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Losses in 5 of past 8 games leave Creighton needing a strong finish to keep NCAA hopes alive

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    Creighton's Jahenns Manigat (12) and Northern Iowa's Marc Sonnen (23) fight for a loose ball during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Northern Iowa won 61-54. (AP Photo/The World-Herald, Mark Davis) MAGS OUT; ALL NEBRASKA LOCAL BROADCAST TV OUTThe Associated Press

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    Northern Iowa forward Jake Koch, right, tries to poke the ball free from Creighton guard Grant Gibbs, left, during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Northern Iowa won 61-54. (AP Photo/Waterloo Courier, Matthew Putney)The Associated Press

Creighton has lost five of its last eight games and the team is no longer considered a sure bet to make a deep postseason run.

The Bluejays (20-6) are out of the Top 25 after being ranked No. 12 a month ago. They've lost three straight, the last one a 61-54 defeat at Northern Iowa on Wednesday.

Coach Greg McDermott says his players face the choice of wallowing in self-pity or dedicating themselves to regaining the form that earned wins in 17 of their first 18 games.

The Bluejays are tied with Indiana State for second place in the Missouri Valley Conference, one game behind Wichita State. Creighton plays three of its last five on the road, including one at surging Saint Mary's next week.