It finally caught up with Coach Dana Altman.
The starting 5 (Dotzler, Watts, Millard, Hibma, Bahe) that I have been complaining about for the first 10 games finally bit the team in the butt. Illinois St. showed how slow and nonathletic the Jays can look if they don't come ready to play with their best players right out of the gate. It was 11-2 at the first media timeout and the Jays wouldn't ever get back within 7 points of the RedBirds. They were playing catch up all night and for the first time EVER at the Qwest Center - the Jays never led at any point in the game. CU was down by 19 at one point. That's the largest deficit ever for the Jays at the Qwest Center.
As noted below - a nation-leading 181 straight games without getting beat by double digits went down the drain.
Creighton can not continue to start games with one hand tied behind their backs any longer. I am not trying to disrespect the senior leaders but this year is about the youngsters. P'Allen Stinnet has to start.....period. He has to play big minutes every night and has to be the No. 1 option from the guard spot. Dane Watts No. 1 option. P'allen No. 2 in the offense. Everyone else can fill in their roles. Pierce Hibma and Nick Bahe are KEY members of this year's team, however they were totally outclassed on Saturday night at the Qwest Center and hurt their team with poor defense and costly turnovers.
PG Josh Dotzler is a awesome defender with quick hands and a knack for the ball. But on Offense - he's a liability. His shot hasn't returned after his finger injury and his spring off the floor hasn't either after the knee injury. Dana Altman loves him and I understand why but Cavel Witter has more upside for this team when they need offense. It showed on Saturday night big time.
Chad Millard......well, I don't know what to say about him. He was suppose to be a match up problem for teams as he's 6'8 who can shoot from the the outside. We have yet to see him hit shots consistently and seems to force it alot inside the offense. He's been a big disappointment to this point.
Without seeing Oregon in person, The Redbirds were the best team I've seen play at the Qwest Center this year. They have a 6'10 forward who hit 5 3's. Their best player didn't score in the first half and then went off for 16 in the second half. They crashed the boards with authority and made the Jays look slow and sloppy. They were deep and extremely quick. Their guards were really impressive all night with the penetration and kick outs. The Redbirds weren't phased at all with 16,000+ at the game.
The 80-67 was the final and it wasn't really that close. The Redbirds were simply better - all the way around better. The worst loss at the Qwest Center ever for the Jays. Worst loss for Dana Altman at home since 1996! We knew this was going to be an up and down year for the Jays....the roller coaster just plunged.
Welcome to the Missouri Valley Conference Baby Jays. You better wake up and be ready to play from the word go from now on since 4 of the next 5 are on the road. The 3 cream puffs the Jays played before the Redbirds did nothing to prepare CU for the speed, quickness, and skill of the guards of Ill. St. It was stunning to watch but it was a reality check that I'm sure Dana Altman will use to whip his team into what he expects of his guys.
If anyone can get this team to grow after a loss like that - it's Dana Altman. Long way to go but the Jays need to get some wins on the road now to make up for that loss on Saturday.