Shatel: NU's odds for NCAAs? Not a joke these days - Omaha.com
Published Monday, February 17, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 11:42 pm
FIRST DOWNS AND SECOND GUESSES
Shatel: NU's odds for NCAAs? Not a joke these days

Way back in December, when UNO was taking on the world, I heard some wise guys crow that UNO would get to the NCAA tournament before Nebraska. And the Mavs aren't eligible until 2016.

Anyone still want to take that bet? The windows are closing.

» Speaking of odds, our Mike'l Severe reached out to Todd Fuhrman of Don Best Advantage in Las Vegas to see what the odds of Nebraska winning the NCAA championship are. Fuhrman reported that Nebraska was not yet on the board, and part of the “field” at 60-1. Also, according to Fuhrman, NU is ranked 70th in their power poll.

I guess that's sort of like a gambling RPI.

I'll have to get a copy of that to Creighton Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen, who's on the NCAA Basketball Committee.

That's right, Huskers. There's a Bluejay on the selection committee. Better be nice to the Jays.

Just kidding. Ras is a straight-shooter whose ethical approach to the process will be above reproach. He'll give the Huskers a fair shake — if they do what they need to do.

» The prevailing local wisdom, or guess, says that if NU can get to 10 conference wins and get at least one in the Big Ten tournament, the Huskers will be in good shape.

Here's a refresher course on how this bubble works: Winning at Michigan State is great. Don't blow it with a bad loss.

» For Exhibit A, I give you the 2012-13 Iowa Hawkeyes.

Last March, Iowa was 21-12 on Selection Sunday, with a 9-9 record in the Big Ten (sixth place). And was left out of the NCAA tournament.

Lack of quality wins were a factor. Iowa's best nonconference win was Iowa State. The Hawks had just one win over the top five teams in the league (Wisconsin at home).

And Iowa gave the committee a handy excuse to leave it at home: a Feb. 23 loss at Nebraska.

» NU has three top 40 RPI wins, but all are in the Big Ten. Nebraska scored a couple of nonconference scheduling coups. But Florida Gulf Coast (157) and Miami (Fla.) (117) aren't wins you brag about.

The best advice for Tim Miles and his charges: Win your home games. That would include Wisconsin on March 9, a nice trump card to have.

Bottom line is, nobody knows what it will take, except for the NCAA Committee, and it won't know until committee members arrive in Indianapolis around March 11.

But as Iowa can profess, you don't want a bad loss this time of year. Penn State, big game. Just ask Indiana.

» Nebraska and Penn State basketball. That's why the Big Ten expanded, right?

» Word of warning to Creighton fans trying to book hotels for Milwaukee or St. Louis. The committee tries to place top four seeds near their region, but their first priority is to balance the bracket.

Several bracket guessers are predicting that Wichita State and Kansas will share downtown St. Louis together in March. CU fits in Milwaukee, but so do several Big Ten teams.

If Creighton can win the Big East tournament, I could see a No. 2 seed. I can also see St. John's as a team nobody wants to play that week.

» We know for certain that Creighton is going to New York for the Big East tournament. Apparently someone else does, too. During the Creighton-Villanova game on Sunday, the advertising board at the CenturyLink Center scorer's table flashed an ad for “Slattery's Midtown Pub,” with an invitation to Creighton fans.

That's Slattery's Midtown Pub, as in 8 East 36th St., New York, N.Y. Well done, Slattery's. Somebody's done their homework on Creighton fans.

» I couldn't help but think about Connie Yori on Sunday, after the Nebraska women's hoop coach fainted on the sidelines during a game, from infection and dehydration. I'd ask Yori to take it easy, but that's impossible this time of year. Nobody pushes or grinds harder than a lot of these college coaches. None of them is busy counting money. They're trying to get the next win.

» Ken Pomeroy, a college hoops numbers guru who ranks teams and writes a blog, attended the Creighton game on Sunday. In his blog, he wrote that the new Big East is as good as the old, saying that while the Big East misses Syracuse and Louisville, it benefited from losing Rutgers, South Florida and Notre Dame.

“The current Big East is extremely unlikely to send two teams to the Elite Eight and may not get multiple teams to the Sweet 16,” Pomeroy wrote. “But in terms of overall strength from top to bottom, there's hardly a difference between the new and old version. If the Creighton/Villanova game didn't generate the same interest as Louisville/UConn, that's a mistake, because based on the collective skill on the floor, it deserved as much attention if not more.”

Yeah, but Greg McDermott doesn't have a white suit like Rick Pitino.

» The Boss and I went to see “Monuments Men” the other night. Pretty good. It was “Ocean's Eleven” meets “The Dirty Dozen,” though I can't picture Lee Marvin or Telly Savalas as an art collector. Kind of hard to imagine Bill Murray as an art guy, either. Seeing Murray in an army uniform reminded me of “Stripes.” That's the fact, Jack.

» By the way, there was a bar in the movie theater. When did they start doing that?

» There must have been a 10-second rule on discussion about the 10-second proposal in college football. The din has quieted. Just as well. It seems overrated. How many offenses walk up to the line and snap the ball within 10 seconds of the play clock starting? Not many.

This seems like it was more about egos — defensive egos — trying to throw a road block in the evolution of offense. Not happening, folks. Time moves faster than ever in today's world. People want things faster and faster. That's reflected in the negative response to this proposal from your average fan: They love more offense and more points, as fast as you can get it to them.

I don't think waiting 10 seconds for defensive subs was going to stem the tide. Today's skill people are bigger and better than ever. Better tackling in space? There's a start.

This sure isn't about preventing injuries, unless you're talking about the fake ones.

» Had so much fun at my last Omaha Press Club lunch that we're going to do it again next week, Feb. 25, at noon. My guest will be Mike'l Severe, who will talk about the new World-Herald radio show “The Bottom Line” — and help you cram for your mock NFL drafts.

» One more and I'm outta here: We lost a dear friend last week, long-time NET producer Jim Carmichael. Not just we in the media, but sports fans throughout Nebraska.

NET Sports has been a godsend to the state, bringing all kinds of great college and high school games to our living rooms. And Carmichael was a force behind that. For that, we'll be forever grateful. And we'll forever miss him.

The news of Carmichael's death was felt all the way to Sochi, Russia, where Kevin Kugler is broadcasting the Winter Olympics. Kugler worked with Carmichael since 1994 on “Big Red Wrap Up,” among other shows.

“Jim was more a friend than a producer,” Kugler wrote me in an email from Sochi. “I knew him for 20 years ... he was as loyal a person as I've ever known in the business. The day that I left for Russia, he texted, wanting to know how he could listen to my coverage from Sochi. I have no doubt he listened. I'm just sad I won't be able to have those conversations anymore. The loss to me, and to others he touched and worked with, is huge.”

Contact the writer: Tom Shatel

tom.shatel@owh.com    |   402-444-1025    |  

Tom Shatel is a sports columnist who covers the city, regional and state scene.

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