Well, here we are folks...the last regular season games of 2009-10. The Big 12 tournament will offer the men at least one more game (hopefully a few more)...but we all know what the chances of that are. For as poor as the Nebraska men's win-loss record is, the season seemed to fly by pretty quickly. Maybe it was that every game seemed to hold a real chance at victory, despite the opponent. Maybe it was because everyone started following the ladies and their uncanny run at greatness. The ladies on the other hand, have a chance at Husker history.
Either way you look at it, it's another Husker basketball season coming to an end. After all the men have been through, I really hope that the Cowboys are napping a bit when Gallagher-Iba Arena gets to tippin the ball. I have been thinking a lot about the fate of these younger guys lately, and what we can or should expect in seasons to come. Call me an optimist, but I think that we have a good chance at staying at or above .500 in the league for the next 2-3 years with this crop of players. The women are living it up while they can. With the largest senior class in history, next season will hold a lot of question marks for these ladies.
(more after jump..)
I'm very excited to continue coverage of both basketball teams moving forward. Although talk of Nebraska Football team will undoubtedly flood the pages here over the summer, I will be quietly planning my basketball coverage for late fall. I hope to include some interviews and articles with Nebraska players, and hopefully coaches if possible. More polls, more interactivity, and more images as I get some of the technology things figured out here on the site. Ideally I'd like to see all of this will be happening on the pages at CornNation, while the Huskers are busy winning on the court. Time will tell.
The ladies breezed through the Wildcats, winning by 15 back in January. These K-State kittens are a depleted bunch dealing with injuries, and even Senior Day in Manhattan won't be enough to overcome the surging Huskers. With a win, Nebraska will become the first team in Big 12 history to complete an undefeated full regular season. The official RPI was released for the women,and Nebraska came in at #4 behind UCONN, Stanford, and Tennessee. I'm fine with that. Just means that we have more to prove.
Kelsey Griffin will follow a similar routine over the next month, as Ndamukong Suh did during his mid-December hardware run. As the season ends, Griffin should be up for several conference as well as national awards for both her play on the court and her commitment to the classroom. Vote here for Kelsey as a finalist for the Lowes Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes student-athletes who use their status as players to make changes in their communities. You can also text W6 to 74567 to vote via your cell phone or mobile device.
Not much else to say here. All eyes will be on these gals next week for the conference tournament, and moving into the NCAA tournament preparations. UCONN and Stanford still hold the top 2 spots above Nebraska, and the ladies play over the next week could determine if they will have a shot at challenging for the National Title.
Looking at the Husker men's last opponent of the season, we have another diffucult team to forecast. While reviewing O-State's play over the last few weeks, it's not only evident that the Cowboys can win big games, but also that the Big 12 conference is probably the best in the country top to bottom. OSU currently sits with an RPI of 27, and this season has beaten #1 Kansas, #6 Kansas State, and #23 Texas A+M. The 'Pokes however, are sitting a notch lower this weekend after getting hammered in their second meeting with Texas A+M on Thursday night. Quite a reality check, just days after their biggest win in years over top-ranked Kansas. On the flip-side, OSU is still in the middle of the pack in the conference...and has had it's own struggles with poor shooting and inconsistent play.
Oklahoma State is looking to make some elbow room in the NCAA tournament seedings, and could end as high as a #5 seed depending on their play against Nebraska and in the conference tourney. Lose the next few games though, and it could be a #12 seed for Pistol Pete. I think Travis Ford will have his guys ready after the letdown in College Station, and we may struggle in this one. OSU did shoot just 34% from the floor against the Aggies, so who the hell knows...maybe we catch them in a funk.
I used to head down to Stillwater on occasion to visit a buddy at OSU, and remember the atmosphere of the basketball games there. It can be downright electric, and reminds me of what the Dukies have down at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Cowboys are 14-1 at home...hmm. Not good. I think we will struggle today, if not simply for the fact that the Cornhuskers cannot finish better than last place in the conference, so where's the motivation? An ISU loss and Husker win would tie us with the 'Clones at 3-12, but having lost both games to the "clowns" guarantees us a spot at the bottom.
Today, Nebraska will need to hold off James Anderson for OSU. The guy can flat out score, and if we don't put the clamps on him the way we did with Craig Brackins of ISU, then it will be a long day for our guys. The 6-6" junior shooting guard is averaging 22+ per game, and has racked up 27 points in each of the last 2 games. Like I said, we could be in for it here if someone can't stay with this guy. Sek Henry should be able to stay in his pocket, as I think he has been a bit under-rated as far as his defensive play goes. I know one thing...if we catch fire like we have in the past, the Cowboys better watch out, or we could be spoiling senior day down in Stillwater.
My wish list for today:
1. A good solid win. Nothing fancy or huge....just an 8-12 point victory where I don't have to chew the ends off my fingers. Maybe a little momentum going into the conference tourney, but at the very least we get a road win. Something we haven't seen in the league this year. Nebraska hasn't had a 2 win conference season, but did nab just 3 wins during the 1989-90 campaign. That year, Beau Reid suffered a knee injury which hampered Nebraska's chances at success. The good news? 26-8 the next season, 9-5 in the league, and an NCAA tournament experience.
2. Solid...no, stellar defense from start to finish. I know that Doc has been shifting his focus a bit towards scoring points...whcih is fine, but it would be nice to see us shut someone down again. Under 60 points should be sufficient today I think. Let's just annoy the hell out of the Cowboys today, get in their asses like jailbirds, and see what happens.
3. Senior day, on our own terms. Screw the official "senior night" in Lincoln last Tuesday, that was not the way I want to see these guys go out. I want Anderson to have a career game today. 30+ points. And Henry?....well, I love what he did versus Tech, stepping up and putting the load on his shoulders when it counted. Who cares if it's on the road, make today a "real" senior day for Nebraska. Oh yeah, and Ben Nelson flushes on someone in the final seconds, making up for his senior day "gaff" in the closing seconds versus CU.
4. Myles Holley gets his. Today is Mr. Holley's birthday, so here's to you...you high flyin' freak. Go dunk on someone today. Heck, why not just go off and put on a show...we all know you can. (Really, happy B-Day!)
5. Doc gets ejected. Why not? Can't hurt, and if the team is getting screwed by bad calls like they have in the past...just throw a chair, table, or even an ugly OSU fan (they have plenty) onto the floor in a fit of rage. Two things will happen. First, we the fans and the players will interpret your episode as a solid indication that you are invested in this team, and here to stay. That you will bleed for these guys. That's always good...
Second, you can get to Eskimo Joes before the dinner crowd hits. Then you can eat a triple cheesburger, and drink away the season's sorrow. (Plus, you may catch a glimpse of the campus' only hot chick..I hear she's a waitress over there. Actually, I think it's her internship?)
That's good for today, my wish list for the off-season and beyond will come during my season wrap up article next week. Go Big Red!
Tipoff: (M) 12:47pm CST - (W) Noon CST
Venue: (M) Gallagher-Iba Arena - Stillwater, OK / (W) Bramlage Coliseum - Manhattan, KS
Television: (M) Big 12 Network, ESPN Fullcourt / (W) None
Radio: Husker Sports Network - Kent Pavelka and Matt "Refs suck, and I ain't afraid to say it" Davison.
Internet Radio/ Stats: www.Huskers.com
Live game thread: www.CornNation.com