President Obama will deliver his first State of the Union address on Wednesday, meanwhile Doc Sadler will be addressing the state of Nebraska basketball in some stinky locker room at the Coors Center. One gets the feeling that this season is just about lost, and this Wednesday's game might seal the deal if we lose. If there is one thing about this Nebraska basketball team, it's that they are consistent. The Husker men did on Saturday evening, what they've been doing all season in the Big 12 conference. Whether it's a slow start (Missouri), or jumping out of the gates on fire (Kansas), the common denominator so far in conference play has been losing their grip down the stretch. Losing their grip, and losing the games.
Is it any wonder that all eyes are on the Cornhusker women? I was asked by a fan Saturday in Omaha, if I thought the Husker women could hang with the mens team. That fan and I both chuckled, after which we both paused for an awkward moment while actually considering that sad notion. (The women are good, but not that good) The mood for men's BBall is terrible right now in the Big "O"...and that was at a sportsbar! After coming within one point of tying the game with only 8-9 minutes left in Columbia, our boys in red proceeded to unbolt each and every wheel from the Big Red machine on it's way to a 17 point thrashing. One minute Tiger fans are booing their own team (a sound we can't get enough of), and the next minute our heads are spinning wondering how we will ever win in this meat grinder of a conference.
As I'm browsing the media's take on Nebraska, I do not share the optimistic outlook of a potential 7-9 conference record after sweeping the remaining home games. One win at home is all I can/will expect, and the same goes for our remaining road games. It would be a much different story, if the Huskers had closed Kansas out when they should have. Or if the Big Red had held on against Iowa State or Missouri. These guys have skills, they just don't have the wisdom. Too much inexperience is leading to untimely turnovers, poor rebounding, and missed layups putting the Huskers in holes that they cannot climb out of. One media viewpoint that I do agree with, is that the freshman on this team have a great shot at winning a lot of games down the road. The play on Saturday by Ray Gallegos was sort of a silver lining to say the least. This could be a potent group in a few years with Ubel, Diaz, Jones, and Standhardinger rounding out the 5. Now...we just need to keep OUR German player from jumping ship and heading back to the "Fatherland". Why would anyone play there anyway? Hairy cheerleaders, men in short shorts, techno music, and spaetzle at the snack bars? No thanks.... (More after the jump)
Cheerleaders and Huskers winning games. Fun to think about! ....but as they said in Spaceballs,"We're at now, now. Everything that you see now, is happening now!"
Which brings us to Colorado. Nebraska's second straight road game, and in my opinion one of only a few real chances left for the 0-4 Huskers to win a conference game. Colorado comes in at 1-4 in league play, with their only win at home against Baylor. Two teams in the Big 12 cellar, playing in arguably the worst conference atmosphere for college hoops. Awesome. Reminds me of "Bum Fights". (Actually, the only real bum here is CU fan. Skiing is NOT a real job.)
The Buffs are sporting a decent offense, with 3 players averaging double figures and a 4th just barely under ten per game. Leading the Buffs is #11 Cory Higgins. The junior guard blasted Kansas State with 30 points a few weeks back, and almost sparked an upset over the Wildcats. Nebraska will have to keep Higgins - as well as the rest of the Colorado offense - in check, as they are averaging about 76 points per game. My guess is that inexperience and sloppy play have hindered this team, much as it has Nebraska. Without a real home court advantage, limiting mistakes and making shots is critical for Colorado against the snotty Nebraska defense.
The Huskers looked juiced a little bit during the first 30 minutes against Mizzou, which was a breath of fresh freakin air. I was surprised to see freshman Ray Gallegos playing the way he did on the road, and hopefully Doc uses this kid more often. Diaz needs to produce, but what can you say about a guy who weighs all of 120 lbs? Ryan Anderson was missing as well, with only 5 points to add with Diaz's two points. The Huskers will need to step up the scoring, no excuses. They can't win with numbers like that, even with the leagues best defense. Doc states that certain guys have no restrictions on shooting, and others do. I say let them all loose and see what happens. What can we lose? 4 of the next 6 games come against top 15 teams, so we may as well start putting it all out there now.
We'll see if Doc has any more tricks up his sleeve. The season is slipping fast, but Colorado is a very winnable game. I'm predicting the win, because basements belong to Buffaloes. Go Big Red! Nebraska 72 Colorado 65
Tipoff: Wednesday, January 27th @ 9PM CST
Venue: Coors Event Center - Boulder, CO (Gag!)
Radio: IMG Husker Sports Network (Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison)
Television: FSN Rocky Mountain, (Live in Colorado, tape delay in Nebraska)
Internet: Stats and free radio at www.Huskers.com