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Big Ten Countdown: 19 - Nebraska Men's Basketball

Nee-braska Basketball. That's when I became a fan.  Of course I was 14 at the time and was already a follower of the football team. I can remember Eric Piatkowski leading the team to their first every conference tournament championship. I was at the game the last time that they made it to the NCAA tournament. I was a band geek at the time. Boise, Idaho can be very nice in March, unless a bunch of hogs dig themselves out of a ten-point hole with 10 minutes left to play. Boise, Idaho was a nice little city. We saw a few rundown houses, but for the most part it was very quaint. There are plenty of mountains around and the Blue Turf is what it has been advertised to be. You hear things about geese trying to land on it and hurt/kill themselves, but that seems to just be a rumor. Since this is suppose to be about the basketball team, I'll save my one-time, at-band-camp stories from this trip for later.

Danny Nee may have had trouble getting over the win-an-NCAA-tournament-game hump, but at least he got us there a few times. He got us there 5 times (1991, '92, '93, '94, and '98). In 1996, the Huskers won every game they played in the NIT tournament (becoming NIT champs), but they still haven't managed to win a game at the NCAA's. There are only two other BCS conference schools that haven't won an NCAA tournament game.  They are South Florida and Northwestern.  USF has made it twice (1990 and 1992), but lost both games. Northwestern has never even been to the tournament.

So Doc Sadler is our coach. He's a well liked character in Lincoln and brings a defense-first style of play. His philosophy is to keep his team in the game through good defense to give yourself a chance to win at the end. Nebraska doesn't get the big super-start play makers like Texas or Kansas does, so they have to try to keep games low scoring because they won't win a shoot-out. We saw it work fairly well this past year. Nebraska was in most games that it played. They ended the season 19-13 but lost five games by three points or less. If they can continue to play well on defense and get a few good play makers on offense, they will be able to be in the upper half of the Big Ten. Kinda sounds like the same problem the football team has. The hope around Lincoln is that the new arena being built will be able to attract the student athletes that we need to step up to the next level.