NEW ORLEANS, La. - Many of the Creighton basketball players said they had watched film on Nevada, and even seen the Wolf Pack on television.
Creighton reserve guard Nick Bahe probably knows many of the Nevada players better because he's seen many of them up close and personal.
Bahe was a member of the Kansas Jayhawk team that came to Nevada in 2003 and was upset 75-61 by the then Kirk Snyder-led Wolf Pack.
"It's weird," Bahe said. "I played against a lot of these guys their freshman or sophomore year, and now I'm playing against them here."
Bahe may be the most well-spoken Bluejay, and it's no surprise that he's leaning toward a career in sports journalism. He is smart, however, and leaning toward the broadcast end of things and not the print side of things.
"The passion, the pressure," Bahe said, going into an announcer's monologue. "It would be great to go back and be a college basketball broadcaster, and break down the games.
"I come from a long line of basketball coaches. My grandpa was a coach, my uncle was a coach and my brother was a coach. We always talk basketball."
Bahe started the Bluejays' first two games at point guard before moving to the bench. He plays 15 minutes a contest, averaging 3.1 points and 1.6 rebounds a game. His best games were a 15-point effort against Drake and an 8-point effort against Indiana State in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
He's much happier as a Bluejay than he ever was as a walk-on with the vaunted Jayhawks. It was with Kansas, however, that he had a little joke played on him.
Bahe grew up in Lincoln, Neb., and when he returned to NU with the Jayhawks, the student section had a little surprise for him.
After the starting line-ups were introduced, Bahe went back to the bench and noticed there was a sheet of paper on his chair.
"I flipped it over and it said, 'Seat reserved for Nick Bahe," said Bahe, whose father and uncle both played at NU. "The whole rooting section was laughing at me. I thought it was pretty good (gag)."
ALTMAN, FOX CONNECTION
We have already chronicled the friendship of Nevada coach Mark Fox and Creighton coach Dana Altman.
Both went to Eastern New Mexico and both coached at Kansas State. In fact, Altman was the head coach before Fox started coaching there.
Altman said that he and Fox had not spoken as of Thursday morning.
"He left me a nice message and said he'd see me here," Altman said. "You know there's no conversation with the enemies here, but ... no I'm sure we'll talk. He's a good friend and a good coach."
Fox was asked if it was easier or harder to coach against a friend.
"You don't want to compete against friends," Fox said. "Friendship is obviously put aside when the ball goes up. There is a familiarity obviously, but it does make it a little difficult too since you are looking at a friend on the other sideline."
North Texas of the Sun Belt League isn't at all intimidated by having to play Memphis in the first round.
"We just have to play," said North Texas guard Calvin Watson. "I like the media. I like to talk. I like the cameras. No getting intimidated, but we know what's at stake.
"We are 21 years old. We have to enjoy the moment. We have got to embrace it. If you don't embrace it, how are you going to share this with your kids one day and family members?"
Arizona guard Mustafa Shakur got his first look at the New Orleans area, which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
"It was a sad thing to look at; to see people going through that situation was tough" Shakur said. "It is good to see families and communities coming together and moving on with their lives. It's also a good thing to see how the city has come back together."
•Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or 881-1281