The Nebraska men's basketball team sponsored a NCAA Selection Show party at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Husker fans were invited to see whether or not the team made the big dance and to share in the excitement. An estimated 2,500 to 3,500 fans attended, one of the bigger such parties in the nation.
Nebraska was selected as a #11 seed to play the #6 seed Baylor Bears on Friday.
This is Nebraska's sixth NCAA appearance and the first since 1998. The Husker men's basketball team has never won a NCAA tournament game.
Some quotes from the selection show party:
On getting into the tournament
Head Coach Tim Miles
"I never really had a doubt. I thought maybe Dayton was a real possibility and just the whole thought of trying to get film tonight on Xavier or whoever it might be. Trying to get organized with that whole quick turnaround on Tuesday or Wednesday - that concerned me. That whole part worries you when you find out Sunday night. When I saw BYU in, that's got Dayton written all over it. And then when I saw San Antonio and I saw Creighton, I said you never know they might just be crazy enough to stick the Huskers down there, too. And sure enough."
On the big picture of this accomplishment for the program
"It's a good start. But it's just a start. Like I said, we have to look where we were, where we are now and where we want to be. Let's say we win and make a run. Is that good enough? No, it's not good enough and you want to be a team who can do that every year. There's always going to be the next step to take for this program. And always the next step for these guys, too. These are young guys and high achievers who want to do well and put Nebraska on the map. In this business you can be a flash in the pan. Hot one day and cooked the next and that's not what we want to be. We don't want to be a one-hit wonder. So, I think we are going to build in toward sustained success and these guys are going to be a huge part of it. It's a monumental day for Nebraska because it hasn't happened here in 16 years. I did an interview with a guy who said, ‘you haven't been to the NCAA Tournament in 16 years' and I said ‘Whoa, whoa, I've been to all kinds of different tournaments in 16 years.' At the end of the day, it's a great start is what it is."
On the relief of seeing Nebraska pop up in the field of 68
"It was a big (relief). They kept calling names that weren't ours and I kind of got nervous. I don't know about anybody else, but I was nervous the whole day. When they called our name, I didn't care who were were playing, I was just happy to be playing in the (NCAA) Tournament." Shavon Shields: "Same thing. I've never been this nervous before because it was out of my control. I'm just happy to be in there."
On what it means for the program
"It's huge. Like Coach said, it's a small step in the big picture of where we want to be and what we want to do. We kind of underachieved in the Big Ten Tournament and I think we are ready to bounce back for the NCAA's."
On where this feeling ranks with this team compared to other postseason berths
"It's special for me because this was kind of out of nowhere. My first team at Mayville (State) was kind of out of nowhere, too. We started out 2-9 and we flipped it and that was a long time ago. Other than that, we were kind of always favored and knew where we were going, so literally still every time I talk about it I get goose bumps again. I'm just so happy for A, the players and B, our fans. Just as much emotion as they put in. It was good but it ended up being great and so they invested emotionally. They've been burned a few times and they felt like we were the Cubbies and I said hold on one second let's feel like we are the Red Sox. I was really just happy for them and of course I think of a guy like Tom Osborne. I told him I wanted to come through for him and I do, but we haven't done what we set out to do either. This is a great first step and we just expect to keep going further. And we can't wait to get ready for our matchup on Friday with Baylor."