The state of Nebraska basketball parlay bet

So I love talking about college basketball any time of the year.  A buddy of mine finds it incredibly difficult to talk about college basketball until the month of October, which I fully understand and respect.  I am pretty sure he was talking about late October after the MLB has concluded, but this is what you get when you are not specific.  Last season we had a bet, a parlay bet if you will, based on the win totals of the division one men’s basketball teams for Nebraska, Creighton, and Omaha.  I am not completely well versed on all the gambling terms out there, but I think it is a parlay bet.  I love going to the casino and playing blackjack, but I seriously learned what a parlay bet was from watching “Silver Linings Playbook”.  Anyway, even though no one won last year, we fully intend on doing this bet again.

The idea is that we set an agreeable number set as a over/under figure for how many wins each team will have, but we will not include their conference tournaments or any potential post season tournaments.  If we think one of them will go 15-15, we will set the over/under on that team at 14.5 or 15.5.  Each of us then decide between them getting more than 14.5 wins or less than 14.5 wins.  We set a different prediction for each team, and in order for you to win, you have to get all three right.  We’re not betting tens of dollars on this, just a growler of beer at the winner’s choice of brewery.  It is very difficult for me to decide between Nebraska Brewing Company and Benson Brewery.  Nebraska Brewing would make sense though, because that this is about Nebraska.

Since each of the three teams under performed last season, neither of us came even close.  The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday.  See what I did there?  Being that I had no faith in Creighton to do well last season, I had the under on them correctly, as we set the over/under on Creighton at 19.5, I believe.  Nebraska and UNO underperforming, kept me from getting a free growler from Benson Brewery though.  By the way, in the state of Nebraska it is apparently illegal to take an outside growler into a brewery and have them fill it.  My mother-in-law and sister-in-law each got me growlers for Christmas.  One was an Oregon Ducks growler and the other was to some brewery in the state of Washington.  I tried to take the Oregon Ducks growler in some place in Nebraska and was notified that Nebraska is one of two states to have this rule.  Denied.

Anyway, I am open to suggestions on to what to set the over/under on each team this season.  All three teams had trips to Europe, so you have got to be thinking some sort of improvements for each team.


Nebraska

It is almost a gut instinct to set the Huskers at a low win total.  They only had 13 wins in 2014-2015 and most preseason predictions have them finishing 13th in the Big 10 this upcoming season.  They lost Terran Petteway who is now with the Atlanta Hawks, and they have nine new players being thrown into the mix.

The good news for the Huskers is that they only have two true road non-conference games, and one of those games is in Omaha against Creighton.  They lost Petteway, but they still have Shavon Shields.  I never think it is great when your main scorer is a volume scorer like Petteway.  Your first option on offense last season shot 39% from the field, and now your main option on offense shot 44% from the field last season, those few more field goals can make a big difference, especially if your volume scorer is taking poor shots just for the sake of scoring points.  The bad news about Shields is that his field goal percentage has dropped in each of his 3 seasons as a Husker, but I feel like he was playing hurt for much of the 2014-2015 season, am I wrong?  I could be making that up, I thought I remember reading that.

The Huskers’ third option on offense, Walter Pitchford is also gone, and they should be look at this like it is a great thing.  Pitchford’s production dropped from his sophomore season to his junior season, and he did not even look like he was into it most games.  He just looked like a guy that was being forced to go to a chick flick with his wife, because the comic book movie you took her to had terrible dialogue.  He also just seemed unwilling to take the ball into the post and score, which is what you look for in a 6’10” player (not).  So two of your top three scorers shot less than 40% from the field, in a way, you should actually feel pretty good about replacing that with a Kansas transfer and a few highly touted freshman.  I still seriously need someone to explain to me how Pitchford is competing for a roster spot on a NBDL team and Mike Rostampour is not.

I think the Huskers can at least get 7 wins in their non-conference schedule.  Are they better than 7-11 in the Big 10?  As they are picked 13th to win the conference, many people do not think so.  Their season is really going to be dependent on how well their freshmen Glynn Watson and Ed Morrow can adjust to division one, but really we are in an age where most power conference teams are relying on a number for freshmen to step in right away.

I’m still not completely confident in the Huskers, I think we are going to have to set the over/under for the Huskers at 13.5.  I badly want the over on that though, but I understand there is some risk involved.


Creighton

The Bluejays finished 14-19 last season, and they lost 5 contributors from last year’s team, but it was a seriously awkward year for Creighton.  After losing 4 major contributors from 2013-2014, including Doug McDermott, Creighton was left in a bit of a mess.  They had a few injury issues that did not help them try to carve out a starting lineup, with only one player during the season starting in all of the team’s games.

Greg McDermott gets to play transfers Cole Huff (via Nevada) and Maurice Watson (via Boston University) this season, who were both double digit scorers at their previous schools.  These two should more than help replace some of what the team lost.  If anyone has been paying attention, Creighton has freshmen Khyri Thomas and Martin Krampelj sound ready to make an impact right away.  Both players averaged double digits in scoring on the team’s trip to Italy.

Anyway, it seems completely realistic for the Bluejays to improve on 14 wins this upcoming season, but by how much?  They do have two true road games against Oklahoma and Indiana in their non-conference schedule that will be incredibly difficult, and they also have the Huskers in Omaha which seems like an automatic win for the Bluejays anymore.  They also have a tough Arizona State team at home as well.  Every team in the Big East looks to be improving as well, as most of them were down last season, so with 31 games on the regular season schedule I am thinking of setting the over/under for Creighton at 17.5.  It is tough, but I want to take the under on this.


Omaha

A depressing 12 wins last season, I think we had the over/under last season at 16.5 and we both selected the over.  I opened up to you, and you judged me.  There were a number of injuries for the Mavericks, and some games that were lost in the final couple minutes, and the team is returning a lot so one could think the Mavericks will improve upon the 12 wins.  However, the Mavs have what appears to be a more difficult non-conference schedule this upcoming season.

Does this Omaha team remind anyone else of the 2004-2005 Phoenix Suns roster?  White-Amar’e, Thurman-Marion, Hollins-Johnson, Tyus-Richardson, Patterson-Nash?  I say that only ever watching one game of Hollins ever, and that was Omaha Central’s championship game his senior season.  I was only really watching the game to see how Nick Billingsley would do.  Oh, how the world works.

Anyway, if the roster is like the Suns, one could assume that the Mavericks will have a pretty good season in the conference, but likely lose to a North Dakota State or South Dakota State in the semi finals.  They will also more than likely lose in a way that will make you debate the pros and cons of getting in a fight with a referee.  I want to set the over/under at 15.5 for Omaha, and I want that over.


So I am welcome to any thoughts and suggestions if those are appropriate figures.


Also, something completely trivial that I typically send this friend at the start of the college basketball season is a Pre Season All State of Nebraska Division 1 Team.  This is what I set for the team, but I do not feel all that confident about it.  It’s not like this really makes a difference anyway.  Unless a Creighton die hard finds this, then they will bitch about it.  Take that photo of the state of Nebraska being a Husker basketball state downtown and you will for sure find yourself into a condescending man that will lecture you on Creighton versus Nebraska.

1st Team

F Cole Huff, Creighton

F  Shavon Shields, Nebraska

G Isaiah Zierden, Creighton

G Devin Patterson, Omaha

G Maurice Watson, Creighton

2nd Team

F Toby Hegner, Creighton

F Tre’Shawn Thurman, Omaha

F Andrew White, Nebraska

G Marcus Tyus, Omaha

G James Milliken, Creighton

3rd Team

C Geoffrey Groselle, Creighton

F Jake White, Omaha

F Ed Morrow, Nebraska

G Khryi Thomas, Creighton

G Benny Parker, Nebraska

 

2015-2016 opponent preview: Game 7, Montana State Bobcats

Montana State

2014-2015 Record: 7-23

2014-2015 Home Record:  5-9

Final 2014-2015 RPI:  323

Big Win in 2014-2015:  vs UT-Arlington (180 RPI) 104-81

Random Stat:  UNO and Montana State both won at North Dakota last season by the exact same score of 80 to 78.


When you first hear of Montana State, you assume this could be an easy road win.  I mean, it is Montana State of all schools.

Okay, this has been getting a little stale talking about who is returning, and what new players might be good, but now we get to add a new ingredient to the recipe.  Some fish.

Brian Gosh Darn Fish.  I really do not think that his is full legal name, but it could be.  The Mavs may not have a shot at playing Creighton, but they do have a shot at former Creighton/Oregon/San Diego/Marshall Assistant Coach, Brian Fish.  Trying to get his program going, Fish will take on the Mavericks in their first full year of division one.  This seems like it should be a home and home series.  I feel like we should be able to expect the Bobcats in Omaha in 2016.

I cannot really think of many press conferences that introduced a new basketball coach that required him to wear a hat. So this must be serious, right?

I felt pretty confident in Fish’s ability to recruit a good team and make a positive impact on Montana State right from the second he got hired.  He appeared to be Dana Altman’s number one guy after Kevin McKenna left Creighton.  Fish was responsible for recruiting some great players to the Bluejays.  Every time Creighton played a team that had a coach in the hot seat, Fish appeared super into the game, like he wanted the opportunity to be a head coach.  It was always in him.  He had been rumored for a number of head coaching jobs before, one in particular was hearing his name being floated around when Western Illinois needed a new head coach…twice that came up actually.

We are going to throw in a pinch of another ingredient though.  Fish was able go all the way to Rock Island, Illinois to go after a recruit named Tyler Hall.  Why is this an item of interest?  Tyler Hall was rated a 3 star recruit by ESPN, but ESPN’s recruiting website is not all that great at rating players so it might not be that big of a deal in the long run.  However, Hall was given a scholarship offer by the Mavericks as well; and on top of that he saw offers from South Dakota, South Dakota State, Ohio (Saul Phillips), and Western Michigan.  So yes, Fish came into Omaha’s backyard and stole one from us.  It could be a big deal, it could not be.  The Bobcats are advertising Hall as a player that will be competing for a starting spot, but they won 7 games last season, so I assume every new guy is competing for a starting spot.  Fish was also able to get a commitment from Minnesota native, Sam Neumann.  The Mavericks did not offer Neumann, but Minnesota is an area the Mavericks like to get into for recruiting…Neumann did receive an offer from South Dakota State.

Actually kind of stoked to see JT Gibson and Hall go head-to-head.

This could give Omaha fans an indication of what kind of guys the Mavericks are losing out on and what type of guys we are going after, other than the obvious list of players that are currently on the roster.  As a fan, you like to know your team is offering guys that are capable players.  I hate it when Nebrasketball fans lose out on some recruit to Auburn and that player turns out to not be competent enough to player in a power conference, and the Husker fans get all giddy that the player “sucks”.  Shouldn’t you be upset that this dude was almost on your roster, but he did not think your team was good enough for his abilities?  Am I right?

How else has Fish done in recruiting?  Like many coaches trying to turn their team around quickly, Fish went after junior college players to add experience to his team.  He signed 5, that is right, 5 junior college transfers to his team.  3 of those junior college players are 6’8″ or taller.  I’m just going to do some quick math here.  5 junior college players, 4 freshman…that is 9 new players to work into the mix.  With 9 new players, it feels kind of worthless to bring up many teams stats from 2014-2015.


Key losses for the Bobcats.

Michael Dinson – 5’9″ G: 14.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 spg, 41 FG% 39 3ptFG%

You can average 4 rebounds a game at 5 foot 9?

Eric Norman – 6’9″ C:  6.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.7 bpg, 31 FG%, 27 3ptFG %

Blake Brumewell – 6’7″ C: 2.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 51 FG%

Montana State also had 3 players transfer away from the program, who all according to a Big Sky blog were “non-contributors” and should not be a big deal to lose.


Key returns for the Bobcats

Marcus Colbert – 5’11” G, SR: 13.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg, 43 FG%, 42 3ptFG%, 50 3ptM

The Mavericks were 2-0 against non-conference opponents in 2014-2015 that had a player that ended up averaging more than 4 assists per game.  Those wins were against Central Arkansas and North Dakota.

Stephan Holm – 6’3″ G, JR: 9.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 39 FG%, 34 FG%, 50 3ptM

Danny Robison – 6’8″ F, SR:  9.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 45 FG%, 37FG%, 34 3ptM


 

Omaha is 4-0 against the Big Sky since becoming Division 1, but in reality, 3 of those wins are against North Dakota.  This will be the second game of 2015-2016 that the Mavericks go up against the Big Sky after playing at Northern Colorado.

This should be a difficult game for the Mavericks.  Road game, on Sunday, in a place like Bozeman, Montana.  With so many new faces for the Bobcats, it could be difficult to scout Montana State, but the Bobcats could still be trying to figure each other out at this point.  Brian Fish is not going to be surprised by the Mavericks either, he should be pretty knowledgeable of the program and have a plan for this game.

 

 

 

2015-2016 Opponent Preview, Game 1: UC Santa Barbara

So there are 13 weeks until the Mavs basketball season starts, so what is a better time to start previewing their 2015 fourteen non-conference opponents?  Probably last week actually if I wanted to take it one team at a time.  Crap.  Oh well.  Here we go.

The Mavs will open their season at the brand new Baxter Arena in Mavtown with the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.   Don’t you love it how nicknames of California teams (pro and college) make no sense?  This will be after Mav hockey will already be 10 games into the season, but there will not be any hockey this weekend, so really it is a great weekend to open up the season for the Baxter Arena for basketball.  UNO Men’s soccer should be in Denver this weekend for the Summit League tournament and championship, and hopefully the women’s soccer team will have made some noise at this point and maybe have already made the Summit League tournament.  This will also be the final weekend of the regular season for the volleyball team.

I know some Mav fans were expecting a bit time opponent to open up the arena.  Some were thinking the likes of Nebraska or Creighton, but the Gauchos are not a small opponent by any means.  In fact, they actually finished the 2015-2016 season with an RPI of 98.  If case you forgot: Creighton finished at 157; and Nebraska finished at 155, but I know it is more about the name and prestige for most.  The Gauchos also finished the year with a winning record, tied for 2nd with UC Irvine in the Big West, and a trip to the CBI where they lost to Summit League team Oral Roberts.

In addition to all of this, Santa Barbara had one win over a power conference team, Washington State.  I know Washington State is someone to not take incredibly seriously right now as far as power conference teams ago, but the Gauchos beat them 71-43.

Side note:  My Northwest friends are mostly Washington State fans.  Last year, when I heard UNO was going to Seattle and looking to play Washington or Washington State while in the Northwest, I told my Northwest friends that they might have a Mavericks versus Cougars match up.  They laughed and said “there is an easy win for UNO.”

Speaking of Seattle, remember when UNO lost to them and we were incredibly shocked by it?  The Gauchos beat Seattle 87-46.  Looking at the rest of their 2014-2015 schedule, they had some close losses to some good teams.  As mentioned, they lost to Oral Roberts by 4 in the CBI.  The Gauchos also traveled to Lawrence early in the year to lose to Kansas by 10, the Jayhawks had a final RPI of 5.  The team did also split games with Florida Gulf Coast, losing to Dunk City by 6 in overtime before beating them by 13 later in the non-conference schedule.

I really wish UNO and Colorado State could meet every year, the Rams are a fun team to watch, and they are “sort of local” with a large number of UNO alumni (and former Omahans) in the state of Colorado.  Santa Barbara lost to the Rams by 2.  Colorado State had a final RPI of 37.

Speaking of other teams I would like to see UNO play, but this is because of my wife’s fan hood, Santa Barbara lost to Oregon by 4 points in overtime in Eugene.  Also, a team I hate discussing, SMU, beat Santa Barbara by 7.  Larry Brown’s final experiment finished with an RPI of 27.

The Gauchos are coached by Bob Williams, who has been with Santa Barbara since 1998 after winning a Division 2 championship with (then D-2) UC Davis.  Williams has made the NCAA tournament with the Gauchos 3 times, his last time was in 2010-2011.


Who did they lose?

The Gauchos lost a huge piece of their team.  6’8″ and 265lbs Alan Williams averaged a double double in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons for Santa Barbara.  He was an All Big West player for all three of those seasons as well.  He is actually probably solely responsible for what kept Santa Barbara in the game against Kansas, as he showed to be too much for Perry Ellis, in which Williams had 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

Williams averaged 17.3 ppg and 11.8 rpg his senior season, he also was not a terrible free throw shooter at 77%.  He had a 20 rebound performance in a 65-60 overtime win over Mercer.  Oh Williams also led the NCAA in rebounding in 2014 and in 2015.

Willaims did miss 6 games in 2014-2015 with the Gauchos going 4-2 in his absence, and those two losses were against UC Irvine and UC Davis, the two top teams in the Big West.

After finishing his career as a Gaucho, Williams played for the Houston Rockets and Charlotte Hornets in the NBA Summer League, where he was named All Summer League 2nd team after a 22 points and 21 rebound performance against the 76ers.  He has signed professionally with a Chinese team.

I feel like Mike Rostampour would have loved competing against this guy.


Who do they have coming back?

Williams is obviously a huge loss, but he was not the only Big West 1st Team player that the Gauchos had.  6’4″ senior Michael Bryson also made the all conference team after averaging 14 points and nearly 5 rebounds a game.  Bryson loves taking threes, he made about 2 threes per game in 2014-2015 with a total of 68 on the year.  In comparison, CJ Carter, who led the Mavericks, made 48 on the season.  Bryson also shot 85% from the free throw line.

The Gauchos return two more wing players that averaged over 10 per game last season.  6’5″ senior John Green averaged 11 points and 4 rebounds per game, though Green was mostly used at the 4 position last season since, other than Williams, the Gauchos did not have much of a post game.  The team also return 6’3″ sophomore Gabe Vincent who averaged 10 per game, but did face inconsistencies throughout the year, as most freshman do.  Vincent shot 41% on threes on the year, and had a total of 57.


So you’re telling me there is a chance?

Probably the Mavericks biggest weakness last season was their perimeter defense, so you get a little scared when you hear they are facing a team with their strength being their group of returning wing players.  The Gauchos will be trying to adjust to life without a walking double double, and after Williams, the Gauchos did not have a reliable post game.

So the keys to the game could be how much the Mavs can work the ball into Jake White and Tre’Shawn Thurman, as well as how good of a perimeter defender new Mavericks Tra-Deon Hollins can be in the game…who sounds to be a pretty stellar defender.

This is not going to be as easy of a game as playing Central Arkansas to open up the year, but to get better the Mavs have to play the best, this is great competition.  As of right now, it does sound as if Santa Barbara has the edge, but hopefully opening up the new arena (to basketball) can create a great atmosphere to give the Mavs a great home court advantage in this game.

 

 

 

How to schedule the Mavericks and the Bluejays: PART II

How to schedule the Mavericks and the Bluejays: PART I

Okay, so you may be asking yourself, what does profiling all of the Creighton fans have to do with scheduling the Mavericks and the Bluejays?  That is a totally fair question, so let’s move on here.

You have to understand your enemy before going after them…


Richard Creighton Fan watches the second half of the game

So Dick goes on ignoring me while his version of the Justice League is trying to save the planet from a Big East team taking over.  This is all after he established that Creighton and UNO have no room to be on the same basketball court playing against each other.  A Creighton guard misses a wide open shot.  I tell him that CJ Carter would have made that shot, Dick becomes agitated, not saying anything, he is just upset at the game and more and more at me.

An opposing player knocks down an uncontested shot in the lane, with the Creighton post player up near the free throw line for some reason, and not anywhere near the basket to protect it.  I tell Dick that Mike Rostampour would have contested that shot, he would have either fouled him to make it difficult and force him to the line, or forced that player to pass out of the lane.  Dick is now disgusted and takes a drink of his Bud Light to ease the pain.

An opposing player puts some pressure on a Creighton guard and strips the ball from the Creighton guard, so of course Dick calls the opposing player a homophobic slur.  The opposing player takes the ball that is now in his possession and sprints down the court for an uncontested layup, with none of the dejected Creighton player in sight.  I tell Dick that Devin Patterson would not have allowed himself to get in that position to give up the ball to the opposing player, and even if he did, he would sprinted down the court with the opposing player to contest the shot.  Patterson would not have just laid down showing no competitive edge.

A Creighton post player attempts and rushes a real lazy hook shot which clanks off the front of the rim.  I tell Dick that Tre’Shawn Thurman would not have done that, in fact no UNO player would have just gone for the lazy hook there.  Since they had an opposing player with their hand up they would have tried a post move or passed out of it.  Thurman has this vintage Kobe Bryant/Vince Carter post move, where he jukes to the left and then goes right for a turn around fade away, and it is a much higher percentage shot then whatever the hell we just watched that Creighton player try.

Creighton is now down by 20 at this point with not much time left, the players are somehow playing with less energy than they already have this entire soulless game of theirs.  I tell Dick that UNO has not given up in a game like that all year, even when down by 15 or so with a few minutes to go, they still tried to make a game out of it.  At this point, Dick wants to punch someone and I am in the front of the line.  He slams down his drink and throws out some notes as to why the UNO-Creighton game will never happen, but now he hopes that it will happen just to shut people like me up.

By the way, a side note:  The Creighton fan I have based Dick Creighton Fan off of looks exactly like Jake White.  If Jake White got done with college and stopped working out and let himself go a bit, and was 7 inches shorter, but still looks exactly like Jake White in the face.  He cannot stand Jake White because of his Wichita State past.  Every time Jake White does something cool I will text Dick with “hey, your cousin had 10 and 8 tonight, good for the fam!”  Then he will text mean things back about Jake White, would you expect anything less from a Dick Creighton Fan?  Dick also has season tickets for Creighton basketball, the people in his section are the people that usually bring a book to read, so you know, the real supporters and the people that make you wonder why they even came.  Dick also plays basketball like you would expect a Creighton fan would…selfishly.  Takes 15 threes during a 40 minute game and only makes about 4 of them at best.  Also does not recognize you sprinting down the court and hustling to get open, so just jacks up threes.


Why it may not be happening.

I have no absolutely positive reason as to why UNO-Creighton may not be happening as of right now.  Maybe it is money, maybe McDermott and Hansen, or the two athletic administrations cannot agree on stuff, I am not sure why.  Maybe McDermott is just a really really really nice guy and does not want to beat the Mavs and cause an inner city riot.  I do not think McDermott has a mean bone in his entire body.

I find myself wondering this though, could the reason be because of the JaySkers?  The JaySkers that just root for anyone local, they like the Mavericks enough to take notice, but maybe not enough to go to their games yet.  If UNO-Creighton happens, the JaySkers will take a little more notice and be more aware of what the Mavericks have, and that they are at least entertaining.

If the Mavericks and Creighton play, and UNO comes close or even beats the Bluejays, what would the JaySkers do with their money?  They will buy a UNO shirt or two, maybe some tickets to a few games, and maybe even classify themselves as JayMavSkers, or maybe they even sift through Bull Shit Mountain enough and just become MavSkers.  If they spent 50 bucks from their annual Going Out Budget on UNO stuff, that is 50 bucks less that they will spend on beer and food at the CenturyLink Center.

If a JaySker were more aware of the Mavericks and entertained by them, would they be more inclined to go to a UNO event over a Creighton event?  If they could go to Aksarben, which is more centrally located than the CenturyLink Center (and Ralston Arena), pay less for parking, and walk just a little bit closer to DJs Dugout and other restaurants, do you think they would go for it?  Would they rather see UNO have a shot against Oral Roberts over seeing Creighton getting dominated by a overrated Georgetown team?  Seriously, Georgetown has been overrated for the past 10 years.

When the JaySker goes to a UNO hockey game, they see the Creighton University advertisement on the scoreboard, they still get that Bluejay taste in their mouth.  Typically the JaySkers will make it out to UNO-North Dakota hockey, or UNO-Ohio State in the old days, the JaySkers just like the events they can brag about seeing really.  There is no University of Nebraska at Omaha advertisement when the JaySker goes to a Creighton Basketball game, not even sure if it is allowed.  So if UNO men’s basketball was put right in front of their faces, could the JaySker sway a little bit?

UNO and Creighton have played in a few sports, and when you go the atmosphere is a little weird.  Creighton fans always have this feeling of We Will Beat the Crap Out of Our Opponent, but they have been a little more quiet when Creighton plays the inner city rival.  Their attitude changes to Oh Crap We Better Not Lose to This Team.  When I moved back to Omaha from Utah, one of the first things I did was get tickets UNO vs. Creighton baseball, I was pretty damn pumped for the game.  I think I was scared that game was going to be a sell out, being away from Omaha for about a year I just kind of imagined that everyone in Omaha would be jacked for that match up.  What a perfect gift for my return to Omaha though.  The game was a little slow, Creighton players seemed to lack a little energy and it was almost as if the Bluejay fans did not want to do smack talk, especially since the people in red and black out numbered the people in blue and white.  It is also hard to smack talk when your baseball team in the last few years has just become a team of Hey Let’s Just Hit the Ball to the Outfield and Hope for the Best.  UNO won the game 3-2, the Creighton players looked like they were on suicide watch after the game, they did not appear to want to come out and shake the UNO players hands, and they probably knew that Ed Servais was going to have them run a marathon after losing to that reclassifying team.  The Creighton fans walked out of there confused and as quiet as you exit a funeral.

How would you rank Creighton sports teams in terms of how prideful their fans are toward the team.  1. Men’s Basketball, 2. Men’s Soccer, 3. Baseball?  That is their fans’ third favorite sport, and UNO showed that they can hang with them.  Men’s Soccer showed that they can hang in exhibition play as well.  Women’s soccer needed two overtimes to beat UNO this last season.  Oh this reminds me, UNO-Creighton softball happening any time soon is probably less likely than men’s basketball happening anytime soon, but hey, that is another conversation.

When UNO can make the big dance and possibly pull of an upset, the JaySkers will come crawling.  The 14 seed beating the 3 seed prestige is far more powerful then the BIG EAST team beating a SWAC team in the first/second round or whatever the hell it is anymore.  That is when the prestige factor will come into play for Creighton to play UNO, the game will need to be played after that.  That will make UNO men’s basketball the even that they will want to go see and Creighton will have the need to play at beat the Mavericks to show everyone who is still the boss of this town.  And it is not like UNO is wanting Creighton every single season, although that would be swell, it is not necessary, UNO fans just want the acknowledgement from the Creighton fans, so once in a few years is fine.  City rivalries do not necessarily happen every season, especially when the schools are not at the same level.  UNO fans understand that The BIG EAST is on a different level than the Summit League, they are not psychotic.

Creighton fans also do not like to share attention.  For 12 years they got to share a market with Barry Collier and Doc Sadler coached Nebraska teams that would bore and frustrate the hell out of Husker basketball fans in Omaha, so many of those fans would go watch Creighton.  Even the end of the Danny Nee era at Nebraska was painful to watch.  Now, the kid up the street thinks they can join the party.  They are building a new arena, new dorms, new buildings on campus, but they still have shitty parking.  None of this can make the Creighton fan happy.  Greg McDermott is not an attention grabbing coach, his press conferences will put you right to sleep**.  If you throw him Dana Altman, Tim Miles, Derrin Hansen, and Doc Sadler into a charity poker event, you are going to forget he is there.  Miles would be the guy that never shuts up and annoys all the other players, but the crowd wants to keep watching.  Hansen will do the same, but not as many jokes, he will feed off of the Miles jokes a little bit.  Sadler would be the one accusing Miles and Hansen of having too much fun, probably folding his cards every single time.  Altman would be the guy who never says anything, still betting on what he thought was a good bet, everything would be a calculated decision.  You root for those guys in poker tournaments, mainly because you are dying to see what their hand is as 99% of the time they are in a hand, it is because they have a good hand.  McDermott would just there, drinking his water, you would forget McDermott was even in the poker tournament, he would never grab your attention to make you wonder what he is scheming.  You would just expect him to be out at some point, but not as quickly as Sadler who you assume would just get frustrated and make a bad bet so he could go home.

**That is not to say that McDermott is a bad coach.  Attention Grabbing ability does not make one a good or bad coach.  Nor does poker playing ability.  I am now curious though if anyone has done a qualitative study of this.


Why do we want it to happen?

So the hardcore UNO fans do not really like Creighton fans, they want the opportunity to beat Creighton.  They do not necessarily expect a win, but they want the chance to go to the game and maybe talk a little trash, poke fun at Creighton, and hopefully be on the winning side.  UNO fans have to live in the shadow of Creighton, which is fair since Creighton has been fully division one much longer.  In a way, UNO fans feel disrespected by Creighton fans.  Bluejay nation still does not see UNO as division one, this is partially because a majority of Creighton fans do not know what is happening outside of Creighton basketball.  A while back when Creighton was in the NIT, I had a few friends that wanted to go their game against Bowling Green, so I went down to the Qwest Center to buy the tickets, and the guy in front of me who was decked out in all Creighton gear like he was a life long fan asked as many questions as he could possible ask:

  • So this is the NIT?
  • What is the NIT?
  • What would have Creighton had to do to make the NCAA tournament?
  • Who are they playing?
  • Bowling Green is in what conference?
  • What was Bowling Green’s record this year?
  • What was Creighton’s record this year?
  • Is it a white out?
  • Is it a blue out?
  • How many fans do you expect to come?
  • Will Lawlor’s be selling any gear centered around the NIT?
  • Who does Creighton play after they win this game?
  • When is the next game?
  • Who leads the team in scoring?
  • They sell beer for the NIT, right?

I am pretty sure the ticket person wanted to just scream out “IT’S ON THE FREAKING INTERNET” the whole time.  But that is Creighton fan hood, they want to support Creighton, and they want the event.  For some reason they do not think Creighton-UNO is an event.  So we need to make it an event for them.

Would inviting Tim Miles make it an event?  Like, he could do the starting lineups.  He could come out in a tuxedo and grab the microphone and read off the starting lineups like he is doing the intros for a famous boxing match, he could read off each player’s name with some Will Ferrell like jokes, and then he could ring the starting bell.  Since there is apparently some rule that college coaches cannot attend games of their opponents, he will have to leave, and all the Creighton fans can boo him out of the building.  It might be better than Christmas for Tim Miles, and Creighton fans.


How about we shoot a few things down

Dick brought up the points that any Creighton fan that thinks they pay attention will bring up, so let’s take a look at these things.

  • It is tough enough to schedule in college basketball as is…

Yeah, okay, I can agree with that.  With the non-conference schedule taken up by early season tournaments, a rivalry game (Nebraska in this case), return games, and maybe a conference versus conference challenge, it can be a little difficult to fit a few more games in there for some teams.

It also has to be super stressful and challenging to set something up when your coaches and athletic admin attend the same charity events, local organization’s outings, AAU tournaments, and high school games.  That could require talking to each other in person.  Much more simple to get back and forth emails and phone calls with Tulsa and North Texas.  Creighton and UNO baseball, women’s basketball, women’s soccer, men’s soccer (in exhibitions), and other sports meeting up was defying all the odds in the last few years.

  • Playing UNO would not do much for Creighton

North Carolina A & T, Chicago State (3 times), Campbell, Houston Baptist, Presbyterian, Longwood, Alcorn State, UMKC, Long Beach State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Central Arkansas, North Carolina Central, Eastern Illinois, South Dakota, and Texas Pan-American have all played Creigthon since UNO’s transition.

Screw you.

You ever watch a city rivalry game?  You can not give two craps about either team and still enjoy the hell out of it.  A few years ago I watched Cincinnatti-Xavier on television, and this was post Sean Miller.  I do not care for either team and I do not even know any player on either team.  The rivalry was so intense, you could just feel the energy in the crowd and in the players in how important that game was to everyone there.

The UNO-Creighton men’s soccer exhibition last year was incredibly intense.  I thought someone was going to get killed.  It was an exhibition game…exhibition…  I said exhibition, right?

  • Creighton would have beaten UNO by 50 (last year)

Prove it…

I think what Creighton (and Iowa) fans hate more than anything are the personality-less Nebraska football fans who think at the beginning of the every year that the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team will win the national championship solely based on the fact that the 94 and 95 ‘skers were the greatest college football teams ever.  Those teams were then, and they were great, but this now.  So just because Creighton had Doug McDermott a couple years ago, it does not mean that the Bluejays are still at that level of greatness.  The Bluejays also do not have the same perimeter defense without Grant Gibbs.  Their team has changed greatly.  Yes there are a few years that Creighton would have beaten UNO by 30+, but that is not an every year thing, there are a few years that UNO could upset Creighton, and this year could have been one of them…maybe depending on when the game was played, Creighton was doing pretty well until they played North Texas.  Hell I am pretty sure there were years in the D2 era that UNO could have upset the Huskers in basketball.

We are now at a point where UNO beat a team that beat Creighton (Marquette) and Creighton beat a team that beat UNO (Chicago State), so we can have these arguments, which if the two teams do not meet, it is going to add to some frustration for the few that want the game to happen.  Creighton’s skill level is not as high as it was a few years ago.

I have a friend, he is a JaySker, the good kind of JaySker though, he wants them to both win, and he even roots for UNO a little bit (though he has yet to attend a basketball game).  He is really just one of those guys who roots for anything local, but he owns more Creighton stuff then he does Husker and UNO stuff.  He admits one thing, even though in the past they were exhibition games, UNO always played Creighton (and Nebraska) tough and close.  It was the Mavericks’ one chance for a showcase back then.  They watch more Creighton and Nebraska games on local television all year then they do any of their opponents, so the Mavericks have a constant recruiting tape loop on watch.  They get to sit in their dorms and watch Creighton play and think to themselves, if I had to stop that guy, this is what I would do.

So this whole Creighton would beat UNO by 50 BS can stop.  I am not saying it is an automatic close game, or even a win by UNO, I am just saying that it would at least be entertaining.  Was Nebraska-UNO early in the season not entertaining?  When it is a local rivalry, the game is more about the intangibles, not about who looks better on paper, and honestly Creighton did not look all that great on paper this season.


Tim Miles: The Inspiration

Whether it was on accident or not, Tim Miles proved something.  He was interviewed on the sideline at what I think was his first Husker football game, and he answered questions with a few jokes as his charismatic self, and he finished with an infamous line, only show in the state.

Miles claims he meant that there is no Nebraska State, as he was involved in the Colorado State to Colorado relationship.  He claimed to not be thinking of Creighton at this juncture, and we will never know if it was intentional not, but this caused so many Creighton fans to just lose their freaking minds.  Tim Miles had not even been involved with a Nebraska-Creighton game yet and the Creighton fan base wanted his head.  Creighton fans get pumped up for that Nebraska-Creighton game each and every year.  In the Missouri Valley days, it was their chance to show they were better than “the big boys.”  Now, beating that Tim Miles jerk is the motivation.

Now Tim Miles just loves poking fun at Creighton.  He does it every chance he gets.  He scheduled UNO and he took some jabs at Creighton for not doing the same thing.  Creighton fans want that win over Nebraska more and more now.  With Doc Sadler, Creighton lived in local basketball bliss.  Sadler did not really care too much for the local thing, he held not merit to winning or losing to Creighton.  He did not even really go after too many local recruits, I know someone related to Iowa’s Mike Gesell, and they told me that Sadler and Nebraska never once contacted him.  Sadler did not bring much media hype to Nebraska basketball, and they were as boring to watch as it was to listen to him talk.  Miles, with the help of a new arena, practice facilities, and commitment from the university has turned all of that around.  Neighboring Creighton is cranky that Tim Miles is now the main character in all of this and Creighton needs a bottle of juice.

I wish there was a way to hit Creighton where it really hurts and convince Tim Miles to stop the annual Nebraska-Creighton game and start a Nebraska-UNO annual game, but I highly doubt that is an option.  Creighton fans would riot in the streets of downtown Omaha.  To hurt them even more, the game could be played at the CenturyLink Center, both teams could wear one of those In Memory patches during the games, and no blue would be allowed in the arena.  Nebraska could even bring their floor, like they did when they played Oregon in Omaha.  After the games, Tim Miles and Derrin Hansen could go out downtown to all the Creighton hang outs, put as much money as they can into the juke boxes and play the worst music possible, and just be laughing the whole time.  They can even go to The Blue Jay Bar & Grill (is that place still open), and call out the bar for letting in a bunch of 19 year olds and letting them drink.  Again though, highly unlikely, but I feel like Tim Miles could still jokingly bring it up as an idle threat once in a while.

So anyway, Tim Miles and his Only Show in the State comment, it charged things up for Creighton against Nebraska.  With Sadler, Creighton was getting into this Oh La La attitude toward Nebraska basketball.  They wanted the victory over Nebraska for sure, but they were not getting pumped for it like they used to.  After Miles said that, all hell broke out, Creighton fans were pumped, they circled the game on their calendar, the ticket prices on Ticketmaster jumped up to almost $300.  Creighton fans needed new shirts from Lawlor’s to show their dominance and commitment.  So Tim Miles showed us one thing, to build up demand for Creighton fans, you just piss them right off.


Yes, let’s just piss off Creighton fans

It sounds so simple, and so fun.  At this point you have to assume that Greg McDermott (and probably Derrin Hansen) has some objections about this game happening, and McDermott is definitely not going to do it without demand from the fans.  So let’s just piss off the Creighton fans and force them to demand the game to happen.  Let’s make the Creighton fans the one calling the athletic admin to ask why it is not happening.

The Senseless, The Attitude, The Coast, and the Entitled all have one thing in common.  Their presentation of self suggests that they are incredibly confident and have high self esteems.  In reality, their confident persona and self esteem is the front stage, in the back stage, they realize they have not proven anything and need validation, they are actually quite insecure and defensive.  After all, the typical Omaha born Creighton student is the kid that you went to high school with a $30,000 car, no job, and presented it as if he bought the car on his own from all the hard work he has done.  If you ever called that kid out though, he would so make sure that dumb high school girls did not think you were hot.  Creighton men’s basketball somehow validates that they made the right choice in life.  The basketball team is really good, so I must have picked the right school!  With these people we need to attack and break down that confidence, until they want to see Creighton-UNO happen to in some way prove their oddly placed dominance.

Here are a few buttons to push:

  • Your school lacks innovation and looks like a sick Mongolian Hun coughed it up

When I went to school and worked at UNO they were constructing the new HPER building.  I was also on student government and sat through a bunch of presentations on ways to grow the University of Nebraska of Omaha.  Most of these presentations centered around facilities.  The same thing happened while I was working at Weber State, consultants would come in and discuss how prospective students care most about facilities and work out facilities were always the most important.  Where else are the homeboys supposed to pick up chicks other than the gym?

Anyway, UNO reconstructs HPER, and HPER is freaking awesome.  It has everything a student could ask for.  The student population grows from it, and continues to grow.  HPER has been rated one of the top gyms in the country, the Outdoor Venture Center is also nationally ranked, and believe me, considering its location, that is a huge accomplishment.  A few months after the student numbers get a jump, Nebraska-Lincoln gets a new Outdoor Venture Center, so who tilts their head like a confused puppy?  Creighton opens up the Rasmussen Fitness and Sports Center a few years later, which is similar to UNO’s HPER, but considering Creighton’s student population versus UNOs, it is completely ridiculous.  Creighton did not want to believe the facilities argument at first, I mean it was probably based on studies from MSNBC or something anyway.  The younger cousin got a new shiny toy and they had to have one.  They do not even have their own logo, they had to steal it from the Toronto Bluejays.  The first thing you see in the About Us section of their website is the phrase There’s No Place Like Creighton.  I feel like I have heard There Is No Place Like…but I cannot remember how the rest of it goes.

You drive by campus on Cuming Street and you look at it.  While you look at it, do you see the resemblance to the exterior to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, or is that just me?  Can you guys not hire a cleaning lady for that thing?

  • You do not actually care about the education

Nebraska basketball gets a brand new practice facility, so the Creighton moneybaggers and Monopoly players get all whiny and throw down some money for the Creighton Championship Center.  That is the thing, Nebraska gets an advantage and that is all those people want to fix.  This whole foundation of We Support the Jesuit Education from the boosters with more money than God is BS.  If the education is what they really valued, then their students would not be sitting in the UNO library studying because it is  a superior library.  I am sure that The Entitled and The Attitude could not even tell you where the Creighton library is located, or what the purpose of it is.  The Creighton senior days, when the players make speeches, how many of those players have you questioned if they could read or not?  Have the boosters sat through those?

  • Your student section sucks

Oh they will show up big for Nebraska, Georgetown, or Villanova, they will come get in the front rows for the games on national television, but other than that they suck.  It is after all pretty difficult to pretend that you go to Duke when your team is in 2nd to last place in something.  You go to the games and you see that a majority of the student section is disinterested, they might as well be at a Rob Schneider film.  Yes your team sucks at times, but that is still your team, and it is free for you, so why not go?

The UNO student section is far superior, yes I am a homer here, but it is true.  The main figure for Creighton sports is men’s basketball, the main character for UNO sports is hockey, and if you go to both of these events then you already know.  Even when UNO hockey is not as strong of a team as the students want to be, they still show up, because it is their team and they support it.  The Creighton students do not go if the Bluejays suck in their minds.

When I was on Student Government at UNO, this was in the Division 2 days, Trev Alberts came and talked to us and asked how to engage the students into athletics.  Alberts said one of the challenges was to get people to support UNO with one of the biggest athletic programs in the country just 45 minutes down the road, and while UNO was getting support for hockey there were not a lot of people there to support the Mavericks, there were more people who were just there for their love of hockey.  Alberts wanted to figure out how to get people behind UNO, not just the sport of hockey.  He also had the general feel that for other sports, students did not want to come to division 2 events because of the “high school” feel that it gave.  I think the high school feel is gone, students are there to support UNO now, the momentum is building, and the support is growing.  When the Mavs can play for post season, the crowd will become more supportive too, and the support was pretty high this last season of transition.

The Nebraska basketball student section did not want to go for a number of years, there was not much excitement in that program.  Tim Miles and a new arena rejuvenated them, now they are loud and crazy, no matter the opponent.  They are there to support the team now, good record or bad record, Big Ten opponent or Sun Belt opponent, they are there now.  They do not even need beer.

  • Tre’Shawn knows Omaha

It is not just Tre’Shawn Thurman, but any current and future Maverick that in an Omaha guy.  A marketing campaign we really need to start to take over JaySkers market.  You can assume most JaySkers are from Omaha and support the city of Omaha in one way or another.  With none of the Big East opponents really that close, and no Nebraska born scholarship players for Creighton (next year they will have Omaha North’s Justin Patton and Benson’s Khyri Thomas), it will be more difficult for these people to really connect with the Creighton program.  They wont have that Omaha supportive feel as they did with 8 years of Josh Dotzler-Antoine Young-Josh Jones Local From the Area back courts leading as the faces of the program and as that connection to the Omaha fans.

UNO has that connection now with Tre’Shawn Thurman, the player that the JaySkers will recognize.  We can get in Creighton’s front yard and throw a University of Nebraska at Omaha advertisement in a media timeout of a Creighton basketball game, and the video can end with the best Thurman dunk we can find.  It will get the Jayskers to think, We Need to Go See That Kid.  The guy they will want to see and sit around talking about his play at UNO and debating what he could have been at Creighton or Nebraska.  Can we post a bunch of Tre’Shawn Knows Omaha posters all around town, even on Creighton’s campus?  Is that against some rule?  Can we post a picture of him standing over an aerial portrait of Omaha, with his foot over the Creighton campus?  A subliminal message of, Everyone Will Get Behind This Guy and Not See You Anymore!

I am not even sure if this is totally legit.  I do see a bunch of women’s athletics programs just using girls that they see as the most attractive girl on the roster for their advertisements, even if they are not that much of an athlete in comparison to their teammates, so why not this?  It will not do much to anger The Attitude or The Coast, they barely care about Omaha as is.  The Entitled and The Senseless though, this will screw them up a bit.  The Entitled has a weird love of Omaha, mainly because they know they cannot leave it without Daddy’s permission, but they love it as if they are Batman loving Gotham City.  You know if Bruce Wayne’s parents did not die, and they just spoiled the crap out of him to the point of making him a waste of talent.

  • We beat Marquette…

Okay, so this can get to Creighton fans just a little bit, and they will typically come back with the You Lost to Chicago State argument, and that is fair.  But this still gets in their head enough to get them thinking.  If you keep poking at The Attitude, they are going to get pissy, they will absolutely need Creighton-UNO basketball to happen just to shut you up.  Remember, the idea is to get the fans to demand the game to happen, you want to get their reasons as to why the game is not happening out of their heads.

  • You are afraid to schedule us

I do not think this will work, but if you want to try it, what the the hell.  The fans are not afraid to schedule UNO, they just fall into the game of We Would Beat You by 50 and Playing UNO Would Do Nothing For Creighton.  The coaches and admin might be afraid, not in terms of picking up a loss on the  schedule, but more so for losing the fair weathered fans that they know “support” their program.

A mass of their fans care more about the beer at the arena, and the last time I checked the new UNO arena will sell beer.  My brother got me tickets to a Creighton game this year.  I went to the game, sat in literally the very back row, and I sat behind these three dudes who may have been the dumbest dudes I have ever found.  They hardly paid attention to the game, drank more beer than I have drank in the last 6 months, and talked about going to the casino the whole time, but this is after they discussed how dedicated they were as Creighton fans when they first sat down.  If UNO had a casino near campus, those fans would come and “support” UNO too, but I do not think these were people Trev Alberts was trying to recruit to be the supporters of UNO.

Creighton though, they love these people, and they cannot possibly take the risk of scheduling UNO for these idiots.  If Creighton-UNO plays, they may actually do a little more than pretend to care about the game.  They may stay seated, watch, be into it, and they may spend a few less dollars on beer.  OH NO!  Admit it though, you love going to their games or watching them on television and seeing 1/5 of the arena not into it, just in the hallways or at the concessions not actually rooting on the team.  Creighton might actually be afraid of scheduling UNO for the sake of these people.  So much integrity and excellence.

Have you ever heard a Creighton fan talk about Kansas basketball?  That is the team they want to play more than any but it wont get scheduled.  They want Kansas to come to Omaha and slap some dumb boring tag line of Come See the Bird Fight!  They want to show they belong with Kansas for some reason.  Kansas is on their own scale of good.  Creighton fans love to sit around and say “Kansas is afraid to schedule us”.  No, Kansas is not afraid to schedule you.  From what I could gather over years of listening to Creighton assistant coaches on the radio, it was Dana Altman who was afraid to schedule Kansas, for whatever reason.

  • Aksarben > Old Market

Creighton fans love their shiny things, and they love the downtown bars.  Apparently the Jesuit foundation means sneak into every bar in the Old Market and drink so much until you pass out in the back of a 5 minute cab ride.  Aksarben is now growing and it growing because of UNO, downtown does not NEED Creighton.  Aksarben also does not have that 42 year old dudes hitting on 22 year old chicks feel to it, bragging up his 36k a year lifestyle to some girl in college who has never worked more than 15 hours a week.  The restaurants in Aksarben are newer, the buildings are newer, and it has Amato’s.  Aksarben is not even close to being done either, not that downtown ever will be, but this has to enrage the from Omaha Creightoners.  I have not been to Aksarben much, just to DJs Dugout to catch a UNO hockey game or two, and a few other places, but I did notice that there are also not any douche bags that want to start a fight just for the sake of feeling tough like the Old Market.  Insecure people needing validation, that is the Creighton way.

  • I cannot stop laughing when you tell me that Creighton is as athletic as Georgetown or Villanova

Just stop saying it!  You are killing me!  I cannot even feel my side anymore!  Oh my God, you really think that?!  You really are that delusional!  How many beers did you have before half time?!?!  Is there a country for people like you to get deported to?!?!?!  Is it called the Republic of Dumb Shits?!?!

I had Archer on in the back ground during that…


So pissing off Creighton will be fun, and most of UNO fans probably already try it anyway, but at least now they should know that it can be productive too.  It is important to know that UNO fans need the Creighton fans to want this as much as the UNO fans.  As the JaySkers catch on, the UNO fans need to be welcoming of them, welcome them into a few watch parties for games at DJs Dugout maybe, let them see that Mavnation is not filled up with a bunch of arrogance like its neighbor.  Go to the Creighton-UNO and Nebraska-UNO events that are happening, which I am sure you already do, and find the good kind of JaySkers, friend them up and work on getting them to be MavSkers.

How to schedule the Mavericks and the Bluejays: Part I

Richard Creighton Fan walks into a bar

Okay, his name is actually Dick Creighton Fan*, but he walks into a bar about a half hour before the tip off of a men’s Creighton basketball game.  The first thing you need to know is that the bar belongs to him.  He will spend about 40 dollars on beer and food throughout the duration of this basketball game, and that is the most important 40 dollars that this bar will ever receive.  Dick grabs his seat at the end of the bar, right next to the tv, and so when you walk in you will have to walk by him and acknowledge his fan hood to the Creighton Bluejays.  For crying out loud, he has the new Bluejays logo on his shirt and the old logo on his hat, so you know he is freaking serious, super serious, he is Batman Taking Down the Joker serious.  It is a Saturday, so there are other basketball games on, and other sports on television, but none of those matter while Dick is ready to spend 40 bucks.  Dick is incapable of watching the game at home, no one is entirely sure of the reason, but does it really count as watching a sports match if you do not spend at least 20 bucks on beer?  If you went to a Creighton game with Dick, you would see how many trips he makes to the concession stand for a 8 dollar beer, it is a minimum of 3 times.

*Dick Creighton Fan is a pseudonym for a combination of every fair weathered Creighton fan you have ever met.  We all know a Dick Creighton Fan, they are all over Omaha, you have had several interactions with many of them, and you are even close friends with a few of them.  Most of this is based on an actual Dick Creighton Fan that I am good friends with.  Please do not take me poking fun at Creighton basketball as me not respecting the program, I have a good deal of respect for the actual program itself.

Fans of other teams begin to pile into the bar, none of them have a Creighton shirt on, but that does not matter to Dick, because you are the one who is a douche, and you need to respect what he brings to the world of sports, you came to his bar, he did not come to your bar.  A fan with a Nebraska Cornhuskers shirt walks in to watch a game, Dick tells him he is an idiot, Nebraska is stupid.  Dick loves the Huskers from late August to the beginning of January, but damn it, this is the winter, and Dick is 99% positive that the other sports at the University of Nebraska folded about 15 years ago.  A UNO hockey fan walks into the bar in hopes of catching the team’s away game, Dick does not care for UNO, you see in Dick’s mind, Creighton is in the Big East and has never been in a mid major.  Creighton has been a part of the big boys since the beginning of sports, so liking UNO is for the poor.  It is amazing how Creighton fans have already forgotten that they were actually in the Missouri Valley, and it can also be amazing that the ones who do remember that they played in the Valley forget that Wichita State and Northern Iowa were not always powerhouses.  An Iowa fan walks into the bar, what a loser, get creative, Creighton is all about innovation, Dick wants to ask the Iowa fan what it is like living in a trailer park.  A Kansas basketball fan walks into the bar, and this just enrages Dick.  Dick cannot handle it, this will cause Dick’s budget of 40 dollars at the bar go up to 50 dollars.  Who the hell does this Kansas fan think he is?  He is a punk, Kansas will not schedule Creighton, and the only logical reason is because Kansas is just afraid of Creighton, too scared to schedule them.

I walk into the bar right before tip off to watch the Creighton game with Dick.  Dick chastises me for showing up late, five minutes before the tip for a Creighton game is late to Dick.  The tip comes, Dick is so into it that he can only talk to me during commercials, and even then it is mostly about how the fifteen steps he has to take to the bathroom are completely stupid.  The referees make a legit call against the Bluejays and Dick calls the referees a bunch of (homophobic slurs), because Dick is super classy if you cannot tell.  An opposing player hits a wide open shot because the Bluejays are pretty terrible at defense, and that opposing player according to Dick is the biggest thug that ever existed in Dick’s mind.  That player belongs behind bars for hitting that shot.  A Creighton post player misses an uncontested layup and the opposing team grabs the rebound and runs down the court to score a transition basket.  “He was fouled!  These are the worst refs I have ever seen,” Dick screams out.  That player comes out of the game because he just a layup missed with no one or a ghost in the arena hit him on the arm, and another post player comes into the game.  The new post player gets the ball deep in the post, and with his awful footwork travels and turns over the ball.  “What kind of call is that?!  These refs are out to get us,” Dick objectively examines.  He claps hard for everything the Creighton starters do, as if they are the 5 greatest human beings on the face of the planet.  Essentially, Dick thinks of the Creighton starting 5 as the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers.

So half time comes and Dick can finally talk to me, and thank God!  Dick graduated from Creighton, but is now working toward his Master’s degree at UNO, as that is becoming the typical route for Creighton grads that stay in Omaha.  So the UNO fan in me is curious, I ask Dick if and when the Bluejays and the Mavericks ever play, who will he root for since he is now a part of the UNO family (though I already know the answer).  Dick sets down his Bud Light (Dick ALWAYS has Bud Light, it is the classy man beer after all), he then looks at me in disapproval as if I had just admitted to him that I slept with his mother, AND ON MOTHER’S DAY!

“I will never root for that dog shit program,” he says in my direction with a soul less Terminator-like expression on his face.  Dick then goes on to tell me the history of the Creighton basketball program, which I am already familiar with, and points out reasons how the two will never ever be on the same playing field.  To bring them into the same arena is a disgrace to the fine culture and the existence of a basketball program with such excellence.


What is that you say?

So the transition for UNO athletics is over for all but the Spring sports at this point, and while many UNO fans are looking forward to the added respect of the glory that comes with being fully division one, they want to know if the UNO Mavericks will ever play the Creighton Bluejays in men’s basketball.

As an Omaha kid, I grew up really liking Creighton basketball.  A majority of the games were on KMTV and I watched every single one that I could, I had to mute the games due to the anger that would be inflicted on myself at the sound of Travis Justice’s voice, but I did watch most of the games.  Kyle Korver, Larry House, Nate Funk, Anthony Tolliver, those are names you can throw at any Omahan and they will have some sort of respect for them as athletes.  I grew up liking Nebraska as well, but it was a little more difficult to find their games on television.  They were so awful, they would never get picked up anywhere, but once in a while you might get lucky with one of the Big 12 games on KXVO.  I rooted for Nebraska, and I still do, but Creighton, I do not root for anymore really.

You know what achieved status I did not have as a child?  I was not a college student or graduate yet, and I had never been to a college party that involved Creighton students.  UNO and UNL students can get along on the basis of At Least You Do Not Go To Creighton bond, and I am pretty sure that a bulk of UNO students wanted to go to UNL at some point in their life, but for whatever reason they ended up at UNO.  I had friends in high school that ended up at Creighton (and UNL), and their parties always involved a bunch of dill holes.  Every UNO student has had this happen to them, they get to a party and mingle around a little bit, they start a conversation with a Creighton student and the CU student brings something up about campus, and you inform them that you do not go to Creighton.  They find out that you go to UNO and all of a sudden, the conversation is basically over.  How the hell did this peasant get into this royal gathering?  The royal court cannot be seen with the UNO jesters, so this person who seemed decent enough suddenly vanishes and relocates to a new group that is worthy of their commentary on life.

So after a number of run ins with Creighton students like this, the love of their athletics program died.  I cheered for them for a while, I watched their games on television, but I do not care the same way I did as a child.  Even with Doug McDermott, I never really cared if they won or lost, the Creighton students ruined it for me, and I am sure they have ruined it for many non-Creighton students all around the eastern part of the state of Nebraska.  If Creighton athletics wins at this point, good for them, if they lose, oh well, it does not affect my life in any way.

Not all Creighton students are bad though.  There are a few different types of Creighton students and fans that you should be made aware of.


The Entitled:

This is quite possibly the worst kind of Creighton student.  The Entitled Creighton Fan did not have a job in high school, their daddy has a good job, a great job that most of us are jealous of.  Daddy does not make The Entitled work too hard for anything.  Those “Why go to Creighton ads” should be followed with “because Daddy did not make you get a job in high school and you have no useful skills” if they need to get The Entitled to pick them over…okay The Entitled are going to go there no matter what if they are from Omaha.

The Entitled worked hard enough to be okay in high school, they got decent grades, stayed out of trouble, and did okay on the ACT.  Daddy makes enough money for The Entitled to get into Creighton with no serious issues.  Daddy pays the way for The Entitled to go to Creighton, so they will not have $100,000+ dollars of student loan debt by the end of college.  Daddy just wants to be sure that The Entitled can get into a fraternity so he has some students to study with (or cheat off of).  I know Creighton is supposed to be really hard to get into, but as Omahans we have all heard the stories of some entitled asshole getting through high school with a 2.2 GPA and a “26” on their ACT, but somehow they got into Creighton.  Daddy figured out a way.

Daddy will get The Entitled a job right away out of college no matter what, they just need a degree, and they need the Creighton name on the degree, not because it will help in the job market really, but for the glory of it.  The Entitled goes to every home game, because it is not like they need to work anyway, the Entitled goes to each and every game and pretends he goes to Duke, oh and if the Entitled does not get a free t-shirt at the game, it was a shitty game.  The Entitled will also be a total dick about a Creighton win over Nebraska, UNO, or any opponent.  The Entitled has not had a bunch of personal success as far as awards and accomplishments or what have you, so they have to ride the shit out of the athletics team that they started following when they were 18 years old.

The Entitled does not get disciplined by Daddy, just supported.  It is surprisingly easy to skate through life with your parents having the resources.  I know a Creighton grad, we went to high school together, let’s just say that Daddy and Mommy both have a ton of money.  The Entitled got some bad grades in their first semester at Creighton, and they printed off a bogus report card to give to their parents.  Somehow Mommy and Daddy found out, they got mad for five entire minutes, and The Entitled cried.  Mommy and Daddy felt bad for the tears, and for their actions of being the shittiest of parents in the world so Mommy and Daddy bought The Entitled a brand new $25,000 car.  Tough life, right?  The Entitled could have gone to college just about anywhere, they could have just gotten an online degree really, because if Mommy and Daddy can get them a $25,000 car for existing, they can get them a full time job just about anywhere in Omaha.  Creighton on the degree was just for Mommy and Daddy to have something to brag about.

Trust me when I say the words Creighton University do not really matter once you actually hit the job market.  The words may help them get a job straight out of college a few months faster, but after time the degree does not really matter to the employer.  What matters is what you did in your last job and how you did it.  The Entitled can use Creighton to get them into the door, but advancement is an entirely different story.


The West/East Coasting Douche:

So did you know that Creighton has one of the biggest, if not the biggest, Hawaiian student populations in the US, on the mainland?  I found this out a few years ago, and it $urprised me.  There are a decent number of people that come from one of the coasts, it is usually the third school on their list, but they came to Omaha to visit the campus and “fell in love” with the campus.  They did not actually fall in love with the campus though, they fell in love with the Midwest feel of it being five years behind in terms of culture for where they are from.  They feel a little more cultured by coming here.  Downtown Omaha provides a bigger city feel, but with a small town splash mixed in for a little flavor, but not too much flavor.

The West/East Coasting Douche comes to Omaha, they like it, but they never really leave downtown for a few years.  Do not go to Dundee, that is where crime happens.  They come with the intention of coming to Omaha and getting the hell out after 4 years, which most of them are successful with.  This type of fan can be a bit of a prick.  To them, all of the locals are fools, you can never be as cool as someone from some a small town in California wine country after all.  They go to the sporting events and raise hell, because with a plan of getting out after 4 years, who cares what people around here think of them?

The West/East Coasting Douche more than likely comes from a similar economic class as The Entitled, but they have a different attitude and usually are not much of a factor after they graduate because they skip town immediately after graduation.  They go back home after Creighton life and just pay attention to the pro sports in the end.  They typically do not educate themselves on Creighton’s opponents, because it is just about a Creighton win, which is respectable in a way, but they do not care if it is Georgetown that Creighton beats of it is Arkansas State.  All Creighton wins are cool to these people, which is also respectable in a way, but when they talk up beating Arkansas State like it was the game of the century, you kind of want to smack them around a little bit.

So I grew up liking Creighton, right?  I have a Creighton Bluejays rain jacket, if I could find a Huskers rain jacket or a Mavericks rain jacket that fit as comfortably in the rain when it is warmer out, I would replace it.  Anyway, my wife and I went to Portland for her 10 year high school reunion.  Have you ever been to the Pacific Northwest?  It rains a lot, so I brought the rain jacket.  I worked out of my company’s Portland office for a few days, and my wife met me in downtown Portland after work for her to go shopping for a dress for the reunion, and to torture me with boredom.  Anyway, while sitting there in pain for an hour or two waiting for her to try on dresses, a guy comes up to me and asks me about my Creighton jacket.  He is clearly pumped to find a fellow Creighton buddy so far away from Creighton, he treats me like we are about to be best friends, but then he asks me what year I graduated from Creighton.  I disappoint him with telling him that I went to UNO, then his head drops and the conversation just turns into one word exchanges.

I did not live up to par with him, I was a local Nebraskan, not a fellow West/East Coasting Douche.  The West/East Coasting Douche is never overly mean or anything (other than at sporting events), they just simply do not care about the locals.  They are in college to get their education, which is important and honorable, the sports thing is cool to them, but not typically hugely important.  These are usually the students that you will look down into the student section and see them sitting down, drinking a beer, and playing games on their phones.  So the people that want to make you shout WHY DID YOU EVEN COME TO THIS GAME!?  They usually leave with about 10 minutes to go in the game though, no matter the score, because who really cares?  You cannot buy a beer at that point in the game, so that is when it stops being fun to the coaster.


The Attitude:

With similar backgrounds to The Entitled and The West/East Coasting Douche, The Attitude is just a prick for the sake of being a prick.  The Attitude cares about Creighton athletics winning, because they need to be better than you, and apparently their sports team beating your sports team is what confirms that.  Maybe the fundamental difference between The Attitude and The Entitled is that Daddy made The Attitude get a job in high school, maybe even one in college, just to teach The Attitude to please for the love of God just do not have an attitude.  The Attitude gets to Creighton though, and they have to deal with the Entitled and the West/East Coast Doucher, they need to compete for spoiled bitch hood.

Usually The Attitude is nothing physically great.  Their life has been spent with Daddy trying to give them life lessons by making them work and try to be a little hard on them to get them to grow up, but damn it, they went to a high school where all the kids got BMWs and The Attitude was stuck with a newer, but still slightly used, Honda Accord.  Why is life so freaking unfair?!?!  So The Attitude has let themselves go just a little bit to test Daddy’s love.

This same trip I spoke of for going to Portland for my wife’s 10 year reunion, before leaving Omaha we were sitting in the airport, and of freaking course I accidentally put my headphones in my checked baggage.  We were sitting next to The Attitude and a future Creighton student who could possibly turn into the West/East Coast Douche, but she seemed like a decent person really.  The Attitude knew everything there was to know about life, she had all of the right answers to everything.  She tried to teach the future Creighton student what real student life was going to be like.  The Attitude made fun of the locals and taught real import stuff like what professors you should take based on how hot they were or how easy they were as a teacher.  Do not even try to challenge The Attitude into adulthood, you will get nowhere.  The Attitude then talked about which fraternity had the hotter boys and where they hung out, who had the better parties, and which one you would definitely get lucky at…The Attitude was about 30 pounds over weight and wore glasses that made it look like she was trying to crack a safe, there was nothing really attractive about her on the outside or the inside, and you could tell that she never really had anyone in her life tell her “you know, you are not really God’s gift to man, you should try to nicen up just a little bit.”

The entire time she talked, my wife and I just had our heads down wishing it would just stop.  We both wanted to tell her off, but we both knew and probably just hoped that five years down the road she would grow up and look back at everything and realize her stupidity.

The Attitude is usually the one at Creighton games who do not know what a foul or a travel is.  How could Creighton make infractions in the game, they are too smart to not know the rules?   The Attitude is typically in college for the ride and to say that they went to college, not to actually get anything out of it.


The Senseless:

No one knows how The Senseless got into college, and in fairness they are at every college.  I am pretty sure they are just created like cartoon characters and never truly age.  They live the Van Wilder experience and have been a Senior a semester away from graduating for the last couple of years.

The Senseless loves Nebraska football probably more than anything, but hates Nebraska in everything else, especially basketball.  I believe the term for that is JaySker.  My friends and I think there are couple different types of JaySkers.  The acceptable ones who love the Bluejays, but also love the Huskers as well.  They support both programs equally as they the two biggest and local products, and they probably have ties to both of them.  These JaySkers can also love the Mavericks, even the Lopers, and whatever the hell else is out there in Nebraska.  Then there is the other type of JaySker, the ones who love Nebraska football as if it is their first born child, but hate Nebraska in everything else and just support the hell out of Creighton.  These people make up The Senseless.

The PA in the CenturyLink Center may announce the Nebraska basketball score from time to time, and The Senseless will boo the crap out of that.  They hate Tim Miles so damn much, probably because he is a coach with a personality, and he could threaten the ideal that Creighton has a dominating advantage over a Big 10 school on the court and in recruiting.  Tim Miles and Nebraska will beat Creighton someday, and it will be the worst day in the life of The Senseless.

The Senseless supports Creighton athletics no matter what, which is good for them, but to them the athletes walk on water.  The stories of students getting into Creighton with bad grades is impossible for them to understand.  To The Senseless ALL Creighton students got a 4.0 or better in high school and a perfect score on the ACT or SAT.


The Good Ole Folks:

The Good Ole Folks are good people.  They go to Creighton, because they want the quality education, and they want the challenge that is supposed to come along with Creighton.  They do not get to every Creighton event, just the ones they have time for.  These folks cheer on the Bluejays because it is their school, you can respect these people, you want to hang out with these people.

The Folks usually have taken out a decent number of student loans to take on the Creighton challenge.  They hear The Attitude talk about taking classes with the easy professors and they thank them for letting them know what classes to not take.  The Folks may have a father that works three jobs just to help their child go to school, and I really do not think there is anything more respectable than that.  You may meet the Folks at a party and they can carry a conversation with you most of the time, unless some peer pressures come from their Creighton associates, but later in life they will hold a small amount of regret for that.

The Folks can typically get along with anyone who is a good decent person, as they are a good decent person themselves.  They realize that sports are just an escape vehicle for most people.  Something to get away from the normal pressures and stresses of life.  The Folks do not need to wish the deaths of college kids of opposing schools, in order to take some form of comfort in a Creighton loss.  The Folks are at every school, and they are needed in to keep the rest of fans fair and balanced.


 

Where are you going with this?

So that is the main core of Creighton fans/students, when you get to know them, you hate them.  They have taken something that you could once enjoy and they make you borderline hate the athletic program.   Dick Creighton Fan, he takes on the characteristics of all the main core except for The Folks. but Dick is going to be essential for the success of the UNO men’s basketball team.

What does profiling Creighton athletics fans into something as if they are marketing profiles have to do with scheduling Creighton and UNO men’s basketball?  Just wait, I will explain that…

To be continued…

A little recap of the bumps and bruises along the way in the last year of transition

So the season is over for the UNO men’s basketball team, as well as this long transition period, so how would you rate the transition and the 2014-2015 season?

As for the entire transition, it was obviously a learning process.  Not just for the players, but for the coaching staff as well.  In the first year of transition, yes they won 11 games, but only one game against a division one opponent (Northern Illinois).  In the second season, the team still won 11 games, but even after a few players transferred out, and the team graduated their stop scorer, Mitch Albers, they were able to win 9 games against division one opponents.  In year 3, the Mavs were able to win 15 games against division one opponents.  That team had a solid core of talent, and everyone knew each other.  Karhoff, Hagerbaumer, Simmons, Carter, Steffensmeier, and Phillips had established what they could do, then you got to add incredibly tough and competitive Rostampour and Patterson to that team.  You have to figure 15 wins over division one teams and a post season win in the CIT was a tremendous success, considering the transition and that most of the roster was not recruited for the division one level.

From a wins perspective and conference standings point of view, you would probably want to give this season a D-, but was it really that bad?  Okay, I will admit that I am a homer, but consider a few things.  The Mavericks lost 5 conference games by one possession.  The Mavericks were able to beat Marquette in Milwaukee without Jake White (who before the start of the season was thought to be the best player on the team).  The Mavericks were affected by significant injuries to key players Devin Patterson, Marcus Tyus, and Jake White (who I already mentioned), not only to mention that a few other players got sidelined by a sickness or two throughout the season.  I am still a firm believer that if the Mavs had White and Patterson against Chicago State that they would have won that game.  The Mavericks were also playing with 8 guys that had never played a game as a Maverick.  So with these factors thrown at you, do you upgrade that D- to a C maybe?

We knew that Jake White suffered an injury last season while he was sitting out due to transfer rules, so you had to wonder about how much he got to actually practice and get ready for his first season as a Mav.  It seemed like he was a little out of funk for much of the season, partially because of injuries to his foot, and I assume just about every body part you can name in 30 seconds.  Can that be a game at the new arena next year?  Name more muscles than Jake White in 30 seconds, and go… We were a little teased with White at first.  Not including Koang Dulouny, who only played 7 games at UNO, he was the first transfer that the Mavericks were able to pick up that came from a bigger program.  So there was some excitement to see how much he could help.  His first game he nearly had a double-double until he had to leave the game with a foot injury.  The newspaper said it should not affect him for too long, but he missed the first road game at Seattle, then at Marquette, then at Nebraska, and so on.  We were teased with this Well He Is Pretty Likely Next Game thing for a string of games.  The Mavericks even had him suiting up, like the Boston Celtics did in 2008-2009 in the playoffs with Kevin Garnett who was suffering an abdomen injury, which just had you wondering as a fan WHY ARE YOU NOT PUTTING HIM IN THE DAMN GAME, DO YOU NOT RESPECT THE OTHER TEAM?!?!?!?!?!?!

Then White came back, then sat down for a few more games, and we found ourselves wondering if this was a bust.  A bust in the terms of, did not live up to the hype because of injuries, not because of lack of talent.  It turns out, it was NOT a bust!  Admit it, a healthy Jake White versus Mike Rostampour, you have a hard time figuring out which one is the better rebounder.  There was not a ton of consistency to Jake White this season, but how could anyone be with that many injuries?  There were many missed “bunnies” by White, but with a constant string of injuries are you going to get mad at him for that?  Did you see how extremely pissed off he was after each of those misses?  He knows that is not a normal thing and that those easy shots will drop next season after he has had more time to work on things with the Mavs.  There were a few plays throughout the year, where he would get bumped the wrong way, and he could not get down the court and back on defense, which was unfortunate, but that is not something that will last.  Not the guy we saw grab 10 rebounds in a half, nope, that healthy guy, will be up and down the court.  The (barely) less than 40% shooting for a post player, that will not be forever.  If White can stay healthy, bring that shooting percentage up to the high 40s/lower 50s, and run the floor better next season, the Mavs will win more games with that.

Then the injuries to Devin Patterson and Marcus Tyus.  The team runs on Patterson, he is the floor general, he gets shit done.  Without him, the team’s flow is completely off.  You could tell that there were a few games that he was affected by his feet and ankles, he just did not run the same.  This is no diss to Kyler Erickson or Devin Newsome, but the team is just entirely different with either of them playing the point, the team does not get out and run as much, the team do noes not do all of the things that the Mavs like to do.  The team does need those stretches though where they are not running nearly as much, this is not Oregon football, where the offense can score in a minute and then go sit down for 10-15 minutes of actual time, nope, this is constant back and forth stuff here.  The team needs Erickson or Newsome to come in and slow it down for a stretch of time, the players do not play like a video game where it has a mathematical formula to determine how tired they are, although that would be pretty awesome.  Patterson is right up there to be the best point guard in the Summit League, the best point guard is too big of a piece to have go down in order for your team to keep their rhythm and success.  But this is athletics, players have to play through injuries, and teams have to figure out how to play around those injuries.  I think Chip Kelly said that.  Two Oregon football mentions in one paragraph?  Oh man, I really have married into Oregon fanhood.  I really need to check myself in somewhere, like a bar.

Then a loss of Marcus Tyus, so you end the season without your best shooter for 6 games.  An awful person may say that the Mavericks were a better team without Tyus since they went 4-2 without him, but screw that person.  You are never a better team when you take away your most consistent player and best three point shooter.  The team’s three point shooting fell without Tyus at first.  5-18 versus South Dakota (loss), 4-19 versus Western Illinois (win), 4-19 versus Oral Roberts (loss), 3-14 versus IPFW (win), then they needed Tim Smallwood to basically do a Marcus Tyus impersonation and hit a season high 5 threes against IUPUI.  If Smallwood did not have that type of game, the Mavericks more than likely do not win that game.  I sometimes think that when a key scorer gets injured mid or late season, it can turn out better for a team’s win percentage.

Why?  When a key scorer on the team have to think about things more and process out game as a team, and be more creative to find baskets, not just throw the ball to one player for a certain percentage of the time.  Not that I think Tyus was a ball hog, not at all, not saying that.  The Mavs were just forced to figure it out, after already once trying to figure it out without Jake White and/or Devin Patterson.  When the Mavs lost White, the entire team was pretty new as it was, so they had to figure out playing together already, when they lost Patterson, they lost their flow.  Tyus going out created a different situation, but this time it was after the mix of returners and newer players got a chance to ball and gel together already for most of the season.  As a point guard, Patterson only really plays one position, so his injury basically only created more minutes for Kyler Erickson and Devin Newsome.  As a post player, Jake White’s injury basically created more minutes and opportunities for Tre’Shawn Thurman and Rylan Murry.  By the way, I am still going with Thurman and Murry sounds like the worst cop buddy show on USA or TNT.  Tyus’ injury creates a little more opportunity, playing two positions, it created more minutes for Randy Reed, Tim Smallwood, and Kyler Erickson, as well as creating more situations for Derrin Hansen to try a bunch of different lineups.  The Reed, Smallwood, Erickson combo also knew they had to bring some more energy with Tyus out, they hopefully knew and understood this was a big chance for them.  With Tyus out, they all played key moments and came up huge to help the success of the Mavericks.  It created a learning situation late in the year, and the players had to develop and work it out.  PLEASE DO NOT TAKE ANY OF THIS AS ME BEING HAPPY AS MARCUS TYUS BEING INJURED, INJURIES ARE NEVER GOOD, ESPECIALLY FOR ANYTHING IN THE KNEES.

Playing with 8 new faces is kind of fun, but also pretty frustrating.  The first job I ever had was in a restaurant.  There was this kid that worked with me, and we were both new at about the same time, the restaurant closed at 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and the two of us pretty much closed every single Friday.  At first, it would take us 45 minutes to get all of the closing duties done, but after a while we both figured out what the other was better at, we both knew what the other was going to do before even doing it.  After a while, we could get out of that shit hole in about 15 minutes after closing.  The same thing kind of works in sports.  Yes, by this time Patterson, Carter, Tyus, and Rostampour should of had that same functioning relationship on the court, but it is not like they all play every single minute of every single game.  White, Reed, Smallwood, Murry, Meyer, Erickson, Newsome, and Thurman do not all have that same relationship with each other or the returning 4, and hopefully they can all return for next season to develop those on the court relationships.  They will know what everyone else is doing before they even start doing it.  Once the Mavs get on this trip to Europe and play together more, have a summer of working out together, all get together and practice, they are going to get better at that closing shift. So you have to be feeling good about the start of full fledged D-1 life, right?  You also have to think, there is not (as of right now at least) no division one team in Nebraska with a winning record.  Tim Miles has stated that his team has not improved as the season as gone on, it does not look like Creighton has improved toward the end of the year, but the Mavs did get better toward the end of rht year.

So is this similar to when the Mavs had the returning core from 2012-2013 and got to add Rostampour and Patterson to the mix?   Several Summit League teams have a good deal of players returning players, as there are not many graduating seniors in men’s basketball, so we will have to wait and see if the growing chemistry is a factor for the team’s success.  That is kind of obvious, right?  That we would have to wait…I mean the schedule has not even come out yet.  How dumb was it of me to say that?

Aside from the record that did not live up to expectations, we did see some great things this year.  Okay, we won a game yesterday.  If we win today it’s called “two in a row”.  And if we win again tomorrow that’s called “a winning streak.”  It has happened before.  That is a Major League reference.  If you have not seen Major League, you probably need to reevaluate your entire life.  The Mavs were able to finish on a 3 game winning streak on the road.  You have to be optimistic with that if the Mavs were able to make the Summit League tournament this year, that they would at least be hot going into the tournament, even as an 8 seed.  A team on a 3 game road winning streak, and 4 of their last 6 overall. with the 2 losses by a total of 4 points in the final possessions, is not your typical 8 seed.  But an 8 seed still has to play the 1 seed, and the Mavs did not have a good time this season against South Dakota State.  Okay, I went back and looked, that is actually a Major League 2 reference.  It is okay if you have not seen Major League 2, that is cool.

We also saw the ending of two fine careers, and the beginning of a few more.  CJ Carter finished his career with just a couple more than 1500 points, the 5th most in school history, Mike Rostampour finished his two year career teaching the Mavericks about rebounding and toughness.  The Mavs got to show off the beginning of freshman Tre’Shawn Thurman who showed a tremendous freaking upside, and Murry, Meyer, and Newsome showed glimpses of what they will be capable of.  Murry a three point specialist and good ball handler for his size, Meyer a good rebounder and defender, even showed some post moves when given the chance, and Newsome showed his ability to be a floor general.

Mav fans who paid attention this year, they know that this season was more than just the season that the Mavs beat a Big East team.  The Creighton Bluejays had a similar season a little while back, yes I know they were not in transition, but the last few years of Dana Altman the Jays would get ahead and build decent leads.  They would lose those leads on getting tired, missing shots, and not playing quality defensive possessions down the stretch.  Those teams (with Kenny Lawson, P’Allen Stinnett, Kaleb Korver, Booker Woodfox, Cavel Witter, and others) were supposed to be “the most athletic teams Creighton had in a while and supposed to run and shoot teams out of the gym, even with a bunch of new faces on the roster.  Sound a little familiar?  Creighton moved on from that, got better, made the NIT (almost beat Kentucky), eventually climbed the conference standings, found a stroke of accidental luck with Doug McDermott, had famous battles with Wichita State and Northern Iowa.  UNO will continue to grow just like Creighton did.

Another great success was how supportive the student section became this season.  This is partly because of the Pike fraternity growing a collective man crush on Derrin Hansen, and trust me, I get it.  The first three years of transition, you wondered where the students were and you really just hoped that they were not at a Nebraska or Creighton game.  Now they are taking notice, they knew how important it was to show guys like Carter and Rostampour their support.  The energy of the crowd in college basketball is an extremely valued variable.  Think of those moments the players are just exhausted and they need that reminder of who they are playing for (other than themselves, their teammates, coaches, and families).  They get that extra needed jolt and ride it.  The crowds at UNO hockey are extremely important, and not it is time that the other sports are getting the support.  I know during division 2, UNO would invite potential new hires to UNO athletics and the candidates would ask Where are the Students?  You have no idea how much of a ripple effect the student can create.  It is also extremely satisfying to go to a UNO game and see that the students are into the game the entire time, it is not like when they go to that other Omaha school and the students are sitting down, drinking a beer, checking their phones constantly, and not caring about their team.  They are just there for the hopes of a free t-shirt.

This reminds me.  Next post on how we schedule those Creighton guys?

 

 

Meet future Maverick J.T. Gibson

With just a few weeks left in the basketball season, and with an 8-15 record, Mav fans may begin looking to UNO’s first full fledged season as a Division 1 institution.  It’s okay to admit it, we have been looking forward to the 2015-2016 season for quite some time now.

Let’s add some more hype to next season by taking a minute to discuss future guard J.T. Gibson.  I have stated before that it seems somewhat pointless to talk about recruiting, you do not really know what you have in a player until he is actually in a uniform on the court in a game.  But hey, let’s try it.

Just looking at a few things, the commitment of Gibson already seems like a win for the Mavericks.  The Mavs have wanted to recruit out of the state of Minnesota for a while now, even before transition, it was a great place to go on recruiting trips.  With only one division one basketball team in the state of Minnesota, which is a Power 5 team that can recruit nationally, it leaves a lot of room open for “the other guy” to come and try and sell brake pads.  That’s a Tommy Boy reference, a poor one, but still a Tommy Boy reference.

studentathletes
J.T. Gibson signed with the University of Nebraska at Omaha for basketball.

 

If you look at Gibson’s Yahoo profile, he held offers from Illinois State, La Salle, North Dakota, Northern Colorado, South Dakota, Western Kentucky, and the top dogs of the Summit League North Dakota State and South Dakota State.  He also visited NDSU and SDSU.  UNO has not gotten a commitment out of a guy yet that has had that many offers.  A goal of the basketball program was to grow into the next North Dakota State and South Dakota State, so to pick up a commitment from a guy that visited those two schools, shows us that UNO picked up a win.

Let’s not get crazy though, he still has to get on campus and play.  By that I mean, please don’t jinx it and go get in a fight with a Bison or Jackrabbit fan about how we’re better than them now, don’t be that dude.  Players have committed to UNO and vanished before, so let’s just appreciate what it’s worth for now.  The Minnesota High School Basketball bloggers and writers have referred to UNO picking up JT Gibson as a “steal”.  Some of them seem to think he could be at a bigger school, maybe not as an immediate impact like he would be in the Summit League, but an impact for sure at some point down the road.

Assuming and praying that Gibson is in uniform next season for UNO, he has the chance to contribute right away. UNO still has room for one more commitment and current players could still potentially transfer out, so there is still time for a lot of things to happen.  I have seen Gibson listed anywhere between 6’2″ and 6’4″, and he’s been scouted as being able to play the point guard or shooting guard.  So on paper it sounds like we have a special wing player that can do a lot.

One thing I would like to put a random disclaimer on.  I mention this kid’s height like it is an awesome thing, but height and athletic frame do not automatically equate to success.  I never want to refer to a player as “a kid with a great body.”  I was watching a Creighton game with some friends one time.  It was P’Allen Stinnett’ s first game at Creighton, also the first game for Kaleb Korver and Casey Harriman (among several others).  Biggest Douche in the Universe Nominee Travis Justice, that’s a South Park reference, kept referring to Casey Harriman as having a great body to the point that it became creepy.  It created four years of my friends and I passing jokes on Casey “the body” Harriman.  “The Body” faced many injuries over his career, and he was a classy dude, it was tough to watch him not turn into much at Creighton by his senior year.  I do not think we should ever tout someone as a great player because their body looks awesome.  The last thing I want to hear Gary Sharp say is “look at the body on Daniel Meyer.”  Just say it out loud, it’s seriously creepy.  The one take away you should take away from this is that Travis Justice is a freakin’ loser.  I met the guy once when I was in high school, I tried to be nice to him because hey, it was Mr. Channel 10.  Now I would just be a jerk to him.  Hey Travis, I am really sorry you lost out to John Edward.  The committee should have really given the award to you.  That’s back to the South Park reference.

Gibson’s high school team is undefeated (as of the 7th) and he has the most points in school history.  He is even up for Mr. Basketball in the state of Minnesota.  You are thinking of him on the floor with Tre’Shawn Thurman right now, aren’t you?  Gibson also comes from the same AAU team that some guy named Doug McDermott spent time on.

Here is a little video of him:

It looks as if he can shoot, and shoot well.  He also appears to be a good ball handler and passer, but I believe those skills get a little harder to showcase in the next level when you are facing tougher defenses, so we have to obviously wait and see if those skills will translate.  Would you compare him to any current and former Mavs?  Maybe the height of Justin Simmons, the shooting and ball handling of Marcus Tyus, the speed and penetration of CJ Carter?  Mavenstein!

Looking at the Mavs future, there will be J.T. Gibson along with (assuming these guys do not leave) Daniel Meyer, Tre’Shawn Thurman, Rylan Murry, and Devin Newsome as well as other signees C Zach Pirog and G Zach Jackson.  A decent crew it seems.  It certainly does seem attractive to think of those guys as a seniors with J.T. Gibson in the mix as a junior (along with the Zachs).

North Dakota State is a young team this year, they only lose Lawrence Alexander, who is the best player in the conference in my opinion.  They also have four decent commitments coming in, which includes a JuCo player named Malik Clements who once held a scholarship offer from UNO and they also have native Nebraskan Spencer Eliason, brother of Minnesota Gopher Elliott Eliason.

Oh, look who wanted this kid...
Oh, look who wanted this kid…

The other head honcho in the conference, South Dakota State, does not have any commitments yet, but they are also a somewhat young team that only loses two players to graduation.  South Dakota State could also land a transfer from a bigger school, or a juco player, they just have the power to do that.  They also have Nebraskan native Michael Daum, who also held a scholarship offer from UNO at one point, redshirting this season.

That’s not to say no one else in the conference has anything else sitting there for future purposes.  South Dakota picked up a commitment from Norfolk’s Tyler Hagedorn, another player UNO offered a scholarship.  You are also just sitting there thinking that Craig Smith is going to do something.  He’s waiting, he’s a sleeping giant that has already made South Dakota better, and will continue to make them better, until he probably gets a bigger and better job.  Denver picked up a commitment from a 6’5″ McDonald’s All American nominee (Rylan Murry was also a nominee, just sayin’).

On paper, it seems that the Mavs are inching closer to being comparable to North Dakota State and South Dakota State, and Gibson is one of the puzzle pieces to hopefully get us there.

Served on a North Dakota bun, we have an IPFW hate sandwich

I do not really want to get in too deep about the South Dakota State game from Wednesday night, because it is pretty similar to everything that was said about the home loss to the Jackrabbits a few weeks ago.  SDSU is the best team in the league, and a goal for UNO basketball is to be on the same playing ground as them someday.  We are far from it right now.  The Mavs only graduate two players and so do the Jackrabbits, all four players that graduate from the two teams are key players, but maybe we should expect the same next season.  Patterson was able to defend George Marshall better this game and hold him to two points, but a combined 14-15 with 8-8 threes from junior guards Jake Bittle and Deondre Parks is clearly not good.  The Mavs need to figure out this perimeter defense thing.

The bench was no where to be found, but I must say that the Mavs bench put up some good numbers against Denver.  We need more of that every game.  I was out of the country for the Denver game, maybe I need to go the Caribbean for every game…


 

Hey North Dakota Hockey, screw you, I mean, let me take that back

I wish I knew more about hockey to say more than six words about it.  I love going to UNO hockey games.  I barely knew what hockey was before becoming a UNO student.  I saw it was free to go to the games and I did not want to be that guy that never took advantage of something like that.  That reminds me, I did not realize that Creighton only had 30 fans that cared about the basketball team until the other night against St. Johns.  Must be pretty hard to pretend you go to Duke when your basketball team is on an 8 game losing streak…

I have learned the rules of hockey, but I still have no idea what makes a good pass a good pass, and anything about any form of strategy.  If I had a kid that was in hockey and I was coaching the team, I would just say, “piss off the other kids until they fight you or do something else stupid so we can have more players than them for a few minutes.

I do know this, I can hate North Dakota, but I have to respect North Dakota.  Have you ever been to North Dakota while a Sioux game was on?  You can not do anything else.  My father-in-law has a farm in Minot and my wife and I go see him from time to time.  Usually when we stop somewhere, the place is decked out in North Dakota and North Dakota State flags, if there is a hockey game on then ALL televisions are on that North Dakota game, any other time of the year then it seems there is always one television that is devoted to playing reruns of hockey.  The NoDakians know their hockey, and I love going to UND-UNO hockey, there are more people in green, more people in red/black show up to show their support, it is a great experience.

I hate University of Missouri sports fans more than I hate any other fan base.  Their fans make literally no sense, and most are addicted to something incredibly bad for them.  When their football team became good, their fans did not know what was going on.  All they knew was, BALL GO PAST LINE, WE GOOD, then they cheered to the look of the Missouri players looking happy.  Last year when UNO played UND in hockey at CenturyLink, that is when I realized that I actually know very little about hockey.  I do not remember the exact situation, but UNO looked like they scored a goal and they started to cheer, but the people in green started to cheer as well.  The Mav population looked instantly confused when the Sioux faithful started to cheer.  The goal was called off due to a penalty, and all of the people in green knew it before it was even announced.  The Mav population just reacted to what they did not even understand what was fully going on, the NoDakians knew what was happening before the arena staff knew what was going on.

I am not saying we have to like them, but we need to respect them, but when basketball comes around they can screw off.  I just bring it up because I have seen some hate filled tweets on the Twitter machine, which I realize are in good fun, but college hockey is as important to these people as college football is to Nebraskans.  I would not want to piss off their fans to fuel the fire of their players, even though that is kind of the thrill of a rivalry.  Plus North Dakotans drink A LOT, so if they made the trip, lets just butter them up a tiny bit so they can pump a bunch of money into Omaha bars and hotels.


IPFW

The Mastadons were picked as the preseason favorite of the league. but now they are sitting at 6th in the League with a 3-5 record in the conference.

The ‘Dons beat the Mavericks in both meetings last season, but by a total of 5 points.  Do you remember the last game they played?  It was senior day for the Mavericks.  IPFW was one of the top teams in the league and really the only one fans thought could contend with North Dakota State for the championship. The game was forced to overtime, it was close in the entire overtime period.  There were some miscues from each side that had you sitting at the edge of the seat screaming What The Hell?!

IPFW gets the ball and in a last ditch effort, IPFW’s Steve Forbes puts up a three (he has never officially made or attempted a three so far at IPFW), the shot is a miss, but the official blows his whistle.  A foul on John Karhoff.  The Hoff looks at the ref like he is going to murder him right there with 1000+ witnesses and not even care.  Boos come from everywhere in the arena.  The referees have to go to the monitor to, I assume, check to see if it was a two point or three point attempt.

I am still not sure if anyone has ever said that foul was legit or not, but it was called a foul.  While the refs were checking the monitor, the body language was not good like – oh shit, what did we do?  An official can never really say yeah I screwed up, my bad, I am sorry.  They always say, I called it as I saw it.  The only time in recent memory that I can think of a ref admitting fault is when the first base umpire made a terrible call to screw up a perfect game for Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga.  Hey, at least Galaraga still got a sweet car out of the deal.  And the officials can look at the monitor and realize they made a mistake, but they cannot wave off the foul, so while I was watching those officials at the monitor, their body language was the body language of a couple dudes that realized that they are bad at their job.  It is not like I am mad at Steve Forbes, he did not make the call, but I do not recognize sports officials by name, so I just need a scapegoat.

A win probably would of had that big of an impact on the Mavs season.  After Forbes hit the free throws to give IPFW the win, I was thinking that the chances of going to the CIT were over.  I thought it was done, IPFW took away the positive feelings at the end of the year.  Thankfully, it did not eliminate UNO from postseason play and the Mavs could pick up their first post season win a few weeks later.  But still, the Mavs felt stripped of a win on senior day.  Karhoff, Matt Hagerbaumer, Justin Simmons, Alex Phillips, and Caleb Steffensmeier did a lot for the basketball program, they all played great on their senior day, but were screwed out of a win we felt.  And this is the IPFW team that went on to beat South Dakota State, and then only lose by three to conference champion North Dakota State.  I will say that is the first time I have seen Mav basketball fans boo out the refs, so perhaps it was a bonding experience for Mav fans.  I almost feel like we need to avenge that Karhoff’s foul*.  #win4theHoff

*I still do not believe that was a foul.  John Karhoff could walk up to me and say that it was indeed a foul, and I would not believe him.  I would think IPFW employed The Madhatter to put a mind controlling device on John Karhoff to say what they wanted him to say.  That’s a Batman reference.

UNO and IPFW are actually pretty similar teams on paper.  They have both lost to IUPUI, South Dakota State by a bunch, Western Illinois, Oral Roberts, and beaten Oral Roberts and won at South Dakota.  Their back court is roughly the same size at UNOs with Isaiah McCray at 6’0″, 6’2″ Max Landis, and 6’0″ Mo Evans.  They have been playing a little bit of small ball with 6’5″ Joe Edwards at the “four”.  Really it seems the plan is to stretch the floor with their four guards and then swing the ball around so they can work to get the ball into Steve Forbes in the post.  I based this off of the little bit of what I watched from IPFW at South Dakota last night, and also a little bit of nothing.

Something I did notice is that when South Dakota would run the crap out of the ball, it was difficult for IPFW and mainly Steve Forbes to keep up.  Steve Forbes probably does not look forward to a team that plays the pace of the Mavs.  It would be like a English bulldog with a stupid look on his face trying to chase down a black lab.**  When South Dakota would have to get into a half court offense, they were more successful when they got the ball inside to a post player who could put the ball to the floor and basically run around Forbes.  So what sounds good against something like that?  Tre’Shawn Thurman and/or Jake White?  This looks like it could be another close game between the Dons and Mavs.

**This may be kind of a fat joke, but I do not like making fat jokes.  I find them to be uncreative, and someone can always lose weight and you will just look like an asshole for making fun of them a while ago.  And Steve Forbes could beat me up at recess if he wanted.

This is a match up of two teams that have been underachieving in what has been an awkward year for the Summit League.  Something that was brought to my attention when I was listening to UNO-South Dakota State on the radio on Wednesday night is that most teams in this conference are not losing much to graduation. South Dakota State is graduating two players, North Dakota State is only graduating one player, Denver is graduating two.  IPFW and South Dakota each have three seniors in their rotations.  This season should mean more to them, they have the most to lose.  Most other teams are trying to build onto something for the next year or two.  It will probably be more tough to pick up conference wins next season with most teams seeming to be loaded with juniors.  IPFW does have four juniors in their rotation, but no other team has as many minutes from seniors as the Mastadons, they need this more.  The time is definitely now for them, but would that mean that there is more pressure on them to win this game?


Some thoughts:

UNO and Creighton play at the same time on Saturday, what a bum deal.  The CenturyLink gets a Jays Basketball-UNO Hockey double header.  I really cannot wait until next year when we can host UNO Basketball-Hockey double headers in Aksarben.

If neither UNO and Creighton make the post season, is it against the rules to schedule them to play?  Like an Omaha Mega Bowl?


Some milestone notes:

  • Mike Rostampour is 10 rebounds away from tying Matt Hagerbaumer for most rebounds by a Mav since transition.
  • Devin Patterson is 1 assist away from his 100th career steal as a Maverick.
  • Marcus Tyus is 1 steal away from tying Caleb Steffensmeier for 3rd most steals by a Mav since transition.
  • In his last game, Tre’Shawn Thurman passed Marcus Tyus for 2nd most points by a freshman since transition.