Thursday, March 08, 2012

Huskers and Jays Headed for One-n-Dones.

Tonight in all likelihood will be the final game in the Doc Sadler era at Nebraska.  Tom Shatel pretty much summed it up in today's Omaha World-Herald:
If Doc could ever get the players, Nebraska might have something here. Good coach, good guy, winner.
The thing is, I wasn't alone. It's not going to work out for Doc. And there are Husker fans who are sad about it. Mostly because they like Doc. When Tom Osborne speaks of Doc, the first thing he says is, "Doc is a really good guy."
But the other thing is, good guys don't last long in major college hoops. Not unless they can recruit good players.
And that's what will get Doc in the end. He never had a plan to get players. If he did, it was flawed. 
Aleks Maric was a nice player for Doc...but he was a Barry Collier (or more accurately, Scott Spinelli) guy. And really, guys like Maric as well as assistants like Spinelli were what Doc needed to have in Lincoln. You can forgive a few bumps early on due to the timing of his arrival.  But we're past that point now.  Doc owns the problem now. I've had the argument with others as to whether the players have given up on Doc. I don't think so...but he doesn't have the players to compete at this level.  Three years ago, you could blame others.  Not anymore.

So in all likelihood, tonight is Doc's last game at Nebraska barring another "what the hell was that" Illinois type of game.  They just don't have the players and play too inconsistently to expect a victory tonight in Indianapolis.  One and done.

That'll draw a guffaw from the folks on the Hilltop, but the ugly truth is staring them in the face:  Creighton is also looking at a one-and-done as well.  Oh, sure, some people (Dirk Chatelain, bwahahahaha) talk Sweet 16.  It's possible.  After all, we don't have any idea how the brackets will set up at this point.

But let's recognize that Creighton hasn't exactly been playing their best basketball the last month of the season.  They followed a three game losing streak with victories against a woeful Southern Illinois team then three nailbiters that went to the final seconds of the game.  Could have easily been losses; some might argue, should have been losses. And only one of those games was against a tournament caliber team. Oh, they got their mojo back against Evansville in St. Louis with a blowout...but that's a team they needed overtime to beat at home by a point one week earlier.  Then had to pull one out in overtime against Illinois State.

The Jays RPI and Sagarin ratings don't match their performance as of late.  Teams that do well in the tournament usually are playing well down the stretch, and the Jays aren't doing that.  A two week break might do them a world of good...but Creighton is staring a "one and done" in the face.  Again, that's a statement made in the absence of seedings and an opponent.  They could be a 7 seed and have to play a motivated #10 seed who will have seen the tape and know that the Jays can be beaten. Or the committee could pull a 4 seed out and set up a mismatch with a #13 seed.  You never know what they'll be matched up against.  It just smells like a one-and-done as well.

But right now, Creighton fans probably will be back in town in plenty of time to watch Kansas and Missouri in the third round of the NCAA tournament in Omaha.  That is, if they haven't already scalped their tickets.

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