Imagining what would have happened had the Huskers played the Mavericks

Nebraska lost to Gardner-Webb yesterday.  Omaha beat Cal State Fullerton for the second time of the season.  Why couldn’t the Mavericks and Huskers have played yesterday instead of those two games?

I get that Nebraska fans feel Omaha should stop complaining about the two schools not playing each other in the last few years.  I also understand that both programs wanting their home games and schedules to align might be difficult some years.  But it sounds like Omaha’s offer to play is always on the table for Nebraska.

You know what may have been a good day that would have made sense to play each other?  The Sunday after finals week.  Just a thought.

The perception by Omaha fans is that Nebraska currently doesn’t want to play Omaha is because Omaha might be just a little bit better than the Huskers right now, and Nebraska wouldn’t want to risk the loss to their little brother.  Omaha may not have the athleticism and quantity of talent that Nebraska has, but they have some match up problems for Nebraska and enough bitter tenacity to give the Huskers everything they’ve got.

Not saying this is actually what’s happening with the Nebraska staff, just saying what fans put into their minds.

Now that Nebraska has lost to a Big South team, maybe facing Omaha might not be all that bad.  But the Husker-Mavericks match up wasn’t scheduled this year…so we’ll just have to imagine what this world would be like if they would have agreed to play yesterday…


Derrin Hansen does his hands in his pockets slow walk into the arena and glares out into the crowd.  Still not sure at what goes through Hansen’s mind when he does this, but in this case I am assuming he is doing whatever he can to raise his maturity level to not punch Herbie Husker in the face.

What is this?  When Hansen reaches the scorers’ table and a student manager provides him with a Diavolo Pizza from Dante Ristorante Pizzeria out of Omaha and two pitchers of beer.  Hansen sets the pizza and beer on the table next to his seat and glares down at Tim Miles.

“I am going to beat you while I am loaded,” Hansen screams across the court to Tim Miles.

Tim Miles’ response is to flash the cross bones in Hansen’s direction.

The crowd goes insanely wild, but collectively as a basketball miracle the fans just start chanting “SCREW THE JAYS.  SCREW THE JAYS.  SCREW THE JAYS.”  It doesn’t make a ton of sense given the situation, but it also makes perfect sense at the same time.

The analysts ask the question: What do the Cornhuskers have to do win this game?  The question alone should be a punch in the gut to a Big 10 team, but it’s actually a serious question in this case.  They need to penetrate and knock down open threes, so all of the Mav fans have a good laugh.

What do the Mavericks have to do to win this game?  Control the pace and get out into transition.  The Mav fans just continue laughing.

Tre’Shawn Thurman takes off his warm ups and walks to center circle to ready himself for the opening tip.  By getting ready, he just flexes the entire time as he walks up to face Ed Morrow.  Nebraska wins the tip.

Nebraska’s first offensive possession is spent with confusion among the players as teammates are asking each other if they are sure they were supposed to be starting tonight.  Some guard for Nebraska, I don’t know, it’s hard to keep track of them at times, tries a pass to Jack McVeigh and Tra-Deon Hollins gets in the middle of the passing lane and rushes down the court in transition.  He tries a fancy pants pass to Marcus Tyus, who wasn’t expecting the pass, so the ball goes out of bounds.

Oh, it’s going to be a sloppy game.  Who would have guessed?

Nebraska’s second offensive possession, the team works the ball into Michael Jacobson.  Jacobson is backing Zach Pirog into the lane.  Jacobson works a series of moves to confuse his defender, and works into in up and under move under for an easy basket.  Oh man, this Jacobson guy is going to kill us down low all night!

Omaha’s second offensive possession, Thurman gets the ball at the top of the lane and is defended by Nebraska’s Ed Morrow.  Thurman makes a jab step to the right, Morrow bites, Thurman moves into a fade away jump shot, and the basket is good.

Next, a pissed off Morrow aggressively attacks Thurman at the basket for a lay up.  Morrow and Thurman could provide to be a very fun match up throughout the game, but one of them is likely to get into foul trouble.  So that’s sad we have to imagine it.

Eventually Nebraska subs in Jordy Tshimanga for Morrow, and all of the Omaha fans cheer in excitement.

Mitch Hahn and Pirog outrun Tshimanga for easy baskets for a few minutes and Omaha goes on a 8-0 run.  Miles calls a time out and an assistant coach tells Tshimanga to fake an injury and head to the locker room for the duration of the game.

Jacobson gets Thurman down on the block and works a few post moves on him and gets another easy basket.  Seriously, how does this Jacobson only have two baskets?  Why don’t the Huskers go into him more frequently?

On the next possession, Thurman tries to get some revenge on Jacobson and moves at him out of control and picks up an offensive foul.

Hansen goes absolutely ballistic at the referee, even though it was a good call.  You have to remember that Hansen has at least one pitcher of beer and half of a pizza down at this point.

Omaha has a 5 point lead at half time.  Nebraska fans are really unsure what to do here.  They end up just bitterly accusing every Omaha fan of being MavSkers, and not being a true fan to anything.  You know, because you cannot just like things in this state without these people accusing you of being a home wrecker.

The Husker fans take a few moments wondering how they missed out on recruiting Tre’Shawn Thurman.  Sure, statistically, he would not of had the same career at Nebraska as he did at UNO, but he would have proven to be a quality Husker.  Omaha fans are wondering how UNO missed out on Michael Jacobson.

There is also some argument and debate trying to figure out which basketball program is doing the other basketball program a favor by playing this game.


Some half time stats:

Nebraska – 

Michael Jacobson – 4 points, 5 rebounds

Ed Morrow – 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 fouls

Jordy Tshimanga – 1 minute

Tai Webster – 8 points, 3 rebounds

And the guy who keeps track of how many times Jack McVeigh is not found wide open by Glynn Watson has broken his clip board and is being seen by a medical professional.

Omaha

Tra-Deon Hollins – 2 points, 3 assists, 2 steals, 4 turnovers?

Zach Jackson – 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 10,000 people asking: who is this guy?

Tre’Shawn Thurman – 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 fouls


The teams come out of for shoot around at half time.  Tai Webster is just pissed.  Pissed!

Derrin Hansen stumbles out of the locker room a little surly.

Trev Alberts is seen on the big screen, and he is met with a mix of boos and cheers.  Shawn Eichorst is seen on the phone attempting to fire whoever is in charge of putting people up on the big screen.  He’s also trying to figure out who is in charge of keeping outside food and drinks from entering the building.  There is a man on the sideline with two pitchers of beer and a pizza!

The first four minutes of the second half are not basketball.  Both teams enter those minutes where they have complete offensive droughts.  Just turnovers and bricked jump shots for four plus minutes.

Miles is standing on the sideline with his arms crossed and a pissed off look on his face.  Hansen is just standing there with his hands in his pockets staring into the abyss.  That’s actually 100% accurate of their body language when their teams go on these offensive droughts.

Nebraska comes out of the media time out by having Tai Webster attack the rim.

Omaha has moved to their three point shooting line up with Thurman-Hahn-JT Gibson-Tyus-Hollins.  So naturally, they come out of the first media time out ready for Thurman to set some screens and Hollins to find open three point shooters.  This is not Omaha’s best defensive line up, so it’s enough to just keep the game close at this point.

We’re going to break into a basketball sports movie montage here –


Nebraska frees up the lane by confusing Omaha’s defense in the post, and Morrow gets a huge dunk.

Hahn makes a corner three after his defender thinks he has to help Jacobson defend an Omaha post player.

Webster breaks past Tyus through an open baseline for an easy lay up.

Hollins steals the ball from Watson and sprints across the court for an easy transition bucket.

Morrow gets an and-one opportunity.  Thurman gets an and-one opportunity.

Miles cracks a joke at a ref and the ref tries to hide his laughter.  This happens at least twice a game.

Hansen screams at an official for a blown call, and he earns a warning.  This happens at least once a game.

Zach Jackson gets McVeigh to jump on a pump fake, and Jackson drives baseline and Isaiah Roby fouls him.  Nebraska fans are still trying to figure out who this Jackson kid is.  He averaged 3.5 points a game last year, how is this possible!?  If this was the Doc Sadler era, it is entirely possible that Jackson would be a Husker.

Anton Gill gets into the lane and…well he does something basketball related, I guess.

A Nebraska fan talks about how at least Nebraska is only losing Tai Webster after this season.  Next year could be the Huskers’ year.  Right?

An Omaha fan complains about how Pinnacle Bank Arena doesn’t sell alcohol at Husker events.  That’s just an Omaha thing.

McVeigh finally hits a three.

Tyus comes off a screen and catches a pass from Hollins and knocks down a three.

Roby drives into the lane, gets the ball knocked out of his hands by Hollins, but the ball still some how ends up in Roby’s hands again and he puts up a shot with the shot clock expiring, and it goes in.

Tyus drives into the lane, misses a lay up.  Thurman gets the offensive rebounds, puts it up and misses, does that a few more times, and then gets an and-one.  Seriously, 4 misses and 5 rebounds in 10 seconds.  Thurman now has a double-double.

We’re looking at a 74-74 game right now, and Omaha calls a time out with 40 seconds left on the shot clock.  Derrin Hansen calls a time out.

Hollins stands at the top of the key dribbling and watching the shot clock dwindle down.  Pirog comes up and sets a screen.  Hollins drives to the basket, and with the attention focused on him and Thurman, Hollins passes the ball to a rolling Pirog who dunks the ball in.

Nebraska calls a timeout with 4 seconds remaining.

Omaha comes out showing a full court press.  Nebraska calls another time out.  Isn’t basketball fun?

Watson inbounds the ball to McVeigh near half court.  He drives enough to get the ball near the three point line, and throws up a three with Jackson right in his face.

And…

 

 

 

 

 

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The Coyotes are going to have a new pack in 2017

So the Coyotes finished 2016 as the 8 seed in the Summit League tournament after being preseason picked as the 5th team in the Summit.

At the beginning of the year, I said, no, this team is not in the top half of the conference.  They lost 54% of their scoring going into the 2016 season, which was the most in the conference.  Now, actually heading into the 2017 season, the Coyotes will lose almost 70% of their scoring…but they cannot get worse than 8th, right?  I mean, right?  Similar to Tim Miles at Nebraska, Craig Smith was supposed to improve this team year after year.

The Coyotes had three transfers sitting out this season who could immediately help the Coyotes try and improve next season and stay away from the 9th spot in 2017.  6’3″ Junior guard Carlton Hurst will join the Coyotes from Colorado State.  Hurst averaged 4.2 points per game and shot 44% from the field in his freshman season, but his production dropped his sophomore year to 1.8 points per game.  That CSU team his sophomore season won a program record 27 games and made the NIT.

Trey Dickerson is a 6’0″ point guard who transferred from Iowa after being upset that he was the 3rd string point guard for the Hawkeyes…and also probably because Fran McCaffrey messed up Dickerson’s income taxes.  Seriously, McCaffrey looks more like the team accountant than the head coach.  Apparently, Dickerson has the potential to be the fastest guard in the Summit League next season… He only played in 15 games for the Hawkeyes and averaged 2.7 points and 1.2 assists over those 15 appearances.  Not super impressive numbers, but yeah, I would be throwing a parade if the Mavericks had a transfer from Iowa being thrown into their lineup.  It would be the world’s worst parade.  It would be more like a random guy walking down Center Street screaming incoherent babblings.

Lastly, the Coyotes will be adding Air Force transfer, Matt Mooney, who will be a 6’3″ sophomore.  Mooney averaged 7 points in a Princeton offense his freshman season at Air Force; he shot 45% from the floor and 39% on threes.  He had 8 games of scoring in double figures for Air Force.  Mooney cited that bullying was one of the reasons for wanting to transfer away from Air Force.

Each player has potential to be at least Honorable Mention in the Summit League in 2017 and/or 2018 and help the Coyotes reload their roster quickly.  Granted, they finished 8th in 2016, so maybe rebuild is a better word here than reload.

Aside from just bringing in transfer players, the Coyotes will also be adding Lincoln native, Triston Simpson – who held offers from South Dakota State, North Dakota State, and also the Mavericks.  Simpson averaged 16.2 points and 6.2 assists per game in his senior year for Lincoln North Star.  I feel like I hardly heard Simpson’s name throughout the high school basketball season, but maybe that is just because he is from Lincoln?  The Lincoln Journal Star named him to the 1st Team Super State team.  South Dakota also signed two wing players: 6’4″ guard Tyler Peterson from the state of Minnesota who also had an offer from North Dakota; and 6’5″ Brandon Armstrong, from the state of Texas, who also held offers from New Hampshire and Texas-Arlington.

South Dakota may be losing 70% of their scoring, but they still have some interesting pieces coming back.  Forward Tyler Flack finally came back after sitting out for nearly a year and a half with a back injury.  Flack ended up averaging 9.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17 games this season.  He had a bit of a coming back party in Omaha when he had 14 points and 6 rebounds against the Mavericks at the end of January.  After that game Flack looked like an All Conference player averaging 12.9 points and 6.4 points per game.  If Flack can come back and be healthy all season, the Coyotes can actually make a pretty big jump from 8th place next season.  The Yotes also have their two big freshmen Dan Jech and Tyler Hagedorn coming back for next season, who both had flashes of potential in 2016, but they both kind of fell out of the lineup when conference play started and Flack was back in the lineup as a key player to the team.  A player that probably surprised us all was sophomore Dejon Davis.  His freshman season he averaged 2 points a game, but jumped to 9.2 points per game in his sophomore season…his minutes did increase by almost 20 minutes per game as the Coyotes did not have much depth at the wing…so it wouldn’t be shocking to see his production drop off in 2017 after adding the transfers and incoming freshmen.

Craig Smith and his staff still have 2 scholarship spots to fill, and Smith is likely to still go after some transfers from bigger schools as that is how he has tried to jump start a heartbeat into his program so far.  It would seem pretty typical of Smith to go after Nebraska transfer Johnny Trueblood, as Smith used be an assistant for the Huskers and he clearly likes to recruit out of the state of Nebraska.  Jerk.

I’m going to throw out another potential name that makes me want to punch a stack of bricks.  Marvin Clark, Jr… Smith has also made attempts at going after players from the Kansas City metro area, and Clark is originally from Kansas City.  Clark played two seasons at Michigan State where he saw his minutes drop to 10 minutes per game in his sophomore season, but he was working himself back into the rotation near the end of the season due to some injuries on the team.  He would be a 6’7″ 225lb junior (and could add more weight sitting out for a year) in 2018 and could really make the Coyotes a favorite in the Summit League that season, and he would immediately replace Flack after he graduates.

They may not be from bigger schools, but Milwaukee had a few players leave their team this last month after the coach had been fired; and both Austin Arians and Cody Wichmann had offers from South Dakota out of high school.  Arians would be eligible to play immediately, and at 6’6″ he could really help improve the wing position of the Yotes; he averaged 11.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game as a junior…he also made 2.5 threes per game; but Arians visited Wake Forest last week so he may be a little too classy for South Dakota.  Wichmann will also graduate and be eligible immediately; he is a 6’5″ smaller power forward type similar to Casey Harriman (Creighton alum).  Wichmann averaged almost 5 points and 2 rebounds per game in 2016, he shot 47% from the field and 48% on threes in his junior season…He might not be the huge impact to the team that Clark or Arians would be, but he would still help the Coyotes look better than 8th in 2016.

So 2017 may depend on how quickly the Coyotes can get the new faces acclimated to their program, but they can quickly make a jump and hopefully not trend down.  They will be one of the youngest teams in the Summit, which is never great, but they will have players that have been around the block before.  This was also a team that had a decent amount of injuries in 2016, and even a couple of mid season departures, so who knows what can happen if they can actually be healthy in 2017.

 

Can the Mavericks improve on 5 Summit League wins?

Sometimes I find preseason predictions pointless, other than starting a conversation about the upcoming season or letting people know what could potentially be the biggest games of the year, there is not really much of a point to it.

I mainly find them useless because of the methodology in ranking teams.  Many seem to just copy and past the standings of last year, and then make a small edit if a team had a high amount of turnover from last season’s roster.  But I came up with a plan to do this for the Summit League.  I was reading some preseason predictions for the Big 10 football season which was done by a bunch of ESPN writers.  Some made good points but they all had to come up with a record for each team, and the math did not always make sense.  One clown had Ohio State going 12-0 with a 8-0 Big Ten record and Michigan State going 11-1, and also with a 8-0 Big Ten record.  Seriously, how drunk and lazy and/or bad at math was that guy?  Or some guys would have two teams going 8-0 in conference, a couple going 0-8, and everyone else going 5-3.  The math didn’t add up and they were telling you that these teams would win these amount of games because they are Skeletor and they said so.

So I came up with a plan.  I would go through the Summit League conference schedule and assign wins and losses over the course of a number of weeks.  At first it was just: South Dakota State is a better team than Denver, so win goes to the Jackrabbits.  Then later, I would look at the difficulty of each team’s conference schedule.  Obviously, everyone plays each other twice, but there are some things that stick out; like how Denver is the only team with the highway to the danger zone in playing at North Dakota State and South Dakota State in back to back games.  Or how South Dakota and Oral Roberts are the only two Summit League teams without three straight games on the road in conference play.  Then things like Omaha playing on the road against someone on a Thursday, as road games on Thursdays appear to be difficult for most teams.  Actually road games are pretty difficult for anyone.  Then I would go through the schedule again and consider some teams’ strengths versus their opponents weaknesses.  Like how teams better be good at three point shooting against South Dakota as they forced teams to take the most threes with their defense…and other things.

But I assigned wins and losses to each game, and did it several times considering different factors.  Then I plain and simple would add up each team’s wins and losses to see who had the most after going through it about 15 times.  Is it perfect?  No.  Is it better than just saying South Dakota State will go 15-1 in conference because of Jesus?  Probably.

Really, after going through all of this; I really do not see much separation between many of the teams.  South Dakota State seems like a clear cut favorite.  Then North Dakota State seems like they are 2nd best, but they really should not be as comfortable as one would think.  Then Oral Roberts-Omaha-IPFW-IUPUI-South Dakota appear to be in a fight for spots 3 to 7 with Denver and Western Illinois sitting at 8 and 9; but Denver is a difficult place to play; and Western Illinois, while not great last year, they do return basically everything.

So much of the 3 to 9 in the Summit League appears to come down to:

  • Who can stay healthy?
  • Who can win on the road?
  • Who can pick up a win against South Dakota State and North Dakota State?

But for the sake of length, I am going to just post about Omaha to get started and why they should win more games than their 5-11 record last season.  Then I will come out with the rest of the Summit League later.


Omaha

Range of wins:  7 to 11 wins

Boldest Predictions:  Will pick up win against North Dakota State at home, will sweep South Dakota

Clearly, I am biased in how well I think the Mavs could do this season.  The Mavericks finished 5-11, but they had 4 conference losses decided by one or two possessions.  I know it does not work this way, but the Mavericks could have finished 8-8 or 9-7 in the Summit League had just a couple more things gone their way.  There is also more to play for with the Mavericks this season, and they should have a slightly stronger home court advantage with their new arena being right on campus. The attendance for the Mavericks has risen each season since transition, and people in town are starting to take them more serious.  2012-2013 was probably the most fun season to watch, but Omahans did not seem to even notice.  UNO Men’s Basketball was that new television show that had some good looking commercials that got you interested; but it was pitted in the same time slot as Breaking Bad in it’s prime and Sunday Night Football.   Justin Simmons had some of the most exciting dunks you could possibly witness; but Doug McDermott was in the middle of one of the greatest careers in Creighton and NCAA history; and Tim Miles was bringing a personality to the Huskers.  Omahans were in the mode of thinking they’d like to go to a Mavs game, but never fully pulled the trigger.  A few years later:  Creighton is down and Nebraska is too young for locals to know what is happening.  UNO has a brand new arena, in a fun part of town, some local guys on the roster that can make some noise, and six seniors to help start the new era of the program.

The Mavericks also have a pretty good way to start conference play with Western Illinois and IUPUI at home.  2013-2014 started @ Western Illinois, @ North Dakota State, @ South Dakota State; and 2012-2013 was @ North Dakota State, @ South Dakota State, and then a month conference break before they had South Dakota and Kansas City at home before going back on the road against very good IPFW and Oakland teams.  Last year the Mavs started on the road @ South Dakota and Western Illinois, and then came back home for North Dakota State and South Dakota State, before going back on the road against Oral Roberts.  The Mavs are finally not being welcomed to the Summit League with the middle finger jammed in front of their face, so hopefully they can start league play with some momentum.  The most difficult part of the conference schedule is going to be three straight road games at Denver, and the Mavericks yet to have a good game in the state of Colorado; then at Oral Roberts which is one of the toughest places to play in the Summit League; and then at South Dakota State who is the preseason favorite in the league and swept the Mavs last season by margins of 19 and 22 points.

As far as what is returning to the Mavericks: they lost Mike Rostampour and CJ Carter, but they are returning 61% of their scoring; which is the 4th highest in the league.  Marcus Tyus and Devin Patterson as a returning back court is arguably one of the top 3 back courts in the league.  Jake White is hopefully healthy enough to give significant minutes when the conference season turns around, he is tied with his fellow teammate Tre’Shawn Thurman as the 2nd leading returning rebounder in the league.  Randy Reed and Tim Smallwood should hopefully finally have roles edged out to really help this team improve.  Lack of depth was an issue for this team last season, but newcomers Zach Pirog, JT Gibson, and Tra-Deon Hollins sound as if they can really help the Mavericks improve on some of the weaknesses the Mavs had in 2014-2015, and add some needed depth to this team.  This team can go big, it can go small, it has adaptable lineups that can go up against anyone in the Summit.

From what I could tell, the preseason predictions biggest concerns with the Mavericks are that they cannot make up for the loss of Mike Rostampour and CJ Carter.  Okay, everyone loses someone in college athletics, but should we really be concerned about losing two guys that were not recruited to ever play in a Summit League conference tournament?  So really, why are people so hard on them for losing Rostampour and Carter, but no one is hard on IPFW for losing Steve Forbes and Joe Edwards; or South Dakota for losing Tyler Larson and Brandon Bos; or Oral Roberts for losing half of their team?  Please don’t take this as a Rostampour and Carter Were Not Unimportant thought… The Mavs would not be the same without them.  The point is, it does not seem like the Mavericks are asking as much out of their newcomers and returning players as much as other teams.  They are asking Jake White to be healthy enough to score 2-4 more points and grab a couple more rebounds, which I realize is easier said than done; Tre’Shawn Thurman to continue to improve; Tyus and Patterson to be more consistent; and Reed and Smallwood work more on their roles that they established toward the end of last season.  Other than North Dakota State and South Dakota State, everyone else appears to be asking guys to come in and be stars or huge impacts right away.  One thing that does scare me about Omaha finishing in the top half of the conference is the injury to Marcus Tyus.  He’s coming off ACL surgery that he injured in February.  Being ready in full form throughout November, December, and January just seems like a lot to look for at this point.

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

 

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.

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?

 

 

References from Space Jam to Bill Brasky can only mean one thing, South Dakota is coming to town

Okay, you’re Lebowski, I’m a Lebowski, you’re along I-29, I’m along I-29, you used to be D-2, I used to be D-2, you’ve lost four of your last five, I’ve lost four of my last five, now get on with it.

Ever since joining the Summit League, I have always thought that the UNO Mavericks were on an even plain as the South Dakota Coyotes.  They are both former NCC members, both schools seem to be going after some of the same recruits, they are in the shadow of South Dakota State, and the Mavs kind of are too.  Since joining division one, UNO has gone 3-3 against the Coyotes, they split games in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, and UNO was able to pick up a come from behind win in Vermillion earlier this season.

Fact, Vermillion is a dumb name for a town.

The Coyotes field a squad that is mostly juniors and seniors on their roster, they have 9 freaking juniors on the roster.  There is not much height to the team, but they do have 6’10” James Hunter who transferred from Pac-12 powerhouse Washington State.  If you have an allegiance to the pacific northwest, you would know that was sarcasm.  With little height on the team, there is not much of a post game for the Coyotes.  UNO posts Mike Rostampour, Tre’Shawn Thurman, and Jake White were able to combine for 29 points, 26 rebounds, and shoot a combined 9-18 from the field in the first meeting between the two teams.  That is not to say that the Coyotes are a terrible rebounding team.  They matched UNO’s 38 rebounds in their game earlier this season, and 6’3″ Tyler Larson averages just under 8 rebounds a game.

Fact, South Dakota fans are weird.

I say these programs have similarities, but their fans confuse me.  I attended last year’s game in Omaha between the two teams.  A decent number of South Dakota fans showed up, which makes sense as they are the closest Summit League school to Omaha, and every fan was the same.  They looked as if they took a break from fixing their tractors, like they came down to Omaha and hit up an Applebee’s before the game, drank too much beer in Ralston Arena, and acted as if the Coyotes were the representing the Tune Land Tune Squad.  Have you ever seen those sketches from Saturday Night Live with Alec Baldwin and John Goodman drinking too much and shouting ridiculous stuff about a magical man named Bill Brasky?  Put South Dakota Coyote shirts on those two characters, and that’s what I saw in these people.  Always talking as if the Caps Lock button is stuck, or like they cannot take the Caps Lock off because there is a drink in that hand.

BRANDON BOS ONCE HIT A THREE POINTER WITH HIS HANDS TIED BEHIND HIS BACK AND HAD TO SHOOT THE BALL WITH HIS NOSE LIKE HE WAS AIR BUD.  TO BRANDON BOS!!!

TYLER LARSON ONCE DUNKED THE BALL SO HARD THAT HE PULLED OFF THE RIM AND HE FLEW OFF THE RIM INTO SUPER MARIO WORLD.  TO TYLER LARSON!!!

CASEY KASPERBAUER CAN HIT A THREE POINTER FROM SO FAR AWAY HE FLEW TO SUPER MARIO WORLD TO SAVE TYLER LARSON AND THEN SHOT A THREE FROM BOWSER’S CASTLE TO VERMILLION TO WIN A GAME OVER SOUTH DAKOTA STATE.  TO CASEY KASPERBAUER!!!

Watch out for characters like this when South Dakota comes to Omaha.
Watch out for characters like this when South Dakota comes to Omaha.

South Dakota takes a lot of threes, and they hit a lot of threes.  Overall they are 4th in the Summit in 3 point field goal percentage, but the numbers have dipped a bit recently and overall they have the 2nd worst field goal percentage in the league.  The game in Vermillion was the first game of the year in which UNO’s opponent hit more 3s than Omaha and Omaha still won the game.  So the post play for UNO is important here, as South Dakota has very little of it.

Much about the threes is the same for Omaha.  The Mavs have shooters, but they have not really put up a lot in a game in the last 5 games.  What do you define as “a lot of threes”?  I would probably say seven.  Seven sounds good.  Seven minute abs.  Seven little dwarfs.  Seven miles an hour.  Seven Costanza.  The Mavs have not hit more than 6 threes since January 14th and 18th.  They also have given up a lot of threes recently, as the perimeter defense seems to be facing a new challenge game after game.  The Mavs have given up 6 or more threes in each of the last 5 games, in fact there has only been one game this season in which the Mavs have given up less than 5 threes.  Yeah, take that Nevada.

These last 6 games for UNO are important.  You do not want to see the Mavs get any worse as they are trying to grow as a program, but with their current record they cannot finish above .500.  If they go 3-3 in their last 6 games they will match their 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 win totals of 11, which 2011-2012 is kind of skewed because the schedule was a mix of D-1, D-2, NAIA, and whatever else is out there.  They only had one win that year against a D-1 opponent, take that Northern Illinois.  Three wins is doable against South Dakota, Oral Roberts, Western Illinois, North Dakota, IUPUI, and IPFW.

These last three home games are the last home games we will see of seniors CJ Carter and Mike Rostampour.  Would you expect them to not go out with a bang?  They both bring it every single game, with the last three home games on the horizon, I cannot imagine them just taking a backseat, like, hey, let the guys that are going to be here next year get some time.  No, no, no, no.

In six career games against South Dakota, CJ Carter has only not made double figures once.  His sophomore season, the Mavs lost 95-72, and Carter only had 4 points.  Overall, in the 6 career games he has averaged 16 points per game and shot 43% from the field.

In three career games against South Dakota, Mike Rostampour has not scored less than 10.  He has averaged 12.6 points per game, 8.7 rebounds, shot 48% from the field, and shot 83% from the line.  Safe to say South Dakota’s front line is no match for Mike Rostampour?

How about Marcus Tyus?  In 5 career games he has shot 55% from the field and scored 11.2 points per game against South Dakota.  Tyus has turned into the most consistent scorer for the Mavs this season.

But does anyone else feel like we are due for a big time performance from Devin Patterson?  I would place a bet on that, but not like Krusty the Klown betting against the Harlem Globetrotters because he thought the Generals were due.

At one time, I thought that Patterson was the best pure point guard in the Summit League.  I still think that, but ever since his ankle injury he has not been the same.  The quickness is not there like it was earlier in the season.  I was told prior to the beginning of the year that he broke his toe and is letting it heal on its own, which may or may not be the best course of action.  Patterson’s game against Marquette of 26 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, and 11-12 free throws may be the best performance by a Mav ever considering the stage.  Patterson really is the biggest x-factor for this team.  He and Rostampour added toughness to this squad when they entered the starting lineup in 2013-2014, he may not be the scorer that Carter or Tyus are, but when Patterson runs the offense, and when he does well, the team does well.  I want my Patterson back.  It is just a lot of ground to make up when you take the best point guard in the league, give him an ankle injury, and slow him down given how important he is to the Mavericks.

There are some Omaha ties to this South Dakota team.  I do not have this 100% verified but I am pretty sure Casey Kasperbauer’s brother played at Nebraska and currently lives and works in Omaha, even went to graduate school at UNO.  Kasperbauer is from Carroll, Iowa, which has produced some decent basketball talent in past.  Junior Duol Mayot is a Omaha south grad, he was a great rebounder at the JuCo level, but he really has not gotten a bunch of playing time at South Dakota yet.  There was apparently some interest in Mayot to come to UNO, but I do not think that a scholarship was ever offered.  Freshman Dejon Davis is from Minnesota, an area that UNO likes to recruit out of, and he also had some interest from UNO, but I am also not sure if a scholarship was ever offered by the UNO staff.

Head coach Craig Smith is a former assistant of Nebraska’s Tim Miles, like Tim Miles he is known for improving teams.  He did it at the NAIA level, he was the national NAIA Coach of the Year in 2007, and he also helped Tim Miles improve North Dakota State, Colorado State, and Nebraska.  He gets to Nebraska and recruits, I am not sure how much of an influence he had on it, but at Colorado State they had 4 native Nebraskans on the team when they reached the NCAA tournament.  Along with Mayot, he has Logan Power from Lincoln as a walk on, and he also picked up a commitment from Norfolk’s Tyler Hagedorn, who also held an offer from UNO.  Smith has already led his squad into Omaha once already and almost came up with a win at Creighton, which makes Mav fans happy and mad at the same time.

Given the circumstances this kind of seems like a must win game for the Mavs.

By the way, am I the only one that wants South Dakota-UNO to be a big time rivalry?