All six of the local men’s and women’s teams made jumps in this week’s NET rankings, a key tool used by the NCAA to determine tournament eligibility.
The NET rankings on the morning of Dec. 26:
The NCAA uses the NET as a tool to help determine the top teams for seeding and inclusion in the NCAA tournament. One part of the NET system breaks games down into four quadrants, with Quadrant 1 wins being the best and Quadrant 4 victories being the worst. NET rankings are to some degree affected by a team’s opponents. UNO teams are almost always eventually destined to have lower NET rankings because of their peers in the Summit League, while Nebraska benefits from its higher-rated peers in the Big Ten.
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Creighton’s men (8-6) are 1-4 in Quadrant 1. They beat one top-30 NET team at a neutral site (Arkansas). CU is 2-0 in Quadrant 2, 2-2 in Quadrant 3 (losses to BYU and Nebraska) and 3-0 in Quadrant 4. CU was No. 41 last week before wins over Butler and DePaul.
Nebraska’s men (7-6) are 1-5 in Quadrant 1 – the road win over Creighton – 0-1 in Quadrant 2 1-0 in Quadrant 3, and 5-0 in Quadrant 4. The only Quad 4 games left on NU’s schedule appear to be two games against Minnesota, although the Gophers’ NET may change by Jan. 7. NU was No. 81 last week.
Omaha’s men (4-8) are 0-8 in Quadrants 1, 2 and 3 combined, and 4-0 in Quadrant 4, with wins over Idaho, Louisiana-Monroe, Southern and Denver.
The Bluejay women (8-3) are 3-2 in Quadrant 1 – wins over Nebraska and at South Dakota State and Villanova – 2-1 in Quadrant 2, 1-0 in Quadrant 3 and 2-0 in Quadrant 4. CU moved up in the NET rankings despite a loss at Stanford – ranked third in NET – last Tuesday. Creighton may move up further regardless of whether or not it beats Connecticut on Wednesday.
The Husker women (10-3) are 3-3 in Quadrant 1 – a home win over Kansas, a neutral site win against Mississippi State and a road win at Maryland – 2-0 in Quadrant 3 and 5-0 in Quadrant 4.
The Omaha women (5-6) are 0-3 in Quadrant 1 – losses to Nebraska, Creighton and Missouri – 2-1 in Quadrant 3 and 1-2 in Quadrant 4. The Mavericks’ wins over Peru State and College of Saint Mary are not recognized by the NET rankings.
Of the six teams, the Creighton and Nebraska women are projected safely into the NCAA Tournament. As of Dec. 20, the Bluejay and Husker women are projected as a 7 seed by ESPN. Nebraska’s Wednesday night opponent, Michigan, is projected as a No. 5 seed. UConn, which plays Wednesday night at CU, is projected as a No. 3 seed.
As of Dec. 21, the CU men were not projected to be in the NCAA Tournament according to Bracket Matrix, which makes an average based on dozens of projections. The Bracket Matrix compilation had Creighton as the first team out, effectively, based on the number of brackets on which the team appeared. ESPN has the Bluejays as the “last team in” – and a No. 11 seed – as of Dec. 20. Since the return of CU center Ryan Kalkbrenner, the Jays have won two straight games by double digits.
Neither the Nebraska men nor either of the UNO teams are projected into the NCAA tournament.
NET rankings by conference
Big Ten women: 4 Indiana; 9 Ohio State; 15 Iowa; 20 Michigan; 27 Illinois; 28 Maryland; 31 Nebraska; 33 Michigan State; 39 Purdue; 58 Penn State; 101 Minnesota; 108 Northwestern; 140 Wisconsin; 220 Rutgers.
Big East women: 5 Connecticut; 17 Villanova; 18 Creighton; 42 Marquette; 53 St. John’s; 59 Seton Hall; 67 DePaul; 99 Georgetown; 136 Butler; 151 Providence; 165 Xavier.
Summit women: 57 South Dakota State; 147 North Dakota; 158 North Dakota State; 188 South Dakota; 212 Saint Thomas; 228 Oral Roberts; 271 Denver; 272 UNO; 300 UMKC; 305 Western Illinois
Big Ten men: 4 Purdue; 15 Ohio State; 21 Indiana; 23 Maryland; 29 Rutgers; 39 Northwestern; 44 Illinois; 49 Penn State; 50 Wisconsin; 58 Iowa; 68 Michigan State; 76 Nebraska; 80 Michigan; 249 Minnesota
Big East men: 1 Connecticut; 34 Creighton; 35 Xavier; 37 Marquette; 67 Butler; 75 Providence; 89 St. John’s; 91 Seton Hall; 98 Villanova; 176 DePaul; 230 Georgetown
Summit men: 54 Oral Roberts; 143 Saint Thomas; 214 South Dakota State; 225 Western Illinois; 234 Denver; ; 269 Omaha; 270 UMKC; 279 North Dakota; 305 North Dakota State; 320 South Dakota