Published Friday, March 1, 2013 AT 2:11 PM / Updated at 6:02 PM
Tom’s Friday Tailgate
Tom Shatel Omaha World-Herald

1. Has there ever been a bigger regular-season Creighton game? Not since I’ve been here. Maybe Barone, Apke, Sutton and Red coached one, but that was before my time in the 402. Throw it all in: Valley title-or-bust game, league rival, CU All-American who might be playing his last home game (or might not) and the timely buzz of the Big East speculation, and I can’t think of a more compelling Jays’ game. Is it 1 p.m. Saturday yet?

2. Before we dive too much farther into hoops, let’s give a nod to hockey right here, right now. UNO has its own monster weekend, with the Badgers in town tonight and Saturday night. The Mavs are in third place in the WCHA, three points behind leader St. Cloud, and might be too far behind with four games left. But UNO definitely is in shape for playoff home ice and that’s the goal now. Then, get to the Final Five in St. Paul. That would be a good season. Anything less, a disappointment, from where UNO sits now. If the Mavs can get to St. Paul, they’re likely in the NCAA tourney. If you go tonight or tomorrow night, stand on your feet and clap for senior goaltender John Faulkner, a class act and true Mav. The captain is tied for the school record with wins. Like to see at least one more this weekend.

3. The Nebraska women’s team still has the only Sweet 16 appearance by a Division I basketball team in Nebraska. Lindsey Moore and the Huskers are back on another roll, 22-6 and in second place in the Big Ten, one game behind Penn State — the team they just happen to play on Sunday at the Devaney Center. Nebraska won’t be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA’s, like in 2010, but Moore, Jordan Hooper, Emily Cady and the bunch are going to be a dangerous team in the NCAA’s. Another Sweet 16 run is not out of the question.

4. My head is still spinning a bit from the barrage of Big East stories that hit all at once on Thursday night. There were three main stories, from espn.com, cbssports.com and si.com. Every reporter has big-time credibility, in my book. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t all be getting used by a source or sources in the Big East, trying to get a reaction by floating Creighton’s name. But I don’t buy that; what purpose would you serve by putting CU’s name out on the speculation trail? I think it’s very real and it’s just a question of which versino do you want to believe: CU in the Big East in 2013 or 2014? If it’s next year, holy cow, Batman.

5. Plain and simple, Nebraska is in position to finish with the 10th seed in the Big Ten. Win one more and the Huskers will have that. I like them to knock off Minnesota in the final final Devaney game on Wednesday night.

6. That’s not the final basketball game. The state boys will take to the courts next Thursday. Maybe the Central or Omaha South students will have the final rush-the-floor honors. Or Papio, Millard West or Benson. Class A looks like the NCAA tourney.

7. Hope the Husker baseball team can get a game in this weekend. The weather chart says they should. At 0-7, I guarantee they wanted to get back on the field the day after the last game.

8. A father of a current Husker football player told me the team will report for duty at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and plan on finishing about 2 p.m. Spring has sprung. And how.

About Tom Shatel

Tom Shatel is a columnist for The Omaha World-Herald. You can get in touch with Tom on Twitter (@tomshatelOWH), or send him an email at tom.shatel@owh.com.