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Dana Altman was 4 years old the last time an Atlantic Coast Conference team made a trip to Omaha to play Creighton in basketball.
That was in 1962, when Clemson visited Civic Auditorium and left an 87-67 loser.
Altman was 12 the last time Miami played in Omaha. An independent in 1970 and now a member of the ACC, the Hurricanes have a visit planned for them Monday when they face Altman's Bluejays in a second-round National Invitation Tournament game at Qwest Center Omaha.
"I'm excited, I think our team will be excited, and I hope the fans will be kind of excited," Altman said. "This is a good opportunity for us because there is no way we're going to get Miami to come in here on a home-and-home.
"You look at our bracket and the other two teams are Michigan and Notre Dame. You have to be excited about the possibility of winning a game and either going to Michigan or having Notre Dame come in here. You can't look ahead, but having those teams in the bracket gives us some opportunities that we just don't get."
Creighton earned its chance to play host to the Hurricanes with Thursday's 71-60 victory over Akron in a NIT first-round game. The contest drew 10,197, the largest crowd of the first 19 games played in this year's NIT.
A victory Monday would move the Bluejays into the third round, where they would play either Michigan of the Big Ten Conference or Notre Dame of the Big East Conference. Michigan is the No. 1 seed in Creighton's portion of the NIT bracket and would play host to a game if it defeats Notre Dame. The Bluejays are the No. 2 seed, and they would lock up another home game if they defeat Miami and Notre Dame knocks off Michigan.
"We're trying to play Notre Dame all the time, and we can't get them to play," Altman said. "Michigan, can't get them to play. We talked to them seriously for awhile and we thought we had them, but we just don't get opportunities to play these kinds of schools.
"Hopefully, our guys will recognize that, and it will be a big game Monday. Miami beat Oklahoma State, and we know that's a good basketball team. This will be a very difficult game for us, but it's a very good opportunity for our team."
Altman and Creighton Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen have long been frustrated in their attempts to schedule home-and-home series with schools from the Big Ten, Big East, Southeastern, Pac 10, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conferences. Other Missouri Valley Conference coaches and administrators say they have experienced similar problems.
"We don't even call a lot of those schools anymore," Northern Iowa coach Greg McDermott said, "because all they do is laugh at us."
Maryland coach Gary Williams, whose team also is playing in the NIT this season, put some buzz into the scheduling talk when he said earlier this month that no Valley team has called asking for games. That led a number of Valley coaches, most notably Missouri State's Barry Hinson, to put Williams' number on speed dial in an attempt to secure a home-and-home with the Terps.
Hinson, whose Bears open NIT action tonight against Stanford, said Williams eventually returned his call and informed him that Maryland would be willing to play Missouri State at a neutral site.
"I told him I wasn't interested," Hinson said, "unless that neutral site was Omaha or St. Louis."
All that puts a kind of he-said, she-said spin on the scheduling debate.
"There's not a lot of ACC teams that want to come here to play us," Creighton center Anthony Tolliver said. "They talk about how we don't want to play them. I think it's the other way around. It's great that we could get an ACC team in here, and then if Notre Dame wins, a Big East team in here."
According to the Creighton news media guide, the Bluejays are 5-9 against teams currently members of the ACC. Creighton's last game against an ACC team came in the 1999 NCAA tournament, where the Bluejays lost to Maryland in the second round.
"This is really exciting for us," Creighton forward Dane Watts said. "We have to try to take advantage of it."
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