Basketball lover or not, today is a big day in Lincoln. It's February, and the Huskers are in dire need of a signature win for the 2010-11 season. One that validates what just about every follower predicted this season - that Nebraska was a much improved team, capable of making waves in the their last season in the Big 12.
Today marks the start of an important 3-game stretch, with games against A&M, KSU, and a rematch with the Jahawks over the next eight days. I'd say that in March, we'll be able to look back at this coming week and either say "this is where we lost the season", or "this is where we got over the hump".
Can Nebraska do it?
One thing is for sure, we need some fresh news. The story around this program is getting old, right about the same time it usually does. I usually list some key factors to winning. Today, we'll spend all of 4 seconds on that...as I hate repeating myself. What's left?
Win, dammit. Win.
#13 Texas A&M 17-2 (4-1) @ Nebraska 14-5 (2-3)
The Aggies come into this game ranked #13 in the land, but about as beatable as we'd want a top 15 team to be. Take a quick glance at A&M's schedule, and the solid wins came in a 2 point victory over Missouri, a 3 point win over Temple, and a 1 point squeaker over Washington.
The Aggies' two losses came against high RPI teams Boston College (29), and a beat-down from Texas (13).
Nebraska on the other hand has some growing up to do today. If I'm Doc Sadler, I'm seriously asking the team where they want to go from here. They've proven they can play with the big boys, so who is going to finally "sack up" and start playing at a higher level? The screwing around has got to end, and this is a perfect Saturday to do it.
Keys to the game |
- I'll give you a hint: It rhymes with "rebound the damn ball". Broken record.
Who to watch |
This guy is our swivel. I know, Lance is our senior pint guard, and Almeida is a 367 lb ogre who eats small forwards. But truth be told, Diaz is the guy who really makes or breaks this team. If you've watched him closely over the first part of the year, what you've seen is a critical component to the Husker win engine.
-If he's all lubed up (making his shots - rebounding - sharp passing), the team looks great. They need that presence inside to score, but also to move the ball around to the shooters. Like I said, a swivel.
-If he's a rusty nut (Giving up offensive rebounds - turnovers - missing layups), we stink. The team panics, and we become one-dimensional, and added pressure is put on the defense to stop opponents from getting multiple shots on offensive rebounds. I wish I'd started a tally of point blank shots he's missed this year, because there have been enough to fill all those empty seats in Lubbock.
Guards will run the offense, defense will be played,and shooters will get their shots. Your experiment for today? Watch what the 7 footer does today, as it will likely determine if we can win or not.
Nebraska hasn't beaten a ranked team since taking down # 16 Texas in Lincoln in Feb 2009. We're sooooo due.
I think it all wraps up pretty good for us. Six days of rest. The scoring comparisons are in line with what we want. Individual production from A&M's lineup isn't the scariest we'll see this year, and the rebounding looks to be a draw. A&M has the high RPI we want in a victim, and the last-second gaff at Texas Tech could be an extra motivating force. A&M on the other hand, may very well be looking ahead to a Monday rematch with Texas, who clubbed them earlier in the month. It's a home game, and we should see a good turnout with a lot of excitement. Looks like a recipe for an upset.
An upset we desperately need.
Tipoff: 1:06pm CST
Location: Bob Devaney Sports Center - Lincoln, NE
Radio: IMG Husker Sports Network - KFAB 1110 in Omaha, KLIN 1400 in Lincoln, and KRVN 800 in Lexington. (Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison)
Television: None ( May have a live feed to watch. Check the comments for the link... )
Internet Stats/ Free Radio feed: Huskers.com
GO BIG RED!