It feels good to be back utilizing my finger tips to write you utter nonsense about basketball. You have no idea. Since I got back from covering the tournament I've had this gaping hole in my heart that has ached to be filled with more hoops, more squeaks of the shoes, more charges absorbed by TOBY! Hegner.
When Creighton got seeded into the NIT I was like, "Great! More basketball, I'm down." Yet after watching the first five minutes of their opening round game against Alabama, I became wary of my lust for more hoop ball. Both teams came out as if they'd been pounding PBR tallboys before the game. Both teams combined for 10 turnovers in the first ten minutes; that's right, we were witnessing a basketball game that gave us a turnover a minute. It was awful.
Creighton's freshman standout Khyri Thomas seemed to take the reins of the offense for some reason, probably for some odd experimentation performed by Greg McDermott. What resulted was some empty possessions but good looks at the potential back up two guard for the Jays next year (if he doesn't redshirt). The pace of the offense was awful. It was like driving a car high on LSD for the first time; you know you shouldn't be doing it, but the bear riding the unicycle while playing a banjo told you it was all good.
Meanwhile, Alabama looked like a D-II team that Creighton would normally play in the preseason. Their half-hearted attempts to drive to the basket were met with a complete inability to finish, sometimes just throwing the ball haphazardly at the hoop and hoping for the best. On one play, their shooting guard Arthur Edwards was wide open for a shot, jumped in the air in a shooting motion, and came down without releasing the ball. It was a complete lapse in judgment, something I've only seen done on my xbox after holding the 'X' button too long.
Soon, the game devolved into a cacophony of terrible calls by the referees. The boos from the crowd echoed moreso than ever before, as the crowd of ~12k folks were truly able to get their point across. There's no doubt that this was a crowd full of true basketball fans - not an event to attend or a corporate outing, but a real honest to God basketball crowd. And boy, they were getting awfully upset as the game wore on. The mis-calls and poor play made this game nearly unwatchable.
Slowly but surely, Creighton began to pull away. Ronnie Harrell decided to do what he does best; hit three pointers against inferior, weak teams that have no chance against the Bluejays. From there it was sort of a slow build to a disappointing climax with Creighton forcing turnovers and making the Crimson Tide look foolish.
I have no idea what Alabama wants out of this game. It looks like they aren't playing very hard or very smart; is that just a reflection of what SEC basketball is like? Or is there a deeper issue here where they don't think the NIT is worth playing for? If the Akron-Ohio State is any indication on how teams are approaching the tournament, Creighton might have a good time playing in this one.