Gametime Primer: Jays vs. Missouri St.

January 31, 2009

creighton VS.  missouri-st

Sunday February 1, 2PM
Qwest Center Omaha

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
Sirius Satellite Radio, Ch. 122
TV: Nebraska NET (Cox Channel 12) and NET-HD (Cox Channel 712)
Mediacom (Missouri)
Free Video Streaming Available

Creighton Game Notes | Indiana St. Game Notes

Audio to Listen To
Nothing But Nylon with Nick Bahe (BS 590)

Other Previews
P’Allen Stinnett Questionable for Sunday (OWH)

The Jays finish a 3-game homestand against Missouri St. on Sunday.  Here are the storylines going for Missouri St:

  • The Bears lost their last game on the road against Southern Illinois Thursday night.  The game was originally scheduled for Wednesday but weather conditions moved the game.
  • While the Jays have already played some Valley foes twice already this season, this is the first matchup this season with Missouri St.
  • Chris Cooks is the only Missouri St. player that averages over double figures and is sort of the all-around player for them as he also leads the teams in rebounds and steals and second in assists.    4 other players average above 9 points a game.
  • Missouri St. is 1-7 on the road this season and have a first year coach in Cuonzo Martin
  • Creighton has won the last 5 games in the series and are 15-3 in Omaha.

Boy, Tuesday seems so long ago.  A lot of conversation has revolved around P’Allen Stinnett since then.  Stinnett may not even play due to some knee issues.  But at the same time, I can’t see him not playing.  Then there was talk about team chemistry, altercations and “Creighton Tradition.”  Obviously, fans are ready for the team to play again and I’m sure the players are ready to play again.  At least I’m ready for another game.

Missouri St. has performed as expected towards the bottom of the conference.  Missouri st. actually hasn’t been that bad this season keeping teams close for the most part.  Missouri St’s problem this season is that they have had long scoring droughts in several games this season including going on a 12-1 scoring drought in the last 4 minutes of the game Thursday against Southern Illinois.

The play of Justin Carter and Antoine Young along with the toughness of Casey Harriman the last few games have been bright spots in some of the frustration and inconsistency of this team.  Now if the rest of the team can get back on track, this could be a team that will peak as they head down the stretch.

Since 1980, the average score of the matchups favors the Jays 67-66 and the Jays are favored by 10.5.  P’Allen led the team in scoring both games last season and the Jays beat Missouri St. at the Qwest Center last season 88-67.   The players to key on for Missouri St. is Cooks, but also Senior Spencer Laurie.  He was out with an injury for 4 games and but has come back for the last 2 games.  Senior leadership helps with road games.

With it being Super Bowl Sunday and with coaches wearing sneakers, these are just a few oddities of the day.  Also Kyle Whelliston is making a return after being in attendance at the Indiana St. game.  This guy is just a great lover of basketball and has probably had his fill of MVC gameplay this week going to the UNI game against Illinois St and hanging out with Doug Elgin all week.  It will be interesting to see what the crowd is like with the Super Bowl being played right after the game.

One thing about Creighton tradition–I kind of wonder if it is kind of lost in the shuffle of things.  When looking up information to preview these games or just read about other teams in the conference, it always seems like at some of the other conference schools, there is some special thing going on at halftime to honor someone (like a school’s “Hall of Fame” induction) or a monument to their history (building a Doug Collins statue outside of Redbird Arena).  Where are all of the former players?  Are they able to contribute to this team at all and inspire the players.  I know the likes of Kyle Korver, Anthony Tolliver and Nate Funk aren’t available (due to their playing), but guys like  Jimmy Motz, Pierce Hibma, Nick Bahe who have been around this team this season and I am sure others are around that can talk and instill in the players a little of the “Creighton Tradition.”  What are Ryan Sears, Ben Walker and Rodney Buford doing these days?  Do they ever come back for games?  Dabbert, Deren, Grimes, etc….I think having more of the former players around would help inspire players and to bring these teams season after season together a little better.  Just my two-cents.  But what do I know?

After all is said and done, with the win Tuesday and hopefully a win on Sunday, will we really know anything more than before and after the Drake game?  The Iowa roadtrip will probably tell us more.  Hopefully this game is a confidence booster.  For the first time in a real long time, we get pizza.

Prediction:  Jays 78, Missouri St. 62.


P’Allen vs. the Referees

January 29, 2009

Tuesday night against Indiana St. towards the end of the game, there was a nice outlet by Justin Carter to P’Allen Stinnett and he went in for a dunk…..and he held on to it for a little longer than he should have.  Yep, he got a Technical Foul called.  Now there has been some discussion on the Bluejay Cafe about whether the technical should have been called and then even some went on to say how they are tired of P’Allen getting technical fouls all together.

First off, I thought the call  should have been a no-call.  Seriously.  It was toward the end of the game with under a minute to go, the game was pretty much decided, the player was on his own home court, and it was something in the game for the fans to get excited about.  Yes, it probably was a right call, but I don’t agree with it and believe me if it was in the ACC or SEC or some other large conference school in the same situation, that would have been a no call and let go.   But I believe some of these referees love the opportunity to call a technical foul.

So far in his career, P’Allen has gotten himself 7 technical fouls.  Thanks to our friends at Statsheet, P’Allen leads the nation in Technical Fouls in his two seasons along with Chas McFarland from Wake Forest.  Both with 7 in their career.  This season though, Robin Smeulders from Portland and Darnell Hugee from Prairie View A&M lead the way with 5 and 4 technicals respectively.

Below are when P’Allen’s technicals have been called and the referees involved:

pallentechs1

Click to see this better

As you can tell, of the 7 Technicals called on P’Allen, there are 3 referees that are on there twice in the past two seasons.  Let’s take a look at these guys a little more.

Paul Janssen–Janssen has called the most Creighton’s games (12) the past two seasons leading the way last season with 8 games.  This year is 3rd on the list calling 4 games.  Mr. Janssen is probably the most familiar with P’Allen and in his the last two games he was a referee in a Creighton game in 07-08, he called a technical foul on P’Allen.  This season, Janssen has called the Nebraska, @Illinois St., Dayton and Wichita St home games this season.

Gerry Pollard–This guy is a piece of work.  Last season Pollard called 6 Creighton games.  This season only 1.  The one game this season was the Northern Iowa game.  Pollard must have had his fill of P’Allen last season and took the opportunity to have his crew call the game a little close and gave P’Allen a T for what I remember was a double technical, but an unnecessary one.  But also, Pollard has a tendency to be quick with that whistle as he ranks 3rd in the country this season on assessing technical fouls.  He is also the guy who kicked Greggggg Marshall out of the game in St. Louis at the MVC tournament last season.

David Hall–Has refereed 10 of Creighton’s games over the past two seasons including the Indiana St. game the other night.  @Evansville, Southern Illinois andthe New Mexico were the other games.   He has to be a tired guy as he does mostly Missouri Valley Conference and Pac-10 games including calling a game out at Oregon St. the night before.  He has been kind of on a roll lately calling 4 technical fouls in the last 9 games.

Janssen, Pollard and Hall called the most games for the Jays last season so they are quite familiar with P’Allen Stinnett.  Unfortunately, that may be a bad thing when it comes to this season and beyond.  I think P has done a lot better job keeping some of his emotions in check this season, but I’m afraid that first impressions have stuck in the minds of these three referees.   Then with Tom Eades and Rick Hartzell who are tied for 4th in games called with the Jays this season (with 3 each)have been part of crews this season where a technical was called on Stinnett, the road becomes a slippery slope.  What is disppointing is that even though P’Allen may mature as a person and a player over the next few years, referees may be still quick to T-up Mr. Stinnett due to the past and first impressions.  Referees hate to be shown up, so there is a difference between making a nice play and showboating to the refs.

But here is one last thing to look at.  Other than the technical called in Vegas and the MVC tournament, all of the technicals have been called on the home court at the Qwest Center.  And really you could lump the other two together as a “home” game because of the large amount of Creighton fans at both of those games.  P’Allen is just trying to create energy for the fans and get them involved.  There is nothing better for a home team than to have the fans excited and into the game.  It wouldn’t surprise me that the things P’Allen does to get him technicals are ways to create fan energy…things that are lacking at times at the Qwest Center.  P will dunk and make a face for the camera to get people excited because that is what people want to see.  What better than to get a controversial call or a technical to get the fans all worked up and into the game to create havoc not only for the referees, but to the opposing team?  Yes, that dunk and tech on Tuesday night was towards the end of the game, but did you see the reaction of the crowd and energy that was missing for most of that game?  If P’Allen was getting technical fouls on the road, then I would pull back this theory.  Whether it hurts the team as a whole, I don’t know if that is the case yet.  But at this point, P’Allen is just being P’Allen.  Would you rather he not show any emotion?  His up and down gameplay would be the thing I would be more concerned about.    But that is for another day.


JC Came Through

January 27, 2009
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Kenton Walker with a nice block in the first half

Box Score

No, it wasn’t that JC, but there might have been some divine intervention tonight to help the Jays win tonight against Indiana St. 73-62 .  It was the emergence of Justin Carter.  As is the case with many JUCO players coming into the Bluejay program, it is this time of year that these players start to be the difference maker.  The one you can depend on down the stretch.  Justin was all over the court tonight and seemed like he was around for every rebound.  His line for the night–17 points, 6-7 from the field, 2-3 from three, 3-4 from the free throw line, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 assists in only 23 minutes of play.

The other side of the coin was the view of Creighton’s future in Antoine Young.  Young is continuing to press, seems to be a step faster than everyone else and not afraid to take it to the rim.  He has been playing more and more minutes with 24 tonight.  He had 12 points, but his 8 points in the first half is what kept the Jays going when no one else wanted to shoot the ball and looked tentative in playing.  Understandable I guess after the horrible shooting on Saturday.   But man, Antoine looks like he could be someone to lead this team down the stretch and if he continues to play like he is, then Cavel Witter and Josh Dotzler will see fewer minutes, though it does appear that Coach likes to use 2 of the 3 on the court at the same time.  I know Josh doesn’t like to shoot, but unfortunately in some games he becomes ineffective because the opponents won’t cover him outside of 15 ft. and he will not be able to drive to the basket and kick out.

Overall, the Jays had 4 players in double figures with P’Allen Stinnett and Booker Woodfox being the other two.  However, it took P’Allen until about 8 minutes left in the game to get things going by getting 1 of his 3 rebounds off a missed free throw and an off balance put back.  He then reeled off a bunch of points over the next couple minutes and ended the game with a nice dunk, though a little excessive hanging that led to a technical.  Booker had an up and down night, but hit some key shots throughout the game that kept things going.

Casey Harriman hit two straight wide open 3-pointers in the second half and again fought in the paint for rebounds.

Kyle Whelliston (of Midmajority.com and ESPN fame) was supposed to be in the stands tonight and I thought it was in the front row somewhere.  I tried to find him, but I don’t think it was him.  But, otherwise some random guy can get excited that he has his picture posted.  Oh well.  Anyway, this had to be a weird game for him to watch and probably not at all what he was expecting to see.  I guess we can explain it that this team kind of played like it has all season and had enough this time to come out with the win.  There are things I could be critical of, but I’m just happy they got a win.  If we have to win ugly, then we can roll with it.  Hopefully we can see the Jays continue to improve as they finish the homestand against Missouri St. before the Super Bowl.  Should be fun.

Oh, and Qwest Center personnel–Thanks.  I noticed the sound was noticeably louder tonight.  Though I don’t know if it was because you turned it up or if all the empty seats helped the sound resonate a little better.

And the student section—Sorry excuse for basically no-showing tonight along with Billy Bluejay not being there.  Whoever was supposed to be Billy today needs to be taken off the list.   The students aren’t supposed to be fairweather fans, but I guess the haughty-taughty students can’t support their classmates when they need it the most.  Thanks a lot student section.  I threw up newspaper for you tonight.


Gametime Primer: Jays vs. Indiana St.

January 26, 2009

creighton Vs.  indiana-st

Tuesday, January 27th, 7PM
Qwest Center Omaha

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
TV: Nebraska NET-2 (Cox Channel 16)
Free Video Streaming Available

Creighton Game Notes | Indiana St. Game Notes

Audio to Listen To
Coach Dana Altman (BS 590)
Coach Kevin McKenna (BS 590)
Poor reffing over the weekend (1620 The Zone)

Other Previews
Jays Must go back to Basics (OWH)
Turnovers Plague Indiana St. (Tribstar)

The Jays are trying to rebound from a cold shooting performance and lack of effort Saturday against Drake. Of course it is another matchup against coaching friends and coaching partners in Coach Altman and Coach McKenna.  In most instances, the Jays have been able to come out with a much better performance after a performance like Saturday.  But, I am not in a prediction kind of mood at this point.  It isn’t worth the time and effort.  However, I am a bit superstitious.  Obviously the home court has not been nice to the fans and to the Bluejays as of late.  As fans we need to look to see what we can change up to try and get things going again.  We can’t put the ball in the basket, so we do what we can control.  So it is time to change things up.   Here are the things I would like to see different in Tuesday’s game:

  • Instead of stopping the clock before the game starts at 14.3 seconds, I think it needs to be 10.8 in honor of the 108 days since practice started and where we are at in the season.
  • When the starting lineups are announced, what do you think it would be like to see the whole Qwest Center do the newspaper thing that the student section does? In the past few games I have noticed a couple sections around the student section and “The Perch” taking part.  It is time for others in other sections to get their section to take part.  As long as the OWH is nice enough to hand us papers, it looks good flying through the air.
  • A plea to Qwest Center Video and Sound people—TURN UP THE VOLUME……Some of the advertisements are louder than the Tunnel Walk video, tip off video and timeouts.
  • I think it is time for the return of the Under Armor video on “Protecting This House.”  I think the Jays players need that pleasant reminder.
  • Can we get pyros or fireworks in the Qwest Center like they had at the Civic the final season?
  • Have no one touch the game ball except for the World Herald ball kid.  The scoring table needs to keep their hands off of it.
  • Have the fans that really want to be there show up.  Nay-sayers can stay at home.  They can watch it on TV or online for free.  It is on Nebraska Public Television.
  • I hope to see players diving on the floor for loose balls and defensive pressure picked up.  Better 3-point percentage.  Can’t be too hard to get that, right?
  • Kevin McKenna not wearing a sweater vest. The 80’s have called and want their wardrobe back.  Oh, I guess we don’t have control of that.
  • Choose #2 for the Bowling Party game.
  • A former Bluejay sighting on the Big Screen.  There has to be at least one former Jays player sitting in the stands that could get the crowd a little excited.
  • I’d like to see the Jays Dancers put their hair down.   Now that would be hot.
  • What happened to Dancing Grandpa?  Maybe I have missed it, but I don’t think I have even seen him this season.
  • Get a guy out there that can actually putt and get the ball in the Borsheim’s gift box.
  • Referees that don’t decide the game.
  • A win so that the Bluejay Cafe can calm down.
  • A good night of sleep.

What am I forgetting?

Oh well, this was kind of fun.  The Jays will go home winners Tuesday night—They have to.  I just won’t predict how much.  I’d be wrong.  I’m still a supporter and will be.  I’m not ready to give up my tickets


Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

January 26, 2009

I’ve sort of avoided posting anything on here since the loss to Drake on Saturday mainly because I was so disappointed about the loss and the other reason being that anything I wrote wouldn’t be anything new that hasn’t been said about this team this whole roller coaster season.

So I just have an analogy that a friend reminded me of today–The Jays are kind of like the weather guessers on TV.  You really don’t know how it is going to turn out.  They may say that there is going to be a huge blizzard and whiteouts everywhere, but in the end you have clear skies and the sun is shining.  The Jays have been sort of like that.

The forecast for them was huge at the beginning.  Expected to win the conference.  POY candidate P’Allen Stinnett.    Then the dramatic opening game against New Mexico.  The stumbles on the road at Arkansas-Little Rock and the suspension of P’Allen for the Nebraska game.  The team appears to get things together heading into the new year with 9 straight wins.  Then the manhandling at Illinois St. , the hangover against UNI at home and then the surprising turnaround at Bradley.    Headed home to play rival Southern Illinois (who was predicted 2nd this year in the conference, but instead having their own issues) somehow pulled out a miracle to win that one.   Overly confident, the Jays then get kicked in the mouth at Wichita St. giving them their first conference win of the season and then seem to have one of their most complete games at Evansville.  Coming home for 3 games, time to make the run…but then one of the worst shooting and defensive games I have seen in person in a long time.  Another loss at home which is seconds away from a 3 game home losing streak.  Almost unheard of.

So in the end we still have Coach Altman sitting at the podium saying “We have a long way to go.” “We are young.”  “I didn’t do a good job getting us prepared.”  So the top 2 forcasted teams for the conference sit at #4 and #7 while the team expected to finish 6th is starting to pull away.

Not quite how it was forecasted to be huh?

So for the umpteenth time this season, the Jays have their backs to the walls again as league worst Indiana St. and Missouri St. come to town.  Will we get a false sense of confidence again?  Will these games really tell us anything?  I’m sure that is what the 17,000 fans that filled the Qwest Center on Saturday will say.

Everything is being theorized as it is coach’s fault, it is the players not stepping up, it is the home crowd intimidating the team, or that this team is too young.  It’s hard to tell.  I don’t think anyone knows, even coach Altman.  As the shots continued to clank off the rim and again the team went small down the stretch because the frontline was non-existent, it is apparent something needs to change.

Some things might be as simple as being able to focus for the game.  I listened to the “Nothing but Nylon” segment with Nick Bahe on Big Sports 590 the other day.  Really to get some great information this season, I don’t think the fans have been exposed to this great of an inside look to the team by being able to have former Jay Nick Bahe as the Graduate Assistant on this team.  This guy is at practice everyday, he is in on team meetings,  and he works directly with the players and coaches.  Not only is he on for these segments, but does the radio broadcasts of the games and the TV broadcasts of the games on KMTV.  Anyway, listening to the segment the other day, he mentioned that for the Evansville game, the team was totally different in the way they prepared before the game in the locker room.  Nick said that it appeared the team realized that their backs were to the walls and that they were different than ever before the game.  Usually everyone has their own little routine for the game, with P’Allen listening to his music bouncing around, Cavel kind of screaming, Booker chillin’, Kenny relaxing, but this time they were all there and just really quiet and appeared to be really focused.  I know there is something to be said about relaxing before going out there so you are not all wound up, but I’m afraid there is some focus that needs to happen right before these games rather than just doing their own thing.  A sense of urgency might actually help this team.

This team misses Chad Millard more than anyone realizes.  With him on the court, I think it opens things up for Kenny Lawson and Kenton Walker to be more effective.  I mean really, Kenny’s knees only let him play about 20 minutes a game and Kenton Walker has had injury problems affecting him since this summer. Playing Justin Carter and Casey Harriman out of position can only get you so far.  If this isn’t a big red flag to prospects to lure another big man to come to Creighton because they know they could contribute to this team right away, I don’t know what will.

Some people think this team is too young saying the Jays experience factor from Kenpom is 159th and that this team is too young.  Not really an excuse.  I’ll use the Butler example.  Like I posted on the ‘Cafe–Butler ranked 340th in experience coming into this season and they are 19-1. The previous two seasons, Butler was ranked 32 and 30 in experience (Creighton was 41 and 239), but yet they have been able to sustain, if not improve their program with this experience level of 340. And Butler dominated the Valley this season with wins @Drake, Evansville and @Bradley.  So in 3-4 short seasons Butler has become a team that plays and competes with anyone whether they are experienced or not and can win games. This program has somehow been able to get to that next level quickly. Butler is doing something right that the Valley teams are not. Yes, they play in Horizon league and that can be an excuse, but their non-conference play speaks for itself. If Butler can out recruit the Valley, then that is saying something since they play in the Horizon league. Many teams can play well whether they are young or not. It depends on how quickly that player can be developed to play beyond their age. Unfortunately, it is appearing that it takes coach Altman’s staff 3-4 years to get the player to their potential.  We’re not going to be the next Gonzaga.  At this point we can only strive to be the next Butler.

This team needs to come together now more than ever this season.  I’m not a weather guesser and obviously I haven’t been able to predict anything about this team this season.   So really I have no idea what I am talking about, but these next 5 games will define this team and this season and the direction of this program.  If the players can’t get a hold of what Coach Altman is telling them, they have already tuned him out and if this team is “young” then it could be a long couple of years.    I really hope that isn’t the case.

Maybe we’ll get rain tomorrow.


Gametime Primer: Jays vs. Drake

January 23, 2009

creighton Vs. bulldog34

Saturday, January 24th , 1PM
Qwest Center Omaha

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
Sirius Satellite Radio Ch. 122
TV: KMTV (Channel 5 on Cox in Omaha

Creighton Game Notes | Drake Game Notes

Audio to Listen To
Motivating the Bluejays (BS 590)
Bluejay coach Dana Altman (1620 the Zone)

Other Previews
Midseason Slump Slows Drake (OWH)
Phelps Ponders Lineup Changes (Des Moines Register)

The Jays have 3 games in a row at home, the first being against Drake.  Here are the storylines with Drake :

  • Drake has lost their last 3 games.  The last two have been by 21 and 22 points
  • Jonathan “Bucky” Cox (11) and Josh Young (16) lead the Bulldogs in scoring.   Though Cox plays more in the post, they both love the 3-point shot.
  • Drake is on their 3rd coach in 3 years, with Mark Phelps at the helm.
  • Drake is 2-3 in true road games this year, with road victories at Iowa State and Southern Illinois.
  • Creighton has historically won pretty consistently against Drake over the years, however have lost the last 3 including the two regular season and conference tourney meetings with Drake last season.
  • Entourage great Jeremy Piven is a noted alumni of Drake

First things first, if you are going to the game on Saturday, I suggest you leave for the game early.  Not only is the basketball game going on Saturday, but the big Car Show is going on at the Qwest Center as well.   So between the parking issues because of the new Baseball stadium, the sewer project that has closed down lanes of traffic and the car show at the Qwest Center and an expected packed Qwest Center, it is advised that if you want to pump up the Jays before the game and get things off on a good note from a fan perspective, SHOW UP EARLY.

Coming into this game, both teams have a lot of motivation.  For Drake it is the fact that they have lost 3 in a row and in the last two have just been blown out,–Northern Iowa destroyed them on their own home floor in front of ESPN cameras and then lost to last place Missouri St.  After the UNI loss, Phelps changed his starting lineup to put guard Josh Parker in the lineup.  He has been a bit of a dangerous player this season with the two Joshes (Young and Parker) combining in scoring big during their wins.

Creighton has motivation of their own for the fact that Drake beat them 3 times last season and most of the same players for the Jays are on the team again this year and won’t want that to happen.  After the big loss to Wichita St. last weekend, the Jays came back and shot lights out against Evansville to get a big win.  Coming back home for 3 games should be motivation to cleanup and keep trying to catch Northern Iowa.

For a team like Drake that rose up out of nowhere last season and fans had been satisfied with their ho-hum status,  Drake fans have become restless already like they should already be successful year after year.   I’m sorry, but 3 coaches in 3 years is not a successful program and it is not like the fans have been packing the Knapp Center this season in support of this year’s team.   However a large bus of student fans are coming down for sure and who is not to say that there are more Drake fans coming to town than realized.

The Jays should be pumped to play at home.  The play of the Kenny Lawson has improved (and is farther along at this point than Anthony Tolliver or Brody Deren) and Justin Carter is starting to look comfortable out there.  He is fighting for rebounds and his High School football experience appears to be helping him:

There is no Pierce Hibma this year (though he will be in press row doing the radio) that had steller games against Drake.  So this time we look to another unexpected player–Josh Dotzler.  Josh had a career high 10 assists against Drake his freshman year and I expect him to have a big role in this game.  Though he has been solid this year, I haven’t seemed to notice his game as much since the emergence of Antoine Young the last 3-4 games.  I just have a gut feeling on this one.  So I won’t be right.  Haven’t been right much this season on predicting these games.   Average score since 1980 is 70-68 in favor of Creighton.

The Qwest Center should be a rocking place Saturday afternoon and it is one of the few Saturday games this season.  There are no excuses for leaving early, showing up late or just plain not going and cheering like crazy.  Heck, just head out early morning, show your Creighton tickets and get a discount to the Car Show and then head over to the game.   You can still go home and enjoy Saturday night and relax Sunday.

In the end, the Jays are moving one way, while Drake is going the other.  The shooting woes for Drake will continue.

Prediction:  Jays 82, Drake 70


Around the Rim–1/21/09

January 22, 2009

As we prepare for a 3-game homestand, just a lot of interesting things going on with in and out of conference teams of interest:

  • Most of us are probably aware of the MWC/MVC Challenge starting next season for at least 4 seasons.  Anyway, Steve Alford, the great guy that he is, was one of the MWC coaches who voted against the challenge thinking it will hurt their league more than help it.   “Winning a game on the road at one of those schools is difficult.”  Isn’t that the idea of  playing tough competition?  He must not want to get outcoached against teams like Creighton like he did this season.
  • Northern Iowa is on top of the MVC right now, but between them and Drake (considering their performance last season) attendance is down for both schools.  Officials at Northern Iowa say it is because of the weather while averaging only about 3500 fans a game.   Well don’t tell that to the people in Omaha as 15,000 show up on cold nights for games.   Even last night’s UNI game at home against Bradley only drew 5,173 people.  The facility has a capacity of a little over 7000.  Drake’s  reasoning is because of games on “Church Nights” and other various reasons, but there isn’t really a spike in attendance.    Though it is only down 1.1% from last year, it appears that it is really farther down than that.  Just a little interesting
  • I’ve had this for a couple of weeks, but just forget to mention it.  Anyway, The Denver Post did an interview with Sean Ogirri (who was Mr. Basketball in Colorado his senior year) on how he is doing since transferring from Wichita St. to Wyoming.   I always thought it was interesting that Ogirri transferred out of Wichita with only one year of eligibility remaining.  But I think it sheds a little light on how Coach Marshall is a likeable unlikeable guy.  I hate to guess or read into it, but I think there was a little conflict between the two guys that caused him to transfer.  I only mention it because Ogirri caused the Jays quite a few headaches when he was at Wichita.
  • Speaking of hometown newspapers, a newspaper in Maryland did a nice little article on Justin Carter and about his transformation from a guy that really wanted to play football to now playing Division I basketball.   Seeing Justin’s play lately just sort of seems fitting with this recognition.
  • In another local newspaper story, here is an article on Kenny Lawson’s brother, Quincy Lawson and his play as of late.
  • Speaking of recruits, one of Bradley’s new recruits , John Wilkins, doesn’t appear he will make the grade to go to Bradley at this time, so he has enrolled in JUCO.   Why it takes so long for the NCAA to decide some things is baffling to me, but they can kill the early Midnight Madness within a few days.
  • Oral Roberts who the Jays played earlier this season has lowered ticket prices for the rest of the season for the endzones and upper level to $5 due to the economy.   ORU started horribly this season, but in the conference they have turned things around and are 6-1 and just a half game out of 1st in the Summit.
  • There was a little article about Dayton’s non-conference schedule and how it might hurt them down the line but are attempting to be more aggressive in scheduling in the future.   We know that the Jays are headed there next season to continue a series, but consider New Mexico and George Mason opponents to mention in the article.  Another interesting note is that they pay $70,000 per “buy” game.
  • What a nice transition….Our favorite “Buy” game–Arkansas-Pine Bluff, from the great SWAC conference created a little history last week.  They won against Alcorn St. 101-77.  The significance.  This was the first time Pine-Bluff scored 100 pts. or more in a game in about 30 years.   Before that game Pine-Bluff had only 1 Division-I win and that was against another Jays opponent from this season, Mississippi Valley St.
  • It is nice to see former Jay Anthony Tolliver getting another shot at the NBA.  After getting released by San Antonio a week before he was guaranteed his contract, he went back to the D-League to play for Iowa which still had his rights.  He got “called up” by New Orleans who is depleted by injuries and signed him to a 10-day contract.  He has had quite a year with all of this NBA emotional roller coaster  plus the loss of his mom.  I hope it all works out for him.
  • And your funny of the day comes from the great satire “The Onion” and the Rural Nebraskan who isn’t sure he could handle the frantic pace in Omaha.  Though the story is fake, I could actually believe it is real from some people I know outside the Lincoln/Omaha area.

Now that the Jays appear to be getting their identity defined a little more, it is time for the Fans to do the same starting Saturday against Drake in one of the few Saturday games this season.  Pack the Qwest.