Remarks from Mark
April 1, 2021
I'm feeling a bit blue this week about the state of NCAA Division I men's college basketball in Nebraska.
The fifth-seeded Creighton Bluejays lost, 83-65, to the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs on Sunday in the sweet 16 of the 2021 NCAA tournament.
That means the Bulldogs march on in the national championship competition while the Bluejays fly home, disappointed, from Indiana.
Creighton was the only team from the state of Nebraska in the men's NCAA tournament this year – as the Bluejays usually are.
Neither the Nebraska Cornhuskers nor the Omaha Mavericks qualified for the 68-team competition this year.
Out of the three Division I programs in the state, Creighton has had the most success in the men's NCAA tournament by far.
The Bluejays have an all-time record of 14-23 in the competition after earning a trip to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 47 years.
The Cornhuskers are the only major college program to have never won a game in the men's NCAA tournament, which is madness to me.
Nebraska has a Big Red embarrassing 0-7 all-time record in college basketball's top postseason party, which began in 1939.
The Cornhuskers have made appearances in the men's NCAA tournament in 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998 and 2014.
The Mavericks have only been a Division I program since 2011, but they have never had their ticket punched to the big dance.
Even though I'm a Nebraska fan first, I cheer for Creighton and Omaha, too, to have success because I take pride in the Cornhusker state being represented well nationally.
Head coach Greg McDermott and the 22-9 Bluejays had a good season in men's basketball and made history by reaching the NCAA regional semifinals for the first time since 1974.
I've said this before, but my parents, Tim and Judy, are Creighton fans and graduates. They visited Hazel, Christina and me this past weekend in Bloomfield.
My dad bought himself and me matching Bluejays T-shirts that marked Creighton's historic appearance in the Sweet 16 this year.
While watching the men's NCAA tournament, I realized there were two other teams with Creighton connections that made it as far as the Bluejays did this year.
Former Creighton coach and Nebraska native Dana Altman led the Oregon Ducks back to the NCAA regional semifinals in 2021.
Altman, who was born in Crete, was Creighton's head coach for 16 seasons and left the Bluejays in 2010 as their all-time winningest coach.
However, Altman has been more successful in postseason play as the Ducks' head coach than he ever was at Creighton, which he left to go coach at Oregon.
The seventh-seeded Ducks' season ended when they lost to the sixth-seeded Southern California Trojans, 82-68, on Sunday.
Former Bluejays player and Loyola Chicago head coach, Porter Moser ,helped the Ramblers return to the Sweet 16 this year.
Moser was a two-year starter as a player at Creighton and helped the Bluejays to the 1989 Missouri Valley Conference title and a NCAA tournament berth.
The Naperville, Illinois, native began his coaching career in 1990-91 as a graduate assistant coach at Creighton before working at various universities across the Midwest and South.
Moser has been Loyola Chicago's head coach since 2011 and led the Ramblers to the Final Four in the 2018 men's NCAA tournament.
Eighth-seeded Loyola Chicago lost, 65-58, to the 12th-seeded Oregon State Beavers on Saturday, so its chase for a national championship is over for this season.
The losses by Creighton, Oregon and Loyola Chicago leave me without a team to really want to root for, but I'll still watch the rest of the postseason play.
I just wish a Division I college basketball team from the state of Nebraska would win a national championship in the men's NCAA tournament.
Creighton is the closest program to making that happen, though I would love it even more if the Cornhuskers would do that.
First, however, I'll just take Nebraska making history and actually winning a single game in the men's NCAA tournament. Is that too much to ask?
Anyway, enough about college basketball – have fun on April Fools' Day, but don't be too mean, and have a "hoppy" and "eggs-cellent" Easter.