Bruce Rasmussen, and the Nebraska men's basketball team, would both seem to be in unique positions as the Huskers continue their work to build a case for inclusion in the NCAA Tournament.
Nebraska, with four wins in a row and six in its last seven games, continues to inch further into the discussion of bubble teams with Selection Sunday still more than a month away.
And they do it knowing that, an hour up the road, the guy in charge of the NCAA Division I selection committee is very familiar with the product Nebraska puts on the floor.
"I think I speak for the entire committee in saying that you do get a different perspective when you see a game in person as opposed to seeing one on television or digitally," Rasmussen said Wednesday during a conference call with national media.
Rasmussen, of course, has a full-time job as the athletic director at Creighton. He had a front-row seat for the Bluejays' 75-65 win over Nebraska on Dec. 9 in Omaha that went down to the final minute.
One week later, he was in Lincoln chatting up Kansas coach Bill Self before the Jayhawks hit a late three-pointer to edge the Huskers 73-72 for NU's only home loss this season.
So, yes, he's familiar with the team that, by most accounts, still has some heavy lifting to do to go dancing.
"I"m a fan of coach Tim Miles, and I've had an opportunity to see Nebraska play a number of times. They certainly are playing very well with what they have, and they will be in the discussion," Rasmussen said. "We certainly have a large number of games yet to play, Nebraska has some key games yet to play, and not only will their discussion be impacted by how they do, it will certainly be impacted by those that they will be compared to and how they do."
Should the Huskers continue to win, they could have an unlikely ally in Rasmussen when it comes time to discuss if and where they belong in the bracket on Selection Sunday (March 11). That's where passing the "eye test," so to speak — even if it figures only partly into the committee's decisions — could play a pivotal role.
"The committee does get out and see games that are in their area. We don't ask them to travel all the way round to watch games, but we encourage them, when possible, to watch teams," Rasumussen said. "Especially teams in the conferences that they are directly overseeing."
Nebraska has, at minimum, six more games to impress the selection committee, and the path seems fairly straightforward: win enough over its last five regular-season contests plus however many games it plays in the Big Ten tournament, and the résumé becomes too good to leave out.
With a lack of high-profile wins thanks in part to those close calls Rasmussen was witness to early in the season, that appears to be the Huskers' best chance.
"It doesn't make any difference in what time of the year you played those games. They're all looked at with the same degree of importance," Rasmussen said. "You look at the entire body of work, and we certainly will recognize the quality of play in November and December in addition to what happens in January in February."