers and just 10 assists in Saturday's 81-78 loss at Missouri. Illinois' other loss is a neutral-court loss to Baylor.||--||18-6|
|Ron Harper Jr. finished with 27 points, five rebounds and four assists in Monday's 74-60 victory at Maryland. The Scarlet Knights' perfect record also features a win over Syracuse.||--||13-9|
|The Blue Devils missed 17 of the 22 3-pointers they attempted in Tuesday's 83-68 loss to Illinois. Duke has now lost two non-league games at home for the first time in nearly 40 years.||--||11-9|
|Armando Bacot finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday's 73-67 victory over North Carolina Central. Both of UNC's losses are to teams ahead of them in the Top 25 And 1.||--||15-8|
San Diego St
|Jordan Schakel finished with 25 points and six rebounds in Thursday's 80-68 victory at Arizona State. The Aztecs' 5-0 record also features a win over UCLA.||--||19-4|
|Scottie Barnes finished with 17 points and five assists in Saturday's 83-71 victory over Florida. The Seminoles also own a win over Indiana.||--||14-4|
|Dre Davis finished with 21 points and two assists in Tuesday's 75-54 victory over Western Kentucky. The Cardinals' 4-0 record also features a win over Seton Hall.||--||13-5|
|Hunter Dickinson finished with 20 points and seven rebounds in Sunday's 62-58 victory over Penn State. The Wolverines' perfect record also features wins over Toledo and UCF.||--||18-1|
|Gibson Jimerson finished with 21 points in Tuesday's 88-65 victory over Central Arkansas. The Billikens' 4-0 record features a win over LSU.||--||12-5|
|Al-Amir Dawes finished with 10 points and four rebounds in Saturday's 64-56 victory over Alabama. The Tigers' perfect record also features wins over Purdue, Maryland and Mississippi State.||--||15-5|