MVC Tourney and Other Stuff

As you can tell, it has been a few day since I posted on here.  I did not post anything after the Jays loss last Saturday.  For one reason I didn’t have anything positive to say.  I was disappointed to say the least.   The other reason is that I was doing some extensive coverage of the MVC Tourney for Rush the Court and that took up a good amount of time.  Couple that with sporatic internet access the rest of the tourney, intensely watching 8 games in 3 days, driving to and from the tournament and heading home early due to a family emergency, I was a little shot and surprised how much Arch Madness took out of me.

Anyway, in case you missed out on everything since you were in St. Louis, here is what I have been doing for Rush the Court lately:

  • Last week, it started with the MVC season wrap-up and tourney preview.  Obviously I was totally off with the Jays vs. Bradley in the finals.
  • Then there was the Rush the Court Live coverage of the Southern Illinois/Bradley game and the Jays vs. Illinois St. game.
  • After the Southern Illinois/Bradley game, I reported on the game with extra pictures and stuff from courtside.
  • It was tough to blog a game where the Jays were just totally dominated and then still gave an after game  report on the game with pictures.  Though it was fun sitting basically behind the Creighton bench to hear and see what was going on with the team.
  • We then had to head for home and scrapped plans for live blogging the MVC Final due to a family issue.  I did listen to the game and watched it on DVR later and provided a report and postseason MVC predictions.
  • There was a season wrap-up and preview of the Big 12 tourney
  • Creightonjoey has some new recruiting information on the Recruiting page.
  • Finally today, I submitted a “Make Your Case” for the Jays on why they should be included in the NCAA Tourney.
  • “The Bracketeer” had a new bracket this past Monday and will have another new one Friday night and a final bracket on Sunday before the selection show.

So it has been a busy week.

Like I said before the MVC Tourney, I said I would post some pictures and talk about the experience.  First off, I want to thank Rush the Court and the Missouri Valley Conference for allowing me to cover the tournament.

Thursday night when I was trying to find out where to pick up my credentials, the Scottrade Center staff was very helpful and were able to direct me to where I needed to go.  Thursday night however, I decided to just enjoy Arch Madness and watch the play-in games.

Friday I went to Arch Madness through the media entrance before the UNI/Indiana St. game to find my spot on press row and to see if I would run into any problems setting up to live blog the SIU/Bradley game and ran into Charlie Spoonhauer as I was walking in.    He was doing several of the games for Fox Sports Net on TV that weekend.  I then made my way to the media workroom to get acquainted.

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Right outside the media workroom was an area that included all of the media guides and other information about the teams that could be useful for reference or anything that would need to be looked up during the course of the tournament.

Inside the media workroom were a bunch of tables available for computer and other work items along with being able to find out the wireless access information for the Scottrade Center.  There was also a corner where there was a layout of snacks.  Across from that was your beverage area with fountain Pepsi products available along with bottled juices and even milk.  Then there was an ice cream machine available for that sweet tooth.

After getting the wireless stuff figured out, I headed out to the floor to see where I was sitting.  I ended up right behind the bench of one of the teams and the WFAN radio crew Next to me was Matthew Stevens from Braketography.com and on the other side was one of the many MVC staff.

So I got everything ready to go for SIU/Bradley and watched the end of the UNI/Indiana St. game.  As that game was over, I thought I would go ahead and figure out where the postgame interview area was.

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So then I listened with several other media members and a platform of cameras and listened to Ben Jacobson talk about the win:

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One thing I quickly learned was if you stayed in the postgame area for both sides to give their postgame, you might miss the start of the next game going on out there.  So I didn’t stick around for Coach McKenna and headed back to courtside and got started with the SIU/Bradley live blog.

Wireless internet in the bowl of the Scottrade Center was kind of sporatic at times, but things didn’t go too bad.  In fact across the court on the other side, Kyle Whelliston (from Mid Majority and formerly of ESPN fame) was doing his own live blog chat on college basketball in general during this game.   He mentioned his own wireless problems going on there as well.

After the SIU/Bradley game, I again went to the postgame news conference, but this time I was able to stay for both sides since there was a little extra time until the next game (Jays of course) and they cleared all the fans out of the Scottrade for the next 40 minutes until they opened up again for the next session.  All the while, the media was still feasting on the postgame interviews.

Sam Singh will be back for year 6 next season.

Sam Singh will be back for year 6 next season.

Will SIU be better next year?

Will SIU be better next year?

It was now time for the Creighton/Wichita St. game and I met up with my wife to actually sit in the stands to watch this game.  I wanted to be able to just sit and enjoy at least one Jays game in the tourney because I figured if the Jays kept winning, we were probably going to live blog their other games, so I wanted to enjoy this one.   I was just going to watch it and call it a night.   And boy, things were looking great for the first 30-35 minutes.  But then as everything fell apart,  I was just cringing.  When I was sitting next to the guy from Bracketography earlier in the day as Northern Iowa was on the cusp of getting beat by ISU-Blue, I asked him if Creighton lost that night whether they would still get into the NCAA.  He said “No way.”  Now 6 hours later, my worst fear was becoming reality.  As Toure Murry hit that three pointer to put Wichita St. up one, I couldn’t believe how it got to that point.   But then with all the stuff that went on at the end and Booker Woodfox’s shot at the end, everybody was just going crazy in the stands and I was like “I gotta get down there, I’m sure the post game will be interesting.”  So I slapped on my media pass and made my way down there.  That let me put this together afterwards.   As I walked into the postgame and as we waited for the players and Coach Altman,  Matt Perrault, Travis Justice and Tom Shatel were sort of talking about the end of the game and that they thought there was no way Booker got that shot off in time.  I sort of sat close by just to see how they saw it.  As we know though later, Mr. Shatel went with Doug Elgin and basically seemed to prove that it was a valid and good shot.  I thanked Mr. Shatel the next day for writing the article that I thought would everyone at ease.

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However, I think Gregg Marshall’s experiences with Creighton will always leave a bad taste in his mouth no matter what.    As he carted his wife and kids into the postgame news conference and proceeded to get really emotional about the game and the situation, I was wondering how much was authentic and how much was a show for his wife and kids.  Also as a bit of interest, when Coach Altman and the Bluejays were done with their part of the interview and Gregggg Marshall came up for the news conference, Matt Perrault disappeared from the room.  I can’t imagine why he didn’t want to stick around to hear what would come out of Marshall’s mouth.

By the time the news conferences were over with for that game it was well into the Evansville/Illinois St. game.  I was dead tired by then and watched some of the game and headed home for the night.  Also as a side note, if I wanted to, I could have went to the different locker rooms and done individual interviews, but I will admit I was a bit intimidated and didn’t want to overstep myself in my first experience doing this type of stuff.

Saturday was pretty much the same as the day before, but that day was the live blog of the Illinois St./Creighton game.  Like I said before, that game was a really hard one to watch and you could tell that the Redbirds wanted it more.  I happened to be again in my same spot from the day before, so I was right behind the Creighton bench.  As the game was getting further into it, the Jays coaching staff was talking a lot about getting the ball inside and would yell repeatedly to get the ball inside.

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Josh Dotzler and Justin Carter tried to pump up the team, but it wasn’t enough Even though in the postgame Dotzler said that the way the game ended from the night before did not have an effect on the team, I really think it did.  It was like the air was let out of the balloon and the cohesiveness that this team had developed over the previous 10 1/2 games all of a sudden disappeared.  Everyone had their own plan to do things.  P’Allen Stinnett was hitting things and knocking things over and just did not have the composure needed.   At the end it came down to shooting the ball. Creighton had one of their worst nights ever and Illinois St. had one of their best.  The rest of the stats were even.  The Jays outrebounded Illinois St.  Steals and turnovers were just about even.

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Though disappointed, I was all set to enjoy my courtside experience for one more day to cover the MVC conference tourney title game, but then had a family issue sort of cut our trip short and had to make the trip back to Omaha earlier than anticipated.

Now the Jays sit and wait and hope that they get the call next Sunday to the NCAA Tournament.  For Booker Woodfox, he worked his tail off this season and deserves the chance to experience the Big Dance.  For Josh Dotzler, it is a culmination of what was anticipated, what dreams were shattered and a 4-year legacy that may end by only getting to the NCAA tournament once.  He also deserves more.  Here’s to the other bubble teams–lose!

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