Good matchup here for the girls.
ISU rolls the Ronald McDonald bus into Lincoln for a top15 battle between #13 ranked Iowa State, and our #3 ranked Cornhuskers. These games, or more importantly winning these games, is why I like Nebraskas chances at drilling deep into the post-season tourney. Playing, and destroying, more and more ranked opponents will serve the ladies well as they approach a possible showdown with either Stanford or Conneticut at the end of the season. (Knock, knock) That's me rapping my knuckles on the kitchen table, as I continue to pimp these girls and their magical season. I just love the passion and character they play with. Whether up by 30, or down by 8 late in the game, they find a way to come out on top.
On the flip-side, the Huskers have faced five ranked opponents compared to Conneticuts nine. Both teams will add two more to that list by the end of the regular season, with both the Huskers and Huskies likely to be undefeated.
(more after jump...)
There are two ways you can look at Nebraskas most recent four point win over Missouri. The ladies were in trouble late, and the game was decided in the final minute or so. Was a kink in the Big Red armor exposed? Or did we simply have that game, late in the season, where the wear and tear is starting to show?
Here's my take:
You have a team that is experiencing what will probably end up as the most succesfull womens basketball season on the books. Barring a winless final stretch, the ladies will set new records for total wins, conference wins, and longest winning streak in a season. Late in the year, things in conference are rolling along, and a team like Missouri can easily sneak up on you and take advantage of the monotony of winning. I was impressed by the win in Columbia, not simply because we won....but because we reached down deep and overcame that possible letdown. The Tigers were ready to play, and their record was obviously not a great indication of how good they really are(or should I say can be). Granted, they hit something like 90% from the field during a stretch of the second half, and that's hard to overcome no matter who you are.
Basketball is a game of rhythm and timing. Not only during individual games, but during the course of a season. The Huskers struggled a bit with Kansas, and then with Mizzou, and I think they were just facing that "rest" period that their bodies need a bit. Coach Yori has worked things in the right direction thus far, and I think that she will have the ladies fresh and ready for the NCAA tournament.
Recently, college hoops experts have forcasted Nebraska as the #1 seed in the Memphis region of the NCAA Tournament. I was hoping that maybe they would end up playing the first round in Ames, IA...which would basically be a home game. No such luck, but hey..no complaints about a #1 seed from me. Still, the ladies have a long way to go, as they face both Missouri and Kansas again, as well as #11 Oklahoma, and tonights game with #13 ISU.
Iowa State is reportedly coming in as the Big 12's hottest team. (Until I see photos, I'll wait on that judgement). The Cyclones have reached their higest ranking so far this season at #13, while leading the nation in 3-point percentage. This will be key to their efforts in Lincoln. Missouri had success with the long-ball, which kept them in the game until the very end. ISU has dropped 5 of the last 6 meetings in Lincoln, and with the 4 days of rest...I think the Huskers will leave Iowas State out in the cold.
Still, this could be a tough game. If Kelsey Griffin shows up yet again with a dominating performance, I will be sold on her as National Player of the Year. ( As if I wasn't already ). Solid efforts from Yvonne Turner and newly emerging freshman Lindsey moore, along with Griffin's usual display, should be enough to topple the clowns tonight.
Tipoff: 7:05pm CST
Venue: Bob Devaney Sports Center - Lincoln, NE
Radio: Husker Sports Network (98.1 FM - Lincoln, 93.3 Fm - Omaha, 880 Am -Lexington)
Internet Stats/Radio: www.Huskers.com
Preview/Game Thread: www.CornNation.com