There’s an ice hockey rink in the middle of our College World Series stadium. Which begs one question.
Has anyone ever brought an umbrella to a hockey game?
You might need it Saturday afternoon, for the Omaha Sports Commission’s “Battle On Ice,” featuring Lancers-Lincoln Stars and UNO-North Dakota at TD Ameritrade Park. Two quality games for the price of one. But will they need to hand out rain checks?
Depending on your source, the weather for Saturday afternoon’s doubleheader is 42 degrees and cloudy, with a chance for rain. Harold Cliff, president of the sports commission, quotes his weather source at 40 percent, with much of that rain coming at night, after the second game.
But if it comes earlier?
“Shouldn’t be a problem,” Cliff said. “I’ve talked to the people who are handling the ice and they say it can handle the rain. Now, if it’s a downpour, that could be another story. But it shouldn’t bother the (skating). The ice can handle up to 60 degrees. I don’t think we’ll have to worry about that.”
Up to 24,000 seats will be available for the games and, as of Monday, more than 11,000 tickets had been sold. Cliff said a “strong” walk-up crowd is expected, including many who will be looking outside before they get in their cars.
>> Doug McDermott told me Monday that he has not made a decision about what he’ll be doing next year. That has yet to be confirmed by the dozens of Creighton fans who tell me every day that they know what Doug is going to do, that he’s going pro because he’s done all he can and the money will be too good, or he’s staying because he loves being a college basketball player.
“I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it,” McDermott said. “But right now I’m trying to put it aside and enjoy what I’m doing now, playing for my dad and with my best friends.
“I don’t want to think about it because it would affect the way I play the game, and I don’t want that and I know Creighton fans don’t want that.”
Again, this is coming from Doug. I’ll continue to effort confirmation from other sources at the CenturyLink Center.
>> I’m showing my demographic, but the Paul Harvey “Farmer” commercial on Sunday was No. 1 in my ratings book. Straightforward. Powerful. Succinct. And I didn’t have to watch a super model kiss a geek. I’d rank the Leon Sandcastle bit No. 2, followed by the “Joe Montana Stain” bit and the whispering Oreo commercial. Leon Sandcastle is definitely somebody the Chiefs would take.
>> If the running quarterback and the zone read are the next big things in the NFL, where were they with the game on the line in the red zone? Jim Harbaugh called three straight pass patterns, ill-advised ones at that, with a hard-running Frank Gore and a hard-to-tackle quarterback at his disposal. Yes, there was holding on the final play, but it shouldn’t have come to that. Time for the fade route in the red zone to fade away. I know, I know. Bill Callahan sabotaged another Super Bowl. Maybe he was working the lights.
>> Nebraska released its 2013 sand volleyball schedule. The Huskers will play in San Diego (Chula Vista), Long Beach, Santa Monica and Los Angeles. I’m sorry that Boondockers didn’t make the cut.
>> I suppose it says something when series splits are disappointing weekends for UNO hockey. The second-place Mavs have never been in better position to grab a league title. But the outdoor game Saturday almost looks like bad timing. It should be a great atmosphere, and maybe a crowd over 15,000. But the crowd won’t be near the ice. You wonder if it will take off some of the home-ice edge. Oh, well. Drop the puck. Somebody bring the fish.
>> Bovada has released early odds for next season’s Heisman Trophy. The Huskers have a pair of candidates on the board, Taylor Martinez (15-1) and Ameer Abdullah (18-1), behind favorite Johnny Manziel (4-1), Braxton Miller (7-1), Marqise Lee (9-1), Aaron Murray (10-1), A.J. McCarron (12-1), Jadeveon Clowney (12-1) and Tajh Boyd (15-1). Michigan’s Devin Gardner is listed at 24-1.
>> You knew there would be growing pains in Iowa City this winter. But nobody knew it would be this painful: Iowa has lost four Big Ten games when it had the lead or was tied or down one possession in the final minute, including Sunday at Minnesota. Is that a winnable game for Nebraska when the Hawks come to Lincoln later this month? Maybe, if the Huskers can get the game into the last minute.
>> Good for UNO that it got invited to the final BracketBusters weekend, to play North Dakota. But the idea that UNO is in this event speaks to there being too many teams in it. Creighton-St. Mary’s is a good game for the Jays, not much different than the résumé juice Belmont would have provided. And, it’s an ESPN exposure.
>> The Pinnacle Bank Arena isn’t open yet, but it’s already drawing attention in some interesting places. Texas is considering building a new hoops arena and the Longhorns plan to come study what Lincoln officials are building. Imagine that, Texas borrowing from Nebraska.
>> I love it when college hoops games live up to their billing. Indiana-Michigan did just that. Can’t wait to watch round two, and maybe three in Chicago.
>> I’d like to see a more positive, and forthright, Bo Pelini on Signing Day. He doesn’t have to gush about how they’ll be All-Americans. But Wednesday is a day for the fans, and the program to smile, to strut. It sounds like Pelini has landed some good players. Tell us how good, Bo.
>> One more and I’m outta here: A collective shout-out to the 2013 class of the Omaha Sports Hall of Fame, including Sandy Buda, Jerry Murtaugh, Connie Yori, Rose Shires, Dr. Jack Lewis, the 1963 Omaha Tech basketball team and The World-Herald’s legendary Wally Provost. The event will be April 25 at the Scott Conference Center.
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