Published Monday, February 13, 2012 AT 10:52 AM / Updated at 11:17 AM
Dirk’s Brunch Bites, Feb. 13
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

Basketball games aren’t always decided by physical strength. In fact, usually they aren’t. But what I saw Saturday at the C-Link was unmistakable. Wichita State didn’t just beat Creighton; they beat ‘em up.

There’s a reason Creighton struggles defensively, and it has nothing to do with effort or defensive rotations.

Take Gregory Echenique off the floor and Creighton doesn’t have a single player you’d consider physically strong for his position, at least by Top 25 standards. Antoine Young. Jahenns Manigat. Grant Gibbs. Ethan Wragge. Josh Jones. Austin Chatman. Will Artino. Even Doug McDermott.

The bulky Shockers simply pushed ‘em around — at both ends of the floor. It was like a team of 16-year-olds against a team of 14-year-olds.

The Jays have won a lot of games displaying impressive offensive skill. They pass and shoot as well as anyone in the country. But that’s not enough. That’s why this isn’t an easy fix for Greg McDermott.

Creighton can beat undersized finesse teams. It can beat unskilled big teams. But can it beat someone like Wichita State (or Long Beach State) that combines physical strength, athleticism and offensive skill?

The Jays might need a year in the weight room to solve that riddle.

***

>> The McDermotts have had a great season. But they made Deadspin for the wrong reason. I watched Greg’s tongue-lashing closely Saturday. And I asked both Greg and Doug about it afterward. Here’s my story. Doug admitted he didn’t respond to the situation the way he should’ve. I think Greg would do things differently, too.

>> The CenturyLink Center was not the home-court advantage Creighton hoped for. In fact, it may have had the reverse effect. When Creighton got down, fans panicked. Every time a Bluejay player passed up an open shot, there was a groan from the crowd. And I’m not sure it helps having former players like Chad Millard on press row talking to players, cursing at officials and berating Valley commissioner Doug Elgin when the Bluejays didn’t get a call.

>> If you missed Sam McKewon’s blog post Saturday about Husker hoops, read it now. I want to hear from Husker fans. Who do you want to see coaching Nebraska next year?

>> Stewart Mandel says a four-team playoff might encourage coaches to bolster non-conference schedules. I hope he’s right.

>> An amazing story from Kansas City about a girl who returned to the basketball court after a brain infection put her in a coma.

>> Jeremy Lin, NBA sensation. If you can’t get behind this story, you don’t like sports. This is the couch of Lin’s brother, where Jeremy is spending his nights.

>> Big 12 football schedules still haven’t been released. Here’s a potential slate for Oklahoma. Pretty interesting.

>> Behind the scenes of Memphis’ move to the Big East. Great reporting.

>> Phil Mickelson beat Tiger Woods by 11 shots in the final round Sunday? Didn’t see that coming. Woods continues to struggle in the same pressure situations he used to dominate. Tiger’s gift wasn’t just talent, it was mental toughness. The ability to intimidate the rest of the field, focus and bury one clutch putt after another. Those days are gone.

Mickelson, like everyone else, has removed the Tiger block from his brain. It’s one thing to beat Tiger head-to-head — Sunday was the fifth straight time Mickelson posted the better score when playing in the same group as Woods in the final round — but Lefty ran a victory lap around him.

About Dirk Chatelain

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments. You can follow Dirk on Twitter (@dirkchatelain) or email him at dchatelain@owh.com

Comments

  1. Brad says:

    But can it beat someone like Wichita State (or Long Beach State) that combines physical strength, athleticism and offensive skill?

    I’d say yes since they beat Wichita and San Diego St on the road. When this team has confidence it can be really good when it doesn’t they can be really bad. Coach Mac does need to recruit some 6’5 physical wings. Last time the Jays made the NCAA was when they had two physical wings with Nate Funk and Nick Porter. I also question if this team truly hates to lose.

  2. TheGov21 says:

    Paul Lusk Head Coach at Missouri State

    Good X’s and O’s guy
    Assosciate Head Coach at Purdue

    Knows the Big 10 area

    1. TheGov21 says:

      ^^^^^^
      My choice for New Nebraska coach if Doc is gone

  3. BlueJay says:

    Creighton needs to shoot the ball better than they have the past 3 games. They are not a great defensive team and when the shots are not falling it shows more. Wichita State played like that game meant their season.

    I think it is a disgrace for any college fanbase to boo teams. These kids are not pro athletes. Creighton can still get things turned around and having the fans backing them can only help.

    Maybe the team started to buy into all of the top 25 ranking hype. I thing polls in college basketball are pretty useless, Getting humbled these past 3 games may be just what the doctor ordered.

    1. matt says:

      Besides being obvious, your comment does get to the core of this team’s issue. Dirk probably could give you exact stats, but I believe up until their losses here, Creighton was 1st in FG%, but in the 100′s on defense. What you typically see is teams that have that dynamic get hot/cold at periods in the season. Sometimes that’s how you see really high seeds make it far in the tournament. Live by it, die by it type thing.

      I think Creighton got away with it because they play a lot of sub par teams. This streak probably would have started a long time ago had they played in a good conference like the big 10. I’m not saying that Nebraska is better than Creighton, because they’re not, but Creighton likely would be sub-500 in the Big 10.

      1. Tony says:

        Creighton would likely be sub-500 in the Big 10 could be debated until the cows came home. So, it is a stupid statement to start with. I do know that they did beat an excellent San Diego team on the road that no one else has done.(Along with WSU on the road, that no one else has done. You also show your ignorance by stating that the Valley is not a good conference. Look at their teams non-conference schedule/wins. Creighton is an underclassman-dominated team that will have a slump. The next few weeks will prove if they are a contender or a pretender.

  4. SouthSiouxCityRager says:

    Dork

    Tells me you know squat about golf. Tiger is JUST gettting back. He’s geting close and closer. Don’ be shocked if he wins two majors this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tiger Woods is the greatest thing since the Huskers!!!!!!!!!!!
    GO BIG RED AND GO TIGER……………………………..

    1. Drew says:

      Tiger’s not even winning two tournaments this year, let alone 2 majors. He has lost his killer instinct (and his swing) during the final round of the last two tournaments he had a chance to win (He had the final round lead at Dubai and played TERIBLE) I want Tiger to win just as much as the next guy, I think when he plays well it is a very good thing for golf. But I just don’t see it happening in the foreseeable future. He has lost his edge; nobody is “afraid” of him anymore. There is a TON of young talent on tour that could care less if he’s Tiger Woods or not, he hasn’t done anything since they have been on tour. We will never see the Tiger of 1999-2003 ever again, as much as it pains me to say.

    2. Bill says:

      Exclamation points are like bumper stickers–if you have more than two, people think you’re crazy.

      1. Melvin says:

        can’t putt, cant hit fairways. not as talented as phil. no more majors. sorry eldrick.

  5. SMG says:

    Creighton fans are embarrassing! They leave with 4 minutes left EVERY game!?! What’s the rush to get out of there? Someone told me because they don’t want to wait in line to get out of the parking lot. Park somewhere else! Where I park is $8 and it’s 1 block away from the Link. I can get out and home out west in 20 minutes, listening to the post game show the entire time. Fans on Saturday would stand up and yell for a free t-shirt but not to rally the Jays? LAME. Either get behind them or don’t show. There are plenty of us that sit up high that would relish your lower bowl seat and cheer until the last buzzer. Oh, and don’t EVEN get me started about the video board, lack of fire up music, NO DANCING GRANDMA, no cheers video. Whoever is in charge of that should get a Coach Mac verbal beat down! Seriously, we’re going to find Billy Bluejay behind a Pella window instead of blaring booming music and showing dancing grandma? It’s one thing to get 18,000 fans in the Link wearing white, it’s another to have 18,000 QUIET fans on national TV. Do any of you watch other schools crowds on TV? No comparison. I hope Rass or Coach says something publicly. Oh, one more thing. Get off Chad… that stuff fires our players up. The players love him and his support. At least there’s one fan who isn’t afraid of not being “polite”.

  6. ReadyForANewHoopsCoach says:

    Who do I want for a coach next season at Nebraska? I sure don’t want more Doc.

    1. macjones says:

      Too bad small town good ol’ boy. Because that Johnny Rebel Good Ol’ Boy will back for at least the 2012-12 MCB season. And if you don’t believe the veracity of this COSMOPOLITAN outsider, then why not check with that OZZIE down the interstate way. Howdy.

      In other words, OZZIE gave his word to that Lil’ Herbie CHIEF and gave him a contract of extension and a handshake of confidence. And any Cosmopolitan city slicker knows y’all small town, suburban Republicans are true to their word and Honest beyond a shadow of a doubt.

      1. Bill says:

        This is gibberish from start to finish.

      2. kevin says:

        Thanks Croc, HOWDY

      3. matt says:

        I used to think this macjones guy was a joke. Now I am afraid this is how crazy he really is and that someone like him is a part of our society.

  7. Mike Caramba says:

    I feel like every week there’s a bite about how Tiger’s done and we don’t need to talk about him anymore…yet…here he is again…

    1. Mike Caramba says:

      Just realized that’s not clear. I’m not suggesting Tiger is “back”. I’m just saying that Dirk keeps bringing him up only to make the same comment over and over. “He can’t finish. This isn’t old Tiger. Tiger would have never done X five years ago.” Got it.

      1. Keezer says:

        You watch. Tiger will wreck a Range Rover. All will be right in the universe. Major wins will follow.

        - Tigradomus

  8. Tony says:

    Remember, Saturdays WSU-CU game was literally a senior dominated team (WSU) versus an underclassmen-dominated team (CU). I hope that CU can right the ship. (And they DID beat WSU at their place in front of a raucus New Years Eve crowd.)

  9. matt says:

    Dirk -

    I have no ideas on Coaches who are viable hires. I suppose it would be one of the following:

    - A mid level coach who turned around a program and has a great finish to this year in the tourney
    - Throw some money at Dana Altman and see if he’s interested in coming back to the state (not sure everyone would love that one)
    - Doc stays a year, then we’re in same spot next year.

    I think its going to be option 1. A catchy/trendy hire with big aspirations.

    1. Kevin says:

      Go one further Matt-
      -a mid level coach who turned around a program, doesn’t have ot have a great finish this year in the tourney, BUT is a GREAT recruiter.

      A great recruiter who is a decent coach would be a step up at this point….

      1. Mosier says:

        NU definately needs a much better recruiter than JUCO doc but even a geat recruiter won’t bring top rated players here. We need a good recruiter and great coach. I hope we are willing to pay because I don’t see many top level coaches jumping at the chance to coach in Lincoln with the roster Sadler is leaving behind.

  10. pelinisadlersavioursofhuskersports says:

    this is nebraska. no one cares about basketball. also, the longer pelini coaches, no one will care about football either.

    1. Keezer says:

      Genius! Not.

      1. OldGold says:

        For a state that doesn’t care about basketball, they sure do a lot of basketball games and talk about it afterwards. Omaha has always been a big high school and college basketball town and most of the same fans follow the pros particularly the teams with Nebraska and Creighton players on them. Omaha has always been a big sports town period. Boxing and horse racing is down from what it was in the 50s but everything else is up. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if they had put an NFL team in Omaha in the 20s like they did Greenbay.

  11. Mosier says:

    Is it wrong that I smile every time Tiger melts down? Couldn’t happen to a better person. Congrats Lefty.

    1. kevin says:

      Yeah not much of a golf fan, but get dumbfounded by how people fawn over this guy. Jut a great example of how messed up our country is. Tiger is a real example of a human who has moral, ethic,value issues. Quite honestly if he was White they would’ve turned their back on him along time ago. I find it interesting how at a tournament it doesn’t matter if the leader board has a guy at -15, if Tiger is even par his the story in the paper.