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September 19, 2009

Top 347 countdown
No. 48 Creighton
Coach: Dana Altman (16th season).
Last season's record: 27-8 overall, 14-4 in Missouri Valley (tied for first in league).
Postseason: Lost in second round of NIT to Kentucky.
Final regular-season RPI: 40th.
Last NCAA tournament appearance: 2007.
Returning starters: 3.

OVERVIEW

This is the benchmark program in the Missouri Valley Conference, the big dog with a winning tradition that every other league team wants to emulate. Creighton has won 20 games in 11 consecutive seasons, an MVC record. The Bluejays will be put to the test this season by one of the most challenging non-conference schedules in the MVC; the schedule includes games against Dayton, Michigan and George Mason.

Kenny Lawson Jr. led the MVC in blocks last season.

PROJECTED STARTERS
C Kenny Lawson Jr., 6-9/250, Jr.
F Justin Carter, 6-4/200, Sr.
F Wayne Runnels, 6-6/215, Jr.
G P'Allen Stinnett, 6-3/185, Jr.
G Antoine Young, 6-0/165, Soph.
KEY RESERVES
F Casey Harriman, 6-5/210, Jr.
G Andrew Bock, 6-1/174, Fr.
G Kaleb Korver, 6-5/190, Jr.
G Cavel Witter, 6-0/168, Sr.

FRONTCOURT

The front line is worth monitoring. Is there enough post depth? Can this squad rebound consistently? Creighton will look to Justin Carter and Kenny Lawson Jr. to lead the way for this depth-shy group. Each has tremendous potential, with Lawson possibly being an all-league player. Lawson led the Valley in blocks last season, while Carter was the team's top rebounder. Junior college transfers Wayne Runnels and Darryl Ashford are good athletes who can score in a variety of ways.

BACKCOURT

The Bluejays will miss Booker Woodfox, last season's league player of the year. And Josh Dotzler also is gone after leading the team in assists and steals. Junior P'Allen Stinnett has to carry a big load. Stinnett is a good shooter who earned second-team all-league honors last season. Stinnett arrived at Creighton as a four-star recruit and the No. 21 shooting guard in the nation. While he has had his moments, Stinnett hasn't developed into the superstar many envisioned. Creighton needs Cavel Witter and Antoine Young to step up. There also are some newcomers who could make an impact, including true freshman Andrew Bock; he is the most highly rated recruit entering the MVC and could be the program's next great point guard.

OUTLOOK

This is a deep team that knows how to win, especially at home. Coach Dana Altman is an offensive whiz who runs myriad sets; he mixes in a motion offense, set plays, some up-tempo and lots of long-range shooting. His defenses are just as varied, as Creighton is known to employ man, zones and press. Creighton won a share of the Valley crown last season. If some key newcomers emerge and the frontcourt stabilizes, the Bluejays should contend again and extend their MVC-record run of consecutive postseason bids to 13.

More Rivals.com 2009-10 Preseason 347 Countdown

Preseason rankings were compiled by basketball writers David Fox, Mike Huguenin, Jason King and Steve Megargee.



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