Wednesday, March 18th, 7PM
Qwest Center Omaha
The Jays are back on the court in the postseason, though probably not the postseason they had hoped. However, with the NIT comes opportunity for up to 3 more home games and a trip to New York. First up is Bowling Green. Here is what you need to know about the Falcons:
- This is the first meeting between Creighton and Bowling Green ever.
- Bowling Green got the automatic bid to the NIT by winning their conference regular season title, but did not win the conference tournament to advance to the NCAA tournament and not selected as an at-large team.
- Bowling Green is 19-13 coming into the game. Their best win was in conference play against Akron. However, they did play Ohio St., Minnesota and Illinois St.
- The Falcons are in the postseason for the first time since they were in the NIT in 2002.
- Bowling Green likes to play 2-3 zone
- Their best player Nate Miller has been on fire lately averaging 24.5 points in the MAC conference tournament.
- Actor Tim Conway is their one of their notable alumni
The last time we saw the Bluejays on the basketball court, they just finished a stretch of about 1 1/2 games of about some of the worst basketball they played all season. Unfortunately for them and the NCAA Selection Committee, the last impression on the season was enough (along with a few conference tourney upsets) to keep them out of the NCAA Tournament. However, they still get to keep playing in the NIT.
Mentally, there is a lot this team has endured with the last performance, the waiting over a week on whether they made the Big Dance and then not getting selected and trying to focus on the consolation prize in the NIT.
Bowling Green comes into this game losing themselves in their conference tournament against Akron, a team the Jays played in the NIT a few years ago. I’m kind of surprised that the Jays have never scheduled any MAC teams to play during the regular season. But the Jays haven’t always had good luck with MAC teams in the recent memory. The Jays were matched up with Kent St. for a two-game series thanks to Bracketbusters and lost both games. The game with Akron in the NIT was a nail biter until the end.
The MAC was a stronger conference a few years ago and always kept missing getting multiple bids to the NCAA tournament. This season, the MAC has almost seemed non-existent with no real big non-conference wins to put in their cap. Bowling Green is the best they have to offer at this point.
The Jays should win this game. It will be whether the team has recovered mentally and looked at the NIT as an opportunity. The true Bluejay fans will be at the game Wednesday night and the crowd support should be there. Coach Altman knows how to get teams ready. But if not, I have a few different things of my own to get them ready.
1. The Jays get another home game. If they keep winning, they will get 3 home games. The fans have been there all season and they can use the crowd as an advantage to get them excited and keep the energy level up.
2. Win this game and you will see something that I don’t think the Qwest Center will ever see again–The storied Kentucky Wildcats will come to town to play the Jays on their home court. This is something that would never happen in the regular season. For me it is a dream matchup that I thought would never happen. Admittedly, I grew up as a Kentucky fan. Boy, this would be a good one.
3. Continue to win and you could get a rematch with New Mexico to see how the teams are different since the beginning of the season and build a little drama into the MVC/MWC Challenge for next season. Or you could possibly have the Notre Dame Fighting Irish coming to town.
4. Get to Madison Square Garden. Though I have never been there myself and it is an older building, it still sounds like it is quite the place to go and has a lot of storied history that happened in those walls. What an experience for this club that could build some great confidence going into next season.
But as they all say–one game at a time and take care of Bowling Green. They do hold opponents to about 61 points a game, so they will play some tough defense like most MAC teams do. On the other hand BG is 6-8 on the road and are a 11.5 point underdog. Let’s hope that is true. A nice confidence building win would be some great medicine for the Jays.
Make some noise in the Qwest Center and let’s see if the crowd can help keep this team playing. The chance to see Booker Woodfox and Josh Dotzler to play a few more games could be a treat. Take lemons and make lemonade. That is what the NIT is about.
Prediction: Jays 66, Bowling Green 57