Tuesday night, the Creighton and Nebraska baseball teams will try to pound each other. Is there a scenario in the future where they could actually team up for the same cause?
That cause is nonconference scheduling. NU coach Mike Anderson said last week he’s going to need to beef up his nonconference lineup to offset the Big Ten’s lack of power.
CU coach Ed Servais has a similar issue ahead, though his dilemma has more to do with putting fannies in the brand-new seats at TD Ameritrade Park.
South Dakota State, BYU, Portland and North Dakota are not exactly going to set attendance records at the new home of the Jays.
Warm-weather schools are not lining up to come to Lincoln in March, though Anderson did get UCLA and Fresno State to stop by this past month — for return trips. But schools are starting to line up to play at the new home of the College World Series. Servais said Virginia, Arizona State and TCU have sent positive feedback about playing the Jays in Omaha.
Why would Servais want to share with NU? Because making a two-stop road trip might be bait enough to land some bigger fish for both the Jays and Huskers. Play in Omaha on the weekend and in Lincoln during the week, or vice versa.
Servais’ Jays enter Tuesday night’s game at 20-5, but he says their RPI is 74 — higher than that schedule suggests but not good enough to land an at-large berth in the Valley. Better games help both programs.
“I can envision a lot of things happening," Servais said on Monday. “I could see a tournament with both of us in or three nonconference teams here to play us. I think we have to have an open mind to a lot of things. But I want to get in the stadium first and get a feel for it."
That will happen two weeks from Tuesday night when the blue and red christen TD Ameritrade Park. No attendance worry there. The inaugural game is already sold out.
I like Tim Beck’s approach with trying quarterback Jamal Turner at receiver. That says the philosophy on offense is putting the best talent on the field, even if it’s a freshman, and making the offense fit the personnel. That’s a lot like Bo Pelini’s defensive philosophy. Which seems to work OK.
The ill-timed “Night With the Mavs" last Thursday could have been an awkward disaster. But speaker Terry Pettit turned it into a pep rally. Give Pettit credit. The former Nebraska volleyball coach and motivating speaker could have shied away from the dinner right after the events of the past few weeks. But Pettit, using the huddle scene from the movie “Hoosiers," urged the Mavs to get into their own huddle. He had the crowd on its feet cheering at the end. That’s why the man was so good. Still is.
If Husker baseball fans are disgruntled with the direction of the program — and I hear that they are, believe me I hear it — it’s not exactly keeping them away. NU ranks 28th nationally in attendance, averaging 2,039 through 17 games. Last Saturday, after a lopsided loss to Oklahoma State the night before, NU drew 3,800. On Sunday, following Saturday’s 10-0 loss, the Huskers drew 3,200. If you’re an athletic director evaluating the program, you take those numbers into account.
I hope that Creighton coaches and players received a nice gift card from Applebee’s for finishing second in the CBI tournament.
If not, CU’s venture into the CBI accomplished two things. One, it gave the Jays a nice push into the offseason. Several Jays elevated their game in the extra practice time and coach Greg McDermott’s returning players vs. seniors scrimmages helped develop early chemistry. Also, it may cause Oregon to paint a stinking half-court line on its rain-forest court. Eugene Register-Guard columnist George Schroeder wrote that the school should add one. On that court, it looked more like a babbling brook.
Friends of “Cowboy" Bob Hanson are throwing the former UNO men’s basketball coach a 70th birthday roast on April 16 at Champions Run in Omaha. Guest roasters include Dean Thompson and Mike Denney. Tickets for the 6 p.m. event are $30. Contact Rich Triptow, a former Hanson assistant from 1976 to ’84, at 402-598-9012 or email@example.com for information.
Nebraska baseball people would disagree if you say the Huskers have lost their edge. But the program that used to be Nebraska would not have followed up a 12-7 loss to Oklahoma State with a 10-0 defeat, a game that included four errors.
Don’t bother computing the Kansas City Royals’ magic number yet. But you had to like the way the Royals battled back to win three of four from Los Angeles. K.C.’s pitching could be a tad rough, but there are some young bats that might keep the Royals around until at least July. Or August. Alex Gordon might get it going. And some folks in K.C. say the team coming up at Werner Park might be better. This could be a team to watch the next few years. Good thing you can get the Royals games on radio in Omaha.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods will battle it out on the back nine on Sunday — and Lee Westwood will sneak through and win his first green jacket.
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