Saturday brings another chance for Lincoln-ites, and Husker fans everywhere, to catch a two-for one at The Devaney Center. Again, the fans will be given a free Ladies ticket for each Men's ticket purchased. I still don't get that logic, and it's gets more and more ironic as the men keep losing.
I wish I could get to Lincoln this weekend, because I'd love to catch these women during their unprecedented streak of wins. The men would be fun for me as well, as I will always love watching basketball in person, especially Nebraska basketball, regardless of their record. The ladies are coming off their Big 12 regular season championship win over Oklahoma, and the men are still trying to figure out how they lost at ISU.
Doc, if you are an avid Corn Nation reader, which I know you are, then I have a few observations that might help..
(more after jump..)
Just a "quick" recap of the ISU game here, as I was finally able to see first hand what the Huskers do on the court. (Many thanks to my buddy CyKid for the free ticket!)
Fundamentals are solid on defense. Plain and simple. These guys were a victim of some bad second-half coaching against Iowa State, a fact that left me wondering if this hasn't been the case all year. Nebraska seemed to have all of their chess pieces in the right spots, which effectively wiped out the athletic advantage held by the Cyclones. Doc didn't change his coaching plan in the second half, but ISU's Coach McDermott certainly changed his. Once Craig Brackins was given the green light to start floating around the floor rather than taking the ball in the post, things changed a bit (See massive high-flying alley oop dunk by Craig Brackins)
Our fundamentals couldn't do much to stop a guy slashing through the defense. Switching to a 2-3 zone defense in the second half would have stopped a lot of the tresspassing under our basket, even if opening up the 3-pointer to their guards. But again, a fundamentally sound perimeter defense would have been okay at stopping their one guy, Christopherson, who was hitting shots from the outside. Who knows, but I'd rather take my chances with a guy like Diante Garrett hitting 3's versus Brackins doing whatever he wanted.
Standhardinger should take ballet classes. Seriously. The guy has solid skills, tons of energy, and has the body to hang with the big boys of the Big 12. But he needs to work on his footwork. Christian took several travelling calls, and lost a few chances to add to his game high 25 points because of sloppy footwork. Get this guy into some dance classes Doc, I'm sure he would get acedemic credit for them.
Overall, I was actually very content with the way we played. I really think that as Doc gets to know these guys, and they grow up a bit, we will win our fair share of games. Again, we've been in most of them this year, even against Kansas and KSU, so we aren't that far off. ISU fans were disgusted that they were even close against the "pathetic" Huskers, and they lose at least two impact players next year with nobody to replace them. We should be in much better shape as we get Tony McCray back, so I'm not too worried. (Oh yeah, and Cyclones..we have hotter cheerleaders, so there!)
On to today's games:
Texas Tech comes into Lincoln for a 3pm matchup with the Big Red. Not much to say about the Red Raiders, except that they've won justa few more games than we have. At 4-9 in the league, the season has been anything but exciting for this team. Their bigest win would likely be against Oklahoma State, as the other wins came against Oklahoma and Iowa State. Texas Tech has a big advantage when comparing strength of schedule, with the 8th toughest in the country, versus Nebraskas at #56. This matters very little at this point in the season, as both teams would need to run the table in the conference tournament to have any chance of making the post-season tournament.
Nebraska will need to slow this game down, and get back to it's defensive gameplan that was going so well early in the season. Doc Sadler has been focusing more on scoring points as of late, and as a result the Huskers are now 5th in scoring defense falling from the top spot. (The upside being that we had 2 guys post 20+ points against ISU) This pisses me off a bit, simply because defense was the only thing we did better than anyone else in the league.
The scoring margins for these two teams are -10.2 (NU) and -8 (TT), so the team that plays better defense should win this one. I'm feeling that Sek Henry is due for a big game at some point. Anyone think it's ironic that Henry hasn't had a hige game yet, and we've had just one win in the league? Senior leadership anyone?
The ladies could easily fall victim to a bit of laziness and complacency now that they've wrapped up the conference. That would be if they were not playing the worst team in the league. The 7:05pm tipoff will see the Lady-Huskers try to continue their magical un-beaten streak, and improve to 27-0 on the season. A semi-large weight was lifted from the collective shoulders of Husker fans, when the gals took home the Big 12 title in Norman Wednesday night. This may or may not be a concern, as there is a chance now to rest some of the players and prepare for the conference tournament. Not sure what Coach Yori will do, especially since that would risk an undefeated season...something the Huskers have never attained.
This will be an interesting game. The streak is still on the line, yet we have players that could use some rest before the post-season. And remember the part where I said that Missouri is the worst team in the league? Well, that didn't seem to matter when the Huskers travelled to Columbia, MO back on Feb. 14th. The Huskers were pushed to the edge in that game, before Kelsey Griffin stepped on the Tigers throats for good and sealing a 4 point win. Will Yori rest Griffin and Turner a bit, in preparations for the conference tournament? Or does she step on the gas, and put a whoopin' on Mizzou while making a statement to teams like Uconn?
Lots of ways to look at this game, and lots of reasons to still watch the girls. Like I said, I wish I was in Lincoln today. Could be a double-winner.
Tipoff: (M) 3pm CST - (W) 7:05pm CST
Venue: (Both) Bob Devaney Sports Center - Lincoln, NE
Television: (M) Big 12 Network, ESPN Fullcourt - (W) None
Radio: IMG Husker Sports Network
Internet Radio/Stats: www.Huskers.com
Live game thread: www.CornNation.com