By: Jacob Padilla
The Madness began on Sunday for the Creighton Bluejays, as they learned their seed, destination and opponent during the 2014 NCAA Tournament Selection Show.
The Jays fell to the Providence Friars in the Big East Tournament Championship game and missed out on the conference's automatic bid, but the Jays had already done more than enough during the regular season to earn an at-large bid.
With that in mind, Creighton hosted a watch party for the selection show so that the team could celebrate with its fans once it learned its fate.
With the team, support staff and hundreds of fans in attendance at D.J. Sokol Arena for the show, and after a bit of waiting as other regions were announced first, Creighton's name finally popped up on screen and applause filled the arena.
The Jays are headed to San Antonio as the No. 3 seed in the West Region to take on the No. 14 seed Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns on Friday.
After getting a tough draw the previous two years, the Jays were finally rewarded for their success with a great seed.
"I think from the previous years, having a 3 seed is certainly an upgrade," senior guard Jahenns Manigat said. "It's just nice to see that they looked at our body of work throughout the year even though we weren't able to win the conference tournament [on Saturday], they still felt that we were a pretty solid team all-around, that we deserved a top seed, and they were nice enough to give us some pretty good weather at that. We're going to enjoy it."
The show wasn't over yet, however, and right after Creighton learned of its opponent the Jays also found out the two teams that will be duking it out on the other side of their bracket, and in a strange twist of fate, one of them is the Jays' neighbor from down the road – Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers are back in the tournament under head coach Tim Miles as a No. 11 seed and will be facing off against a former conference foe in the No. 6 seed Baylor Bears out of the Big 12.
If the Huskers can pull off the upset and the Jays take care of business, fans will get and All-Nebraska Round of 32 match-up in San Antonio, a rematch from Dec. 8 when the Jays won 82-67.
"I think it's just neat for Nebraska basketball overall and Nebraska overall," Manigat said. "In the past years that we've been here we've kind of turned the corner a little bit, and brought our team back to the tournament two years in a row, three years in a row now, and Nebraska's up the road doing the same thing with Coach Miles, who's done a terrific job with those guys that he has over there. It's exciting, just to have that potential match-up is an exciting thing for the state, but we can't look past our match-up and they can't look past theirs. As exciting as it would be to see them in the third round, we've both got tough match-ups ahead of us that we have to prepare for and I'm sure that's going to be their number one focus and it's ours as well."
In addition to the Creighton-Louisiana and Nebraska Baylor match-ups, Iowa State will be traveling to San Antonio as a No. 3 seed to face No. 14 seed North Carolina Central, and No. 6 seed North Carolina will play against No. 11 seed Providence.
Nebraska and Baylor begin the action in San Antonio on Friday at 11:40 p.m., and the Jays will take the court following the conclusion of that game. The games from San Antonio can be seen on TruTV, and Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager will be on hand to call the action.