Tough times are still ahead for the Husker basketball team, as they prepare for a couple of road games against Missouri and Colorado. The Tigers are unranked, but with an RPI of #51, I'd say that they are on the cusp of a Top 25 spot here at this point in the season. Mizzou took down the #11 Wildcats earlier this season with an impressive performance, but then dropped one to the Sooners just last week, proving how hard it is to win on the road in the Big 12.
That is of course, unless you're playing Nebraska. The Big Red have given up their two home conference games so far this year to Kansas and Iowa State. Say what you will about the ISU game (blown opportunities), but we just don't seem to have the horses to compete with the Big 12 this year. Likely to drop 8 of the remaining 11 conference games this year, the Huskers are going to need to step it up to avoid a total collapse and permanent spot as the minder of the Big 12 basement.
Cue disappointment mode, and skeptical posts about our chances as a basketball team. I saw some glimpse of hope early in the season, but the last 2 weeks have really beaten my head in. I'm now, regretfully, in a "prove to me that you are worth a damn" state of mind. Stop losing to teams when you have a chance to win, and pull off a few upsets for crying out loud! Our remaining home games are against OU, KSU, Baylor, Missouri, and Texas Tech. 3 of these teams have either been ranked, or are currently ranked in the Top 25 this year. Bad news for us. I see the only winnable games left as Colorado in Boulder on Wednesday, and ISU in Ames towards the end of the year. (Both road games ironically). Baylor could be a win, as it's at home and the Bears are unproven in my opinion, but as I mentioned before....I'm not holding my breath. (More after the jump)
Looking at Missouri, I don't know what to make of these guys quite yet. They are a better team than Nebraska overall, but have some weak spots. They've got J.T. Tiller providing senior leadership and a balanced game..and Kim English with solid numbers and size. The Tigers look to be a running team primarily, with 8 guys seeing 18 MPG or more. They run, substitute guys with fresh legs, and run some more....which leads to the 4th ranked scoring offense in the Big 12, but only the 8th ranked scoring defense. The question is whether or not Missouri can impose their tempo on the Huskers. If so, the shallow Husker bench will not be able to help much, and with transition defense being questionable in the early part of the season...it could spell doom for Nebraska. Missouri shot a horrid 36% from the field against OU, and 24% from downtown. The Sooners hit only 40% and 32% respectively and still won...which bodes well for Nebraska. Our averages the last two games have been much higher in each of those categories.
The Huskers are still holding tight to that #1 scoring defense in the Big 12. Big whoop, right? What good does it do when you can't score? (What is it with that approach in Lincoln anyway? ) Prove something to us guys...prove to us that you can hang with at least half the conference. Get your conference win and some mojo right now, or risk entering a tough part of the season 0-4, and possibly going winless in the Big 12!! That may be strong to say, but like I mentioned before. I'm in a bad mood about this team right now, and they need to prove they can step up before I get back on the red wagon. And another thing....When will Christian "Bratwurst" Standhardinger finally show up? This guy is too good to be playing like he has the last 2 games. On a positive note, senior guard Ryan Anderson has surpassed the 500 rebound mark, and by the end of the season will surely pass Erick Strickland, Terrance Badgett, and Cookie Belcher on the all time list. Anderson also needs just 37 points to become only the 25th Husker in history to reach 1000 points. Great work Ryan!
I've heard that Doc Sadler is holding to the goal of making the NCAA Tourney. I would laugh right now, but that seems a bit evil spirited. I mean, what is the guy gonna say? He's coaching his ass off, and still sits at 0-3 in the conference. I'd give the guy a hug if I were in Lincoln, because I think he probably needs it. Good for him though, holding on to the goal, and therefore telling the kids to not give up. Maybe something good will start happening, and he won't end up being lured to another school. I bet ISU wishes they had Doc, as their coachs only gift seems to be under-coaching great talent.
The series history between the Huskers and Tigers has been very favorable since 2000. Nebraska leads the series 15-9 since then, and have snatched 8 out of 10 in Columbia (wow!), while going 5-5 in Lincoln and 2-2 in neutral site conference tourney games.
However, I'm not on board right now...my apologies. Prediction: Nebraska 57 Missouri 68
Tipoff: Saturday Jan. 23 5pm CST
Venue: Mizzou Arena - Columbia, MO
Television: Local Station - KXVO Chanel 11, Big 12 Network, ESPN Fullcourt
Radio: IMG Husker Sports Network (Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison)
Internet Radio: www.Huskers.com
Internet Video: ESPN360.com