College hoops in Nebraska is receiving an unprecedented amount of attention as they are set to open their new digs next week. As usual, Tim Miles stole the show. Husker fans have come to expect that, now. It's always entertaining to watch other writers who don't get to experience him as often rave about Coach Miles, and while that's all fun and good, now that media day has come and gone, the jokes are over (though they never really stop with Miles) and it's go time.
The Big Ten doesn't formally conduct a preseason poll, at least not for the men, but there was an informal one and the Huskers finished at the bottom. "I see we're picked 12th out of 12th again." Miles said. "And it's not just by you guys. I see it's by everybody. Like anybody, you take that to heart a little bit. I understand why we are -- facts in life are really interesting. I've always tried to ignore them."
He's going to have to if the Husker will surpass expectations this year. "I believe in our guys. So I don't think we're going to end up 12th, and I think it's going to be a good thing" he said. "At the end of the day I know we have a way. I know it works. It's worked every little place you've never heard of and some others you might have heard a little bit about of, and it's going to work in Nebraska."
Connie Yori, on the other hand, has put in the work to build her program to a level that Miles is trying to get the men to. "Connie and I are both picked 12th. She's 12th in the country; I'm 12th in the league" said Miles.
"I think this is the first time in Nebraska women's basketball history that we have been picked to win whichever league we have been playing in" Yori said. "I didn't pick us to win the Big Ten and I'm not sure why everybody else did, because we have a lot of work to do."
One of the biggest jobs ahead of her and the Huskers is how will she replace arguably the best point guard in school history? "There is nobody in our program who is going to replace Lindsey" said Yori. "We have to do it collectively, everyone has to get better, we have to get more products of our returning starters and they have got to expand their game."
Rachel Theriot is going to get the first crack at it, but a lot of that burden will fall to Jordan Hooper who spent part of her summer in Russia playing for Team USA.
"It has taken time for her to become a leader for us" said Yori. "She is always going to be a leader by example. She has always been that force but we're asking her to do more in terms of being vocal and I think she is accepting that but it's not necessarily something she is entirely comfortable with."
A big topic of conversation this offseason has been about a couple rule changes coming to college basketball dealing with how fouls on the perimeter and how the block/charge calls will be handled. The two rules will limit the hand checking and contact that a defender can make on the player with the ball. There have been many critics of the rules for defending on the perimeter, but Yori thinks it will eventually work itself out. "I believe early on we're going to see a lot of fouls, however, in the broad scheme of things, in our game, I think it's going to clean up our game, going to allow players to move with more freedom and therefore I think our scoring will be up eventually and I think it's -- I think the majority of coaches believe it's the right thing to do."
The women's team held their first exhibition last Sunday defeating Pittsburgh St. 98-47 and face UNK on Sunday. The men hold their only public exhibition on Monday, also against the Lopers. Both teams will play their first regular season game on Friday, Nov. 8. The women will host UCLA at noon and the men will take on Florida Gulf Coast at 8. The women look to build on a sweet sixteen appearance. For the men, well, as Miles said this morning "it's just time for men's basketball to do our part."