Just a brief preview here on our second attempt at upsetting the Wildcats. Things can't get much worse, and after Wednesday night's game, I don't expect too many people to keep watching the basketball team. I feel like Bob Uecker in the movie Major League.
Baseball is starting, and the spring game is coming up. Unless we see a huge shift in how the Cornhuskers(1-9)are playing on the hardwood, the basketball season is all but over with. I will be heading to Ames to see if Nebraska can get just one more conference win against a team that is having almost as much trouble as we are. Normally, that's a hostile environment. My general disdain for ISU athletics over the past year was setting me up for a fist-fight with a drunk fan, or at least a verbal exchange with an idiot still beaming over the football game. That game is now officially the most meaningless game ever to be played at Hilton.
For now, let's wrap up this string of games versus ranked teams. I'm tired of listening to Kent Pavelka cover up his obvious distaste for what's happening on the court in front of him each night. (More after jump...)
Kansas State brings a 20-4 record and the #7 ranking in the country into Wednesday nights game in Manhattan. The Huskers were clobbered by 19 points 2 weeks ago in Lincoln, and there is no reason to think that this game will be any different. In fact, it could be worse. The Wildcats are surging and playing pretty well right now, earning the teams highest national ranking since 1962. Ironically, that's the last year Nebraska had a 1-win conference season. Clemente will again lead the attack, posting 15 ppg along with 4 assists. I hate the way this Clemente guy plays, as his technique and form leave a lot to be desired. But each game he surprises me with his grit and leadership, and is one of the reasons I think Kansas State will upset Kansas as Big 12 champions this year.
We're facing our 5th straight nationally ranked opponent, since feuding with the 'Cats on February 2nd. That streak will be the longest such string of games in school history. The Huskers will again need someone to step up and provide a spark. Diaz had a decent game versus Texas scoring 13 points, but we all saw how that game turned out. Pretty sad when your leading scorer is always in the 10-15 point range every game. Watch other games, heck even watch the women, and you'll see their leading scorer with 20-30 points. Maybe next year Diaz will show up 40 lbs more muscular, and start pouring in 20 points a game? Right now, we have no such scorer on the roster.
Junior Lance Jeter appears to be starting the transition into the leadership role he will assume next season. Sek Henry has proved to be all but irrelevant, and Jeter is picking up the slack. Henry reminds me a lot of Curtis Stinson, the ex-Cyclone and current NBA-D League staple. Besides the headband, Henry has all of the same traits as Stinson: good quickness, decent ball handling, prone to turnovers, and a bad jump shot. There is a reason Stinson has not been called up to the show, and a reason the Huskers have floundered without a leader. I think we get Jeter the ball, and just start thinking of what we need him to do for us next season.
Nebraska basketball just needs something, anything to build on right now. If we end the season with just 3 conference wins, I will be thrilled. Next year will likely be a much different story, but I'd like to see one or two things go our way before spring hits. The youth on this team is both the problem and the solution during this horrid season. What is killing us now, needs to happen in order for the future to be a bright one. It would be nice to see Standhardinger get a 20 point game, or Richardson lead the team to an upset over KSU or Missouri. Maybe Ubel has a dominating defensive performance with 8 blocks in a win, or Myles Holley dunks on Brackins on ISU's home court. There may not be any more moral victories, but it sure would be nice to see a brief glimpse of a promising future.
Doc Sadler was quoted as saying that during the Texas game..."we were boys amongst men out there". I hope he was just being matter-of-fact, because that's no way to motivate a beaten down squad. I'll take an upset tomorrow. It could still happen. If the guys can put together a perfect game, that might be just what the doctor ordered. Heck at this point...even winning a jumpball would do.
Prediction: .......snore..............snore.........wait?! what?!
Tipoff: 6:05pm CST
Venue: Bramlage Coliseum - Manhattan, KS
Television: FS Midwest, ESPN FullCourt
Radio: IMG Husker Sports Network (Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison)
Internet Radio/Stats: www.Huskers.com
Game Thread: www.CornNation.com