Greg and Doug McDermott had some quality father-son time on Sunday. They watched a movie. A horror show, to be exact.
"Doug and I watched film (of Wichita State) yesterday," said Greg, the Creighton basketball coach. "Just like we do every week."
This wasn't any other week. The coach's sideline tirade in the face of his son and the Jays' star player was still a hot topic on Monday. McDermott's email box was loaded up with responses. The sports celebrity website deadspin.com even weighed in with a sarcastic harpoon on the benefits of being a coach's son.
Coach Mac seemed a little surprised at the reaction and didn't want to expound on it. But emotions ran so high on Saturday that you wondered about the state of the Jays going to Carbondale. The state of the Macs, too. Everything OK?
"Oh, absolutely," coach McDermott said. "Everything's fine. Am I proud that that happened the other night? No. It's an emotional game. I don't do that very often. Doug knows that. He also knew what I was trying to do (light a fire)."
Tirades may be news around here because they don't happen very often. From Tom Osborne to Frank Solich to Dana Altman, Nebraskans are used to stoic, if not downright boring, behavior from their coaches.
When it happens, it's fair game for the media, fans and Internet cameras. That's today's world. Personally, I grew up at a time when coaches yelled at players. I'm OK with it, with two basic exceptions.
One, the coach doesn't touch the player. Second, the tirade doesn't get in the way of winning. I questioned Mac on Monday whether his action backfired and showed an image to his team of a coach who wasn't in control at a time when it was getting run out of its gym. He wasn't buying.
"I think the players looked at it for what it was," McDermott said. "They know I don't do that very often. They understood the situation at the time and what was needed. I don't think it had that impact."
Here's what had a bigger impact: Wichita State's physicality and Creighton's lack of defense. If the Jays don't get that fixed soon, a lot of people will be yelling.
• On that defense: Coach Mac said he didn't consider going to a zone — his team isn't very good at it, he says. He said his team needed to get back to some basics on defense.
"We're an average defensive team," McDermott said. "But we have the potential to be better than that. It's been that way all season long."
There's an obvious solution: recruiting. Go get an athletic wing who can guard the other athletic teams (Saint Joe's, Wichita) that have broken down CU on the wing.
• Dana Altman is a name you hear in blue and red circles these days. If Doc Sadler isn't back next year, I have a hard time believing that the Wilber, Neb., native will be on the Huskers' bench.
Sure, it's a good fit. Yes, Athletic Director Tom Osborne knows and respects Altman, and Osborne's track record is hiring coaches who he knows and are good fits.
Would Altman take it? He's making $1.8 million a year from Nike U. and he's already in a new arena and in a cupcake league. He might think about the chance to bring his family home to Nebraska and work for Osborne, who he deeply respects. But the Nebraska job is also a lot of work, and Altman would be next-door neighbors to some of his old friends at Creighton — some of whom aren't his old friends anymore. It was an awkward departure.
The question is, would Osborne make that call? There are two people who know Osborne who tell me there's a good chance that wouldn't happen. Why? Because Osborne, who developed many friends while working at Creighton for one year in 2006, would consider hiring a former Creighton coach to be like sticking a knife in CU and its fan base.
That's an interesting take. But I know many Creighton fans who wouldn't care if Altman went to Lincoln. They've already turned the page on that chapter.
• Remember when the College World Series regulars were going to line up to come play Creighton at TD Ameritrade Park? It hasn't happened. Yet.
That's because the big boys aren't lining up to play in Omaha in late February or the chilly days of March. They would rather wait until April or May. But by then, teams are in their conference schedule on the weekends. So you have to find a mid-week date where a team could fly up for one day, then fly home.
To do that, CU will need to up the ante. Coach Ed Servais told me on Monday that Creighton is considering paying schools a guarantee — pay for their flight up and back — to entice big names to come to Omaha. To do that, they would secure a sponsor, or use increased season ticket sales, etc.
Servais has talked to Virginia, TCU, Notre Dame and Arkansas about games in Omaha. I mentioned that Texas coach Augie Garrido has said he would play Creighton in Omaha in the spring. Servais' eyes lit up. Garrido would play in Omaha in January if you told him it would be sunny and warm and Lo Sole Mio was open.
• Servais threw out a very interesting tidbit on Monday: The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee is talking about changing the format for the postseason, in a way that could benefit Creighton. And Nebraska.
The coach said there's a movement on the committee to do away with the current format of 16 four-team regionals and go with 32 two-team regionals that would be a best two-of-three series. The winners would go to another regional level of best-of-three. Then those winners would go on to super regionals.
"The thinking is that teams play three-game series all season, so why change that in regionals?" Servais said.
By doubling the number of regional sites, schools like CU and NU would have a better shot to host — maybe more than one round. Meanwhile, Servais said Creighton is prepared to bid for a regional this year if the Jays have the kind of year they had last year.
• Creightonians had to be relieved to see that ESPN Bracketology guru Joe Lunardi still had the Jays as a No. 6 seed in his latest guess. And the Jays tumbled 11 spots in the NCAA RPI, but are still at a respectable 27.
Those things are great. But nobody, not even Lunardi, knows what's going to happen. Lunardi has people hooked by his weekly guesses. Are they educated? Yes. But not failproof.
The NCAA Basketball Committee uses hard data and tries to be scientific. But in the end, selection is an opinion and much of that is based on this question: Is this an NCAA tournament team the second week of March? The Jays have three weeks to look like an NCAA tournament team again, which means winning and looking good in winning.
• Lunardi again has Missouri and Kansas coming to Omaha as No. 1 seeds. I don't think that's going to happen: MU and KU both as No. 1. One or the other will drop after their meeting in Lawrence in two weeks. And then they'll likely meet again in Kansas City in the Big 12 tourney. I could see Omaha getting the higher seed of the two, but not both as a No. 1 and No. 2 seed. I think that a more likely scenario is Omaha getting a No. 1 Kansas/Missouri and Wichita State. That's National Guard alert, too.
• I"m hearing that Nebraska is talking to BYU about getting on a future nonconference schedule. It's not clear whether that would be in addition to playing UCLA, Miami, Fla., or Tennessee or further down the road. And then the Pac-12 rotation starts up in 2017. Fun times ahead.
• Fist bump: To Dean Thompson, UNO's all-time basketball scorer, who will be in attendance on Wednesday night when UNO turns out the lights at the old Fieldhouse against the University of Nebraska at Kearney before moving to Ralston next season. Thompson will attend the game. Heck, he might show up in a uniform. No fair, Dean, playing defense on Mitch Albers, the Mavericks' senior who is 66 points away from Thompson's scoring record. The best way to turn off the lights in the Fieldhouse would be to have Thompson play UNK coach Tom Kropp in a game of one-on-one.
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