It happens all the time.
Media folks and college basketball fans calling Creighton a mid-major school.
Most times I just laugh, knowing the Bluejays place in the BIG EAST, but other times it enrages me so much that I think about responding to tweets from internet users who call Creighton a mid-major. Then I remember all the progress I’ve made and decide not to. Self-control keeps me out of trouble. My imaginary psychiatrist can attest to that. Go ahead and ask her.
This is a phenomenon that I don’t quite understand. As you may know, the Denver Nuggets are utilizing Creighton’s championship facilities for their training camp, and a Denver writer tweeted this:
I wonder what Nuggets players think when they travel to Nebraska for training camp and a mid-major college's facilities put theirs to shame.— Harrison Wind (@NBAWind) September 27, 2016
Ah, geez, oh man. I mean, I get it. Mr. Wind probably isn’t up to date on the goings on in college basketball since he’s a NBA guy, but the fact that the Nuggets drafted Doug McDermott a few years back probably means he did some semblance of research into where he played, right? Maybe I’m giving him too much credit.
So, why does this happen?
It might have something to do with Creighton’s history in the Missouri Valley, where they took on the likes of Evansville, The Salukis of Carbondale, Drake (the university), and Bradley (the university).
Winning the Mo Valley got you into the dance, and if it was a good year, one or two - sometimes three - other Valley schools would join them. With sustained success a lot of folks considered the Valley to be an ‘elite mid-major’ conference, much like the A-10, West Coast Conference, or Mountain West. Certainly not ‘Power-5’ in terms of money and television viewers (aka money), but certainly not on the same plane of existence as the SWAC or NEC. A step above.
It’d be easy to assume that, since Creighton was a top tier school in the Valley, that they’d be easily recognized as a quasi-Power 5 team when they joined the BIG EAST and would shake that mid-major title, but that hasn’t happened. Not yet, at least.
It might have something to do with their location, or their perceived location.
Omaha isn’t New York, Chicago, D.C or Philly, and other than the fact that it’s the amateur/semi-pro sports event capital of the United States, it isn’t known for much more than cuts of meat and a Denver Broncos offensive audible. There isn’t glitz and glamour, it isn’t a hub for entertainment; there’s just regular people doing regular things that enjoy where they’re at.
There’s no question that there’s a little teeny tiny bit of an inferiority complex that comes with growing up in Nebraska, maybe a little bit more so in Omaha. I lived in a big city with lots of people for two years and had trouble explaining the metropolitan feel yet small city appeal Omaha has to offer. A lot of folks wrote it off as some tumbleweed-riddled town, with a friend of mine occasionally asking me, “What is there to do there? How did you not get insatiably bored?” What is there to do? I just walked down Dodge street at 6pm around midtown and encountered a crazy guy asking for money at a bus stop.
“Hey you!” he yelled as I waited for the signal, “You got 40 cents?”
“Nah man, I don’t have any cash.”
“Oh, oh, oh ok,” he yelled as he slowly let down his guard. “Wow that feels amazing, yes,” he sighs as he stretches his legs out while sitting down on the bus bench.
It was wonderful, because it made me feel like I was a nobody in a bustling urban metropolis!
Omaha has its sprawling suburbs stretching for miles. It has distinct neighborhoods for 20-somethings to run amok, to drink, to listen to live music, to catch an indie flick, to share in the angst of being 20-somethings in Omaha. Omaha is the like the tutorial map you’re given in SimCity where everything is already established and you can build and improve as you like. It’s a city with some charm, a city that wants to be more, so it relies on amateur sporting events and die-hard fandom to thrust itself onto the national stage. The Bluejay faithful is damn proud of the fact that it ranks in the top-10 in national attendance every year.
It might be the lack of big name recruits coming to Creighton.
Well, this was true for a while when the Bluejays were entrenched in recruiting battles with other Valley schools. It isn’t true anymore. Gaining all the advantages the BIG EAST can offer only leads to an increased ability to recruit. Creighton has a lot of tools at their disposal to sell recruits that mid-majors most certainly don’t have.
It also helps that the city of Omaha has experienced a revival in basketball greatness at the high school level. Players like Justin Patton, Akoy Agau, and Khyri Thomas (to name a few) are examples of the recent uptick in competitiveness and overall quality of players the city can offer, much like the early 80’s when Ron Kellogg Jr., Kerry Trotter, and Dave Hoppen owned the high school ranks.
The Jays got both Kobe Paras and a commit from Mitchell Ballock - much to the chagrin of UCLA and Kansas. Those two steals alone... that doesn’t happen at a mid-major you goofballs!
It might have something to do with a lack of ‘big wins’ or NCAA Tournament prowess.
If this were the case, then Nebraska would be considered a mid-major. Northwestern would be a mid-major. Vanderbilt would be a mid-major. Clemson would be a mid-major. No one refers to them as such, but because they play in ‘Power-5’ conferences, they get a pass. Yet, the BIG EAST routinely finishes in the top 4 of conference RPI.
Also, the most recent National Champion is from the BIG EAST conference! Did you know that? I didn’t until just now. Glad we got to learn something together.
Don’t get me wrong, Creighton has had their troubles attempting to get past the second round, but that doesn’t automatically dismiss the fact that they play in one of the top conferences in college basketball.
It might be ignorance or the knowing that calling Creighton a mid-major will poke the bear.
Some people might not possess an intimate knowledge of college basketball, which means a school like Creighton might fall off their radar. That’s fine, the BIG EAST is rich in basketball tradition and plays their conference championship at Madison Square Garden! That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?
Here are five tweets that include ‘Creighton’ and ‘Mid-major’ in the text!
Love Kobe Paras going to Creighton. Going to a mid-major should allow Kobe to get into gear quicker. Great tradition and fanbase too!— JC Sarinas (@JC_2594) July 18, 2016
"Even tho Creighton is in the Big East, they are a mid-major program that's transitioning to a big conference" @DarnellWrites— ESPN960Sports (@espn960sports) March 22, 2016
No one should be surprised ESPN called Creighton a mid-major. They are very anti-BIG EAST, and they aren't afraid to show it.— Jack Goods (@GoodsOnSports) March 16, 2016
@_boog1 I agree but Creighton is still one of those mid major powers.— BeerViewBBQLegend (@TubingTyler) December 11, 2015
Mid-majors don’t play their conference championships at Madison Square Garden!
tl;dr Creighton used to be a mid-major. They’re no longer a mid-major. Quit calling them a mid-major.
Bluejay fans know Creighton is no longer a mid-major. BIG EAST basketball fans know Creighton is no longer a mid-major. Knowledgeable college basketball fans know Creighton is no longer a mid-major. Why don’t you join the bandwagon, friend?