Creighton will have a bit more cargo when it travels to Georgetown for a Big East Conference game Wednesday, bringing along a national ranking.
Despite a .500 start in conference play, the Bluejays (13-4, 2-2 Big East) were rewarded Monday with a No. 25 ranking in the polls, the first time the program has been ranked in two years.
Creighton scored an attention-getting 77-65 road victory Saturday over Xavier, moving past consecutive defeats that poll voters didn't hold against the Bluejays. Both Butler and Villanova were ranked when they defeated Creighton.
In addition to winning Saturday, Creighton also has defeated Marquette, a victory that looked even better when the Golden Eagles topped the same ranked Villanova team that upended the Bluejays.
On Wednesday, Creighton will face a Georgetown squad that has lost three times in four conference games. The Hoyas are 11-6 overall.
Mitch Ballock scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Creighton on Saturday while Ty-Shon Alexander had 18 as coach Greg McDermott earned his 500th career victory. Of those 500, McDermott has earned 220 of them at Creighton. He also has coached at Wayne State, North Dakota, Northern Iowa and Iowa State.
McDermott's impact on the Creighton program has been evident. The Bluejays have been ranked in 89 weeks over their history, with McDermott at the helm for 61 of those weeks during his 10-year stint.
"It's a time of reflection when something like this happens," McDermott said at the postgame podium Saturday when asked if his soaked dress shirt had anything to do with the celebration of his 500th victory. "To get the win on the road against a program I respect as much as Xavier makes it a little bit more special."
Georgetown will try to rekindle the momentum it had when it entered conference play with six consecutive victories, including wins over Oklahoma State and Syracuse. It won't be easy after four players transferred out of the program since the season began.
The Hoyas opened Big East play with losses to Providence and Seton Hall before defeating St. John's. Their most recent conference game ended in an 80-66 road loss to Villanova when they made just five of their 16 3-point attempts. Freshman Qudus Wahab led Georgetown in scoring with a career-best 13 points.
"We came out flat," Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing said. "We can't just make mistakes the way that we did. Two quick mistakes and a turnover. We were right there at three points, then went to eight and it was an uphill battle after that."
The Hoyas did force 11 Wildcats turnovers, and they will need more of that hands-on defense to disrupt a Creighton team that is second in the conference with an average of 77.1 points per game. On top of that list is Georgetown with 78.8 per game. Creighton is also second to Butler in field-goal percentage at 46.4 percent.
One area the Hoyas could try to take advantage is in rebounding. Georgetown pulls down 40.4 rebounds per game, second best in the Big East, while Creighton is ninth at 36.4 per game.
--Field Level Media