Miles Ahead: The Jaysker Debacle

Jaysker (n.): A Husker fan who changes allegiances to Creighton come basketball season.

Jayskers emerge from hibernation once the clock strikes zero on the Nebraska football season. Following the game, this group sheds their red for the illustrious blue of the Creighton Bluejays so they can avoid disappointment for a few months. Ironically, this happens on Black Friday in what is the best advertised deal as a sports fan in Nebraska.

Creighton has always been the more traditional basketball power in Nebraska. Playing second fiddle to football is no easy task, and without a football team, Creighton has poured all its resources into making their school the premier hoops team of the state.

That’s all good and dandy. I respect Creighton for what they’ve accomplished in my hometown. Doesn’t mean I have to like them though.

What bothers me the most about Creighton is the typical Jaysker attitude. They walk around like Creighton is a blue-blood program when they haven’t reached a Sweet 16 since 1974. What’s worse is these fans will talk a ton of smack about Nebraska and scoff at any mention of a basketball team in Lincoln. Wait, weren’t you just cheering for that same university a few months ago?

Here’s a rundown of a normal Creighton season: A few early wins against ranked teams before finishing 3rd or 4th in the conference and getting bounced in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Moderate success compared to similar programs such as Gonzaga and former rival Wichita State.

To be fair, Nebraska basketball hasn’t given Creighton much to be scared of. The Huskers remain the sole power-five team without an NCAA Tournament victory after Northwestern defeated Vanderbilt in the round of 64 last season. Not something to be proud of. It’s seldom remembered that this in-state series was once dominated by the Huskers. It shocked me to learn the all time series is tied at 25 a piece as I’ve been used to Creighton coming out on top in what seems like every year. Since the 1997-98 season, Creighton has won 15 of the last 20 games against the Huskers, including six straight since 2011. I bet those same Jayskers weren’t oh-so-in-love with the Bluejays back when Nebraska was winning basketball games in addition to National Championships in football.

In all honesty, I don’t dislike the Creighton team itself. There have been a few players in recent years I haven’t been fond of such as Grant Gibbs and Doug McDermott, but I actually respect what Greg McDermott has done with the program. His teams play a fun brand of basketball that is entertaining to watch. Since Doug’s departure, he has had good TEAMS rather than one player who shoots 20 times per game and carries the load. I tip my hat to that.

I want what’s best for basketball and this state. Nebraska is playing a game of catch-up, and has been for the past 20 years. Tim Miles’ seat is staying nothing but hot, and if Bill Moos decides to make a move at the end of the season, maybe they’ll be one step closer to evening the odds on the basketball court.  How awesome would it be if Nebraska and Creighton were both regularly making the tournament? It would help the sport and state be recognized as more than a football haven. I will never cheer for Creighton in the regular season, but I can dig deep and find it in me to root for them in the NCAA tournament. Unless it’s against Nebraska of course.

What gripes me is Jayskers. I know there are plenty of good people out there who simultaneously cheer for Nebraska football and Creighton basketball in a respectable manner. That’s perfectly OK. That’s sports. I’m not here to tell you who to and to not like. It’s fine to like two different schools. It’s not fine to talk crap on a school during one season and wear their colors another. Nebraska basketball fans know where we stand. There is no denying the Bluejays have been better in recent years. True me, we know. However, it’s never good to have mixed emotions. Just ask The Rolling Stones.

Key Takeaways:

  • I said it once and I’ll say it again. Jordy Tshimanga is so, so raw. I haven’t seen much improvement from him since last season. He was embarrassingly stuffed by the rim on an open dunk attempt against Michigan State on Sunday. At 6’ 11” that should be a gimme. He also struggled with foul trouble throughout the game. We could really use his presence down low.
  • Nebraska showed it can actually shoot threes against Boston College. In the first half, Evan Taylor came out hot by hitting three complemented by two from McVeigh, and one each from Copeland, Gill, and Watson. Nebraska actually shot better from beyond the arc than the free throw line in the first half…at home. The Huskers are some streaky shooters.
  • Rebounding. With four minutes left in the first half against Michigan State, Nebraska allowed two consecutive offensive rebounds off of free throws. Against Boston College, Tshimanga and Copeland didn’t communicate for a rebound and the ball was tipped out of bounds. Dumb mistakes the Huskers can’t afford.

Results:

  • vs. Boston College: W, 71-62
    • Points: Copeland & Palmer, 15
    • Rebounds: Copeland, 8
    • Assists: Watson, 6
    • Blocks: Okeke, 2
    • Steals: Palmer, 5
  • @ Michigan State: L, 86-57
    • Points: Palmer, 15
    • Rebounds: Roby, 6
    • Assists: Palmer, 3
    • Blocks: Palmer, 1
    • Steals: N/A

Next up (6-3, 0-1 Big Ten):

  • Tuesday December 5: vs. #14 Minnesota. Tipoff at 8pm. Watch on BTN.
  • Saturday December 9: @ Creighton. Tipoff at 1:30pm. Watch on FS1.

Rumor Mill: I’ve heard talks that Tim Miles has no room for error this season. With Miles, we have a Bo Pelini/Mike Riley situation where we can beat average teams (most of the time), but are crushed by top competition. If Miles is fired, Athletic Director Bill Moos will have to make a second head-coach hire after only five months on the job. Supposedly Moos was asked in his AD interview if he was comfortable with firing two-major head coaches in a short period of time. Interesting days to come

*Photo credit to Mike Mulholland – MLive.com*

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