Coach Keith Dambrot looked especially intense in practice today – with good reason.
The men’s team travels to Omaha, Nebraska tomorrow to face Creighton at 2 p.m. Sunday. The first nationally ranked opponent they’ve taken on since Dec. 15, 2010 when they lost to the Minnesota Golden Gophers 66-58. It’s a huge opportunity for the team to make an early season splash.
“I'm trying to get them going. It's a big ball game.,” Dambrot said.
Creighton, ranked 16th by the Associated Press and 13th in the USA Today Coaches Poll, will represent the Zips stiffest challenge yet.
“We have to disrupt their fluidity on offense. They're very good on offense. We have to be able to get them out of their comfort zone,” Dambrot said.
The defense will certainly have to improve on the 47 percent shooting they gave up to Middle Tennessee Sunday.
Offensively it’s very basic.
“We have to make shots because we're not going to be able to beat them scoring 60. We have to get more than 60,” Dambrot said.
There will also with some members of the Creighton team who remembers a loss to the Zips in the Sears Bracketbusters on Feb. 19, 2011.
Make no mistake about it, winning this game at this point in time would give the team and program a huge lift and some national cred. But Dambrot has the right attitude about it.
“Win or lose we have to win the MAC Tournament. That’s the way I see it,” he said Friday morning.
True. Very true.
But the Zips mantra for this season is “think bigger.” After nearly pulling off wins against Coastal Carolina and Oklahoma State, two overtime losses without Nick Harney and Demetrius Treadwell. They're at full strength now; there’s no time like the present to make that a reality by winning one of the big ones.