Shatel: NCAA’s new NET rankings don’t mean much yet, but Jays' matchup with No. 1 Gonzaga does

Creighton's Davion Mintz (1) drives to the basket against Ohio State's Kyle Young (25). The Jays will host No. 1 Gonzaga on Saturday

Taking stock of our sports world and hoping the College Football Playoff committee doesn’t use the NCAA’s NET rankings.

You want chaos? The NCAA beat the CFP committee by a day.

Nebraska, 14th. That was before the Huskers played at Clemson, No. 51.

Texas Tech, which beat NU last week, is at No. 3 — ahead of Gonzaga, the top-ranked team in the AP and coaches polls. Also, ahead of Duke and Kansas.

Michigan State, which lost to Kansas, four spots ahead of KU.

Also, Kentucky at No. 61. Makes you wonder if Rick Pitino was in charge of the NET rankings.

Gosh, you’d think it was Nov. 27.

The NET is a new analytic ranking designed by the NCAA, brought in to replace the RPI. It updates the RPI by using all the analytics that college hoops fans devour like M&M’s.

Those analytics: game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency and quality of wins and losses.

The big game-changers that hoop heads were excited about: the addition of game location and offensive and defensive efficiencies as measuring tools. Especially more weight for true road wins.

I’m not an analytics guy. I’m more into common sense, like the kind Creighton coach Greg McDermott was offering Monday when asked about the NET.

“I have no idea what it means,” said McDermott, whose Jays are No. 36. “If somebody could explain it to me that might be helpful, but I’m not sure the people who came up with it know exactly what it means.

“It’s way too early. It’s such a small sample size. I wished we’d wait, like football does, until you’re two-thirds of the way through your season and then publish the first rankings. It’s really meaningless right now.”

» I’ll tell you what’s not meaningless: Nebraska’s win at Clemson on Monday night. That’s a road win that the NET is going to like come March.

» I’ll tell you what else isn’t meaningless: Gonzaga visiting Omaha on Saturday.

This is the sort of meat lover’s game that Omaha fans rarely saw when Creighton was in the Missouri Valley. Now that the Jays are in the RPI-rich — sorry, NET-rich — Big East, the percentages of this kind of game happening have risen.

And sometimes, it comes down to old-fashioned things like friendship — and persistence.

“We’ve been on it for probably four, five or six years,” said McDermott, a friend of Zags coach Mark Few. “We always made that phone call. Coach Few hasn’t always been excited about playing that game. I don’t know if I got him on a weak moment, or what.

“This is great for us, being Jesuit schools. It’s a game our fans have always wanted, and it wasn’t easy to get. It’s probably going to be more enjoyable for our fans than it is for me.”

You can make the case that this is the best nonconference game Creighton’s ever hosted. But it’s early. Let’s see how the NET plays out.

» Chaos, chaos, chaos. All I hear is people saying they want Alabama, Oklahoma and Ohio State to lose this week. They want chaos.

That means they also don’t want an eight-team playoff. There would be no chaos with an eight-team playoff.

What if it were six? Would that be the top six teams or the Power Five champs and one at-large? That would mean Notre Dame would be the at-large, and a Georgia would be left out while a less-deserving Pac-12 champ was in.

If the Pac-12 champ made the playoff this year, would it seem less of a playoff?

As for UCF, the Knights’ at-large chances would take a hit with the loss of star quarterback McKenzie Milton. That’s how it works in basketball. The committee has to project how a team will be able to compete in a championship.

Four might be the number that works — again.

Unless ’Bama loses and gets in ahead of both OU and Ohio State. Then you might get your chaos.

» One more and I’m outta here: I found this last week in some notes from an interview with Nebraska offensive line coach Greg Austin. I thought I’d share.

Austin said that early in the season, during the 0-6 start, he gave his linemen a quote to read from President Theodore Roosevelt. It’s called “Man In The Arena.” He credited the quote with bringing the group closer together.

The quote:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is married by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who actually does strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Pretty cool, huh? Next year, I’d suggest another Roosevelt classic.

Speak softly and carry a big stick.

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