Impressive 67-48 win for the Huskers over Charlotte tonight in the first round of the NIT. The game looked a little sloppy the first five minutes, but really was only competitive for the next twelve minutes or so. Late in the first half, Nebraska took command of the game, going up 12 at halftime and burying Charlotte in the second half. Even more impressive was the size of the crowd in Lincoln...drawing nearly 10,000 to the Devaney.
The crowd comparisons between the two NIT games in this state raises some eyebrows... and validates some of the statements about the BratJay fan. The fact is that this week, the BrieJay and BratJay fan are focused more on tomorrow's NCAA tournament games than the program they purport to support. Not that there aren't good reasons to be excited about tomorrow's matchups: Kent State vs. UNLV (featuring former Dana Altman mentor Lon Kruger), Wisconsin vs. local CWS favorite Cal State Fullerton, and of course, the O.J. Mayor/Michael Beasley show when USC takes on Kansas State. But when half their fan base stays home, it simply validates Doc Sadler's statement that much of the crowd at Creighton games are more interested in the event than the BlueJays.
Speaking of tomorrow's Creighton NCAA regional, paid for by the taxpayers of Omaha, I'll also be focusing on the action outside the Qwest Center. With all of the concerns over parking and traffic if a new baseball stadium is built downtown, I'm curious to see what impact a basketball tournament game during the workday will have on downtown traffic. A couple of years ago, downtown traffic was snafued when Zig Ziglar sold over 20,000 tickets to a weekday morning event, though that was different because many of the attendees drove individually, resulting in the clusterf* that Rosenblatt advocates claim will happen with a downtown CWS game. Tomorrow's basketball tournament should better approximate the traffic patterns the CWS will, as the afternoon session will end (around 4 pm) and the evening session will begin (just after 6 pm) at times comparable to the CWS. And I'll be right in the middle of the between game traffic as I get off work. The numbers will be slightly smaller than they would be for a CWS game (17K vs. 24K), but I expect more turnover between games, what with demand so high for the USC/KSU game in the nightcap.
Will it take me 15-20 minutes to maneuver through the NoDo area and head out? Or will it take me an hour and a half. I'm expecting something much closer to the 15-20 minute number. But even if the number is closer to the hour, I doubt it will change my opinion of the downtown stadium. The benefits to Omaha are far more important than a few days of traffic congestion.