Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Coach Miles was fuming after his teams lackluster effort vs. #8 OSU. The Huskers fell to the Buckeyes 70-44 to open Big Ten play.
Nobody was all that suprised that #8 Ohio State (11-2, 1-0) defeated Nebraska (9-5, 0-1) by 26 points. And, frankly, a lot of people might have been surprised it was that close in the first place. It wasn't that the Huskers got hammered that had Head Coach Tim Miles all in a tizzy. It was that the Huskers appeared to look timid and intimidated by the #8 Buckeyes. It was a failure to hustle and play with energy and intensity. "That's what makes me mad," Miles said "My God, we need to hustle to win the game."
Now, it's unlikely that had the Huskers played at their peak they would have had enough to pull off the stunner, but with 6:45 to go in the first half, Nebraska was within five points after a Ray Gallegos three pointer, but they never got closer than that. On the very next trip down the floor, Gallegos was called for a foul on Evan Ravenel, sending him to the line for two free throws. Ravenel missed both but the Huskers were not able to secure the rebound. Aaron Craft also missed a jumper but the Buckeyes again secured the long offensive rebound and found Lenzelle Smith, Jr. wide open in the corner in front of the Nebraska bench and he nailed the three pointer and the Buckeyes were off and running and never looked back. That's an illustration of why Miles was as upset as he was.
The Huskers also saw a potential hit to their depth. Andre Almedia suffered what Coach Miles called a "significant sprain" going up for a rebound late in the first half. He reemerged from the locker room in the second half with a boot on his right foot. That will pose a significant challenge for a team that already lacks depth on the post to find a way to compete in the rebounding column. Look for freshman Sergej Vucetic to get some more time and for the Huskers to play a lot more of David Rivers and Shavon Shields at the power foward positon. It is going to be very difficult for the Huskers to compete down low vs. the skilled post players they will face in the Big Ten. That first challenge will come on Sunday when Wisconsin comes to town, traditionally known as one of the most physical teams in the conference under Bo Ryan.
The Huskers return to the floor vs. the previously mentioned Badgers Sunday afternoon, looking to nab their first conference win of the season.