When pre-season basketball magazines hit the newsstand the choice to win the Missouri Valley Conference was unanimous Creighton was going to win with ease according to most of the pundits. Yet all year long there has seemingly been two different Creighton basketball teams. There is the one that started slow lost to Nebraska in an absolute shitfest and seemed generally uninspired. There were fights between Dana Altman and his players and Creighton fan was actually starting to call for Dana Altman's head. Then it finally started to kick in. Creighton went on an 11 game win streak. Now did they go on that streak because they were finally playing to their capabilities? Or was it because they were playing Wichita State, Evansville, Illinois State, Drake...etc? I tend to think it was a little of the first and a whole lot of the latter.
Just when Creighton needed to be the Good Creighton team the most they were not. In the first round of the MVC tournament they needed a miracle shot from Booker Woodfox whom seemingly got 4 seconds to get off a shot with 1.8 seconds left. They were destroyed in the second round by Illinois State so thoroughly that most everybody figured they were out of the NCAA tournament. As the next week progressed it seemed things were breaking for Creighton and they had managed to sneak into the tournament Until Mississippi State won the SEC tournament leaving somebody out of the dance. That somebody was Creighton.
Arizona, was the team that most Creighton fans figured didn't belong in the tournament and Creighton should have been in their stead. Well Arizona will still playing in the NCAA tournament next week while Creighton had to come from behind to beat to beat Bowling Green at home by 2 points. bad Creighton has showed it's ugly head again and the committee now looked like geniuses.
Last night Creighton had a chance to make a statement to present their argument that they belonged in the NCAA tournament with a home game against one the best programs in basketball Kentucky. The good news for them is that there can be no doubt that good Creighton came to play last night. That team that showed up last night would have won the MVC Tournament. The bad news is playing their best game in weeks against the worst Kentucky team in years Creighton again proved they did not belong in the big time.
The fact that their fans, lead by the late Matt Perrault tried to spin that this proved that they did is both laughable and absurd. Creighton was the #1 seed in their bracket. Kentucky was 4th. Creighton was playing at home. Creighton was favored! If Creighton was going to present their case and the case for all mid majors, that the system is unfair to them then they get an A for effort but an F. for execution. When presented with a home game against a name program that probably doesn't care about the game half as much as you do you have to win. Not only do you have to win but you have to win in a somewhat decisive manner. If Creighton were to win 63-62 as it appeared they might or if Woodfox hits that shot at the end, a shot he hits seemingly 90% of the time, they still wouldn't have proven they belonged in the big time. Because this year Kentucky is not big time. So if barely beating an average Kentucky team doesn't prove much what does losing to an Average Kentucky team prove? Jackshit!
Kentucky is not Kentucky at least not the Kentucky that they normally are, and they haven't been for awhile. Just as beating Nebraska or losing a close game to them, especially on the road, in football from 2002 until further notice doesn't mean you are among the nations best football teams anymore or prove that you are among the elite losing to Kentucky at home this year doesn't prove that you were overlooked or under-rated. Creighton played hard and they played well last night you can't take that away from them. Still at the end of the day the only things they proved were...
A. In a power conference they would struggle to win games
B. They should have been a 5 seed in the NIT tournament and not a 1.
C. The NCAA committee got it right.