A special Tuesday edition of Mad Chatter begins with a philosophical fan question: What is the value of a conference tournament championship in assessing an overall season?
I ask because Creighton culminated a remarkable surge Saturday night with a Valley championship. In some leagues, the eighth-best team doesn’t even qualify for the conference tournament. But CU made the most of its opportunity, refusing to drop a single game in Springfield.
Prior to last week, the Jays were a big disappointment — they’re one of only two teams in the NCAA tournament with a losing record. Did the Valley tournament run save the season? Or as a fan, would you rather have a more consistent year that falls short of the NCAAs?
In other words, Creighton (26-28 with an NCAA bid) or Nebraska (35-23 without one)? Who had the better season?
My answer is Creighton — barely. I think the NCAA tournament is a big enough deal that, to a large degree, one phenomenal weekend scrubs clean three months of frustrating baseball. But I didn’t have to sit at TD Ameritrade Park all spring as Creighton struggled to score runs.
What do you think?
>> Aaron Fitt of Baseball America breaks down the Selection Committee’s decisions. Interesting that Michigan State got an at-large bid after a fifth-place finish in the Big Ten. Fifth!?! Looks like the Huskers were closer to an at-large berth than some of us thought.
>> Very interesting that the committee matched Oregon and Purdue as potential super-regional opponents. Looks like they wanted to do everything possible to get a northern team to Omaha. (Unfortunately for the Big Ten, I don’t think the Boilers get past Kentucky.)
>> Also very interesting that Texas didn’t make the NCAA tournament. What is going on in Austin? Football, basketball and baseball are all struggling. How is that possible with UT’s resources?
>> Some Big Ten traditions (the Rose Bowl and bad rivalry trophies, for instance) annoy me. But since Nebraska joined the league, my appreciation for Michigan-Ohio State has grown. A Michigan recruit received a letter from Ohio State. He did what seemed natural — he burned it. And then he snapped a photo of the letter burning.
>> In case you missed it Sunday, what inspired former Blackshirt Dion Booker to join the Army at age 29? Here’s his story from Sunday’s World-Herald. I received this email from a reader: “Pass this along to Dion. Plain and simple: Thank you. You are a man!”
>> As I mentioned on Twitter Sunday night: Before Woody Harrelson accepted the lead role in “White Men Can’t Jump,” Manu Ginobili turned it down. #urbanlegends …Ginobili is old (34). He’s bald — what other NBA player has a bald spot that big but won’t shave his head? He’s not terribly handsome, either. But man, Manu took over Game 1 of the Western finals the other night. Can LeBron stop him? We’ll probably find out.
>> Does Chris Bosh have to come back to Miami? LeBron and Wade look so much more comfortable without him. I admire Boston’s tenacity, but the Celtics don’t have enough offense to win this series.
>> Bruce Feldman’s 10 toughest college football schedules. No surprise that Notre Dame is No. 1. Michigan is No. 4.
>> Some Wolverines, by the way, are preparing for Alabama by working out with Navy SEALS.
>> This is the best baseball catch I’ve ever seen. The column about the catch is great, too.
>> Should the NFL ban football helmets? This author thinks so.
>> Remember all those draft analysts who thought the Lions got a steal when Nick Fairley fell into their lap during the 2011 NFL Draft? Well, one month after he got arrested for possessing marijuana, Fairley got arrested for DUI. He drove 100 mph in an effort to elude police — at least he was smiling for his mug shot! The Lions, according to this columnist, are the new Bengals.
>> Phil Mickelson is very serious about joining a group to buy the Padres.
>> Tom Osborne weighs in on the college football playoff. He supports the plus-one, but is concerned that a playoff would diminish the value of the regular season. (As you know, I disagree.)
>> One more thought on Bob Boozer, who died last weekend. This is from Marlin Briscoe, the first black quarterback to start a professional football game:
“He was the catalyst for a lot of the kids coming up after him, including myself. Per capita, you can’t find a city that — in such a short period of time — had the careers and success we had. I’m talking about major stuff: Heisman trophies (Johnny Rodgers), All-Pros (Gale Sayers), Super Bowls (Briscoe), Cy Young awards (Bob Gibson).
“C’mon now. Where you gonna find that in one community? And a lot of that was because of Bob Boozer.”