Post Doug McDermott, Creighton still challenging itself on schedule

I critiqued Pitt on Tuesday for once again failing to test itself outside the non-comforts of big-league play.

What about Creighton?

Different kind of program, and also one that plays in an easier league: the Big East.

But still, we have to take into account that Creighton now goes on without one of the best college basketball players of the past decade. No Doug McDermott means a very different Bluejays squad next season. How does the schedule shape up? Fitting five 2014 NCAA Tournament teams on the slate is a pretty good accomplishment.

It's not going to be a top-20 schedule in terms of strength, but Greg McDermott could have gotten away with lining up an easier docket and not taken too much flack over it.

To balance the new roster/look of the team, Creighton will start its season with five home games.

Nov. 14: vs. Central Arkansas
Nov. 16: vs. Chicago State
Nov. 19: vs. Oklahoma
Nov. 23: vs. North Carolina Central
Nov. 25: vs. Eastern Illinois
Nov. 28: vs. Ole Miss (neutral court for Emerald Coast Classic)
Nov. 29: vs. Middle Tennessee or Cincinnati (neutral court for Emerald Coast Classic)
Dec. 3: at Tulsa
Dec. 7: at Nebraska
Dec. 9: vs. South Dakota
Dec. 13: vs. Saint Mary's
Dec. 19: vs. Texas-Pan American
Dec. 21: at North Texas

Oklahoma will be a big challenge. That might wind up being one of the best games that week, really. Ole Miss is a mystery right now, far as I'm concerned. The Nebraska road game could be a battle, and Saint Mary's is a nice test.

Overall, not bad at all. Three true road games, plus a couple of home/neutrals against solid competition. It's enough of a gut check for the 'Jays in a comedown year, but not so daunting that expecting a good record heading into Big East play is unreasonable.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning senior writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his eighth season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics,... Full Bio

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