OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – What did it take to eliminate both Creighton basketball teams? The answer, a Final Four team. It was a given last night at the Greensboro Regional Finals where the winner advanced to the National Semi-Finals, but on the men’s side, Kansas also qualified for the Final Four.
Nobody challenged the Jayhawks like Creighton in that NCAA tournament, remember the Jays had the ball in under a minute. Providence led with five minutes left in the Sweet 16, but there was no doubt about it down the stretch.
Jim Flanery’s crew were seeded at ten and at draft Sunday no one had a problem with that. Sitting here today knowing that they are only the second ten seeds to reach a regional final, they have clearly surpassed the top seed. It’s also important to consider that teams are ranked by their resume, not by how deep the committee thinks they’ll go.
Creighton won games against teams from the PAC-12, Big Ten and Big 12 advancing to the Elite Eight. The Jays played for each other and stayed to themselves, executing their offense which can be a challenge to defend. There are plenty of good teams that don’t make it into the second weekend of the tournament, let alone win a game in the second weekend. A place in the Elite Eight is in itself a great achievement for every team in the country.
The Jays have shown how selfless basketball is not only fun to watch, but somehow breeds a chemistry that leads to more success.
Jim Flanery said: “I think it’s not just the way we play on the pitch. It’s who we are off the pitch. And I know those two things intertwine and influence each other, and I think the love our players have for each other helps us become a better basketball team. And then when you feel the joy of success as a basketball team, it binds you off the court.
The weekend before we watched something similar in Fort Worth. Not only the trust the Jays had in each other when they came back against San Diego State when most thought it was over, but the performance against what is now a Final Four team without not one, but two starters. With Ryan Kalkbrenner and Ryan Nembhard supporting the team with a set of crutches and an arm in a sling, Creighton put himself in position to win in the last minute. No one else has done this against the Jayhawks yet and if it does, it will be in the Final Four. It is an excellent complement.
Even if only one team ends the NCAA Tournament celebrating a win, there can be big accomplishments along the way for the others, which we’ve seen over the past two weeks watching Creighton’s basketball.
Copyright 2022 WOWT. All rights reserved.