Monday, December 09, 2013

Creighton Admits Doc Sadler Was Right

When he was still Nebraska's basketball coach, Doc Sadler always found one way to get under the skin of a Creighton basketball fan...and that's by pointing out that, historically, the Creighton/Nebraska basketball game wasn't worth that much to Nebraska.
"A loss to Creighton hurts us. A win over Creighton, the only thing it does is make our fans happy. It doesn't help you come Selection Sunday. That's just the way it is."
Of course, there is a bit of "that was then, this is now" to consider about that statement. Back then, Creighton was playing in the Missouri Valley Conference, and frequently needing to win out in St. Louis to assure themselves of an NCAA tournament berth. Creighton needed that game against Nebraska to boost their RPI to improve their chances of an at-large berth. And when Sadler (or Barry Collier prior to that) talked about not wanting to play the game in Omaha, that riled up Bluejay fans to no end.

And that was then.  Creighton now finds themselves in a major conference with their own national television network. They'll have all of the RPI-enhancing games they need on their conference schedule. But now there's a new twist on the debate over whether Nebraska's division 1 basketball teams should play.

It's UNO.  UNO has quietly put together an impressive start this season, beating opponents in common with both Nebraska and Creighton by comparable margins in the early part of this season.  The Mavericks' basketball team isn't eligible to play in the NCAA tournament yet, and won't for a couple more seasons.  But the RPI is there, and it's a more-than-respectable 157.  Not bad for a Summit League team playing their third season out of of division 2.

Nebraska played UNO last year in Lincoln.  Creighton hasn't scheduled UNO ever since the Mavs left division 2.  Why not?  It's a question Tom Shatel asked Creighton head coach Greg McDermott.  McDermott's answer essentially backed up what Doc Sadler said years before:
“We evaluate our schedule every year and we're going to schedule what fits Creighton best. If UNO fits that, it's something we would consider.”
In other words... don't look for it, especially on a UNO home court. Nevermind that it would be good for the local sports scene.  UNO's RPI will never be good enough (as a Summit League team) to help the RPI of a team like Nebraska or Creighton with a victory. And the risk of losing to the "little brother" is far too great to take that chance. That's why Creighton hasn't played UNO since 2009...and probably won't again.  Creighton is "going to schedule what fits Creighton best."

Five years ago, Creighton fans were miffed when Doc Sadler talked about scheduling what would fit Nebraska the best. Turns out Doc was right after all...otherwise, Creighton would gladly be looking to schedule UNO in basketball.

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