Nebraska Cornhuskers Head Coach Tim Miles appeared at the Big Ten Basketball Media Days this morning in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare.
Nebraska, who was 19-13 overall last year and 11-7 in the Big Ten Conference, lost in both the Quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament and the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament, which was their first appearance in the "Dance" since 1998.
Miles took along with him Big Ten First Team selection Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford to Chicago. ESPNU will feature interviews with Miles and Petteway this afternoon. Their coverage will kick off at 2pm Central time.
The Huskers will have their "Big Red Tip-Off" where fans can meet the team on Wednesday, October 29th. The Huskers first piece of live action will take place on November 6th against Southwest Minnesota State, and the season kicks off 10 days later vs. Northern Kentucky. All three events will be held at the shiny Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The transcript of Tim Miles' time at the podium this morning:
First of all, I want to just start with a little bit of I want to coach you guys up a little bit. Today is not media day, it's the nightmare for sports information directors. And second of all, when a coach walks into a room, we're used to the school song or a standing ovation, and we get none of that from you, and I want to know when that's going to stop. When are we going to get it right here? Because we walk in and you guys are just like punching your keys, drinking your coffee, grumpy that it's morning. Are we going to do a happy hour deal? Is that what you want? Are you that difficult to deal with?
I mean, coaches are ready, and we all know that most people are going to ask us questions about their own teams, so you can put, well, Miles said this about Indiana. I would just like to field questions about Nebraska.
On being picked to finish 4th in the Big Ten, after being picked last the previous 2 seasons:
Well, yeah. You guys haven't got it right yet. You know, an old coaching friend told me one time, never trust the media unless it helps you with recruiting, so I kind of stick by that....that was Jim Molinari, my assistant. He told me yesterday. (Laughter).
On parlaying the success from last season into this year:
Well, probably just throw the ball to Petteway and Shields and stand there and say nothing. I mean, we weren't any good until we defended. Once we started playing very solid defense and became a good defensive rebounding team, we became a good team but not until. We were still pretty off on offense and as practice has progressed, I think we've continued that direction. If you want to come Lincoln and see missed shots and stuff like that, we're right there, baby. You can go over to gate 25 afterwards and get something to eat.
But it's just one of those things that -- defense has got to be our calling card.
On how to approach the players this season when expectations are higher than last season:
Well, am I meaner to them you mean? I think it's important that the guys understand that your college experience only happens once. Take every day, live in every moment, embrace it, and try and get better every day. That's kind of how we try and stay in the moment all the time. Expectations are what they are, but nobody should have higher expectations for us than ourselves. The one thing I'll tell you about this group is I think they remember blowing an 18 point lead to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament. They lost their mojo, did not practice the next week going into the NCAA Tournament, did not play well against Baylor, at least for the portion that I was there, and then -- don't ask me about that. I'll get fined.
Where was I?
But I think they remember the way the season ended rather than that big run that put them in a very good position. Because, honestly, we were 11 out of 13 or something like that, and that's a championship-style run, which is pretty cool. But that's not what we remember, and that's not what they remember. They put in the work like they're still picked dead last.
On the success at Pinnacle Bank Arena last season:
Well, our venue is unbelievable. It's a state-of-the-art place. It carries noise really well. It's not built for hockey, it's built for basketball, so you don't have the slow grade going out and then your level 200 and 300 people 50 yards back. Everybody is right on it. It's really like an old-time coliseum that way, and our fans bought in. They believed in -- first of all, they wanted to see the new building, and we sold it out. I bought 3,000 tickets, as you well know. We made sure that we had a fan base that was strong. Nebraska fans are so supportive that they made it a difficult place to play.
We practiced there for the first time the other day, and we shot the ball better than we'd shot all year. I think the guys truly believe it's just somewhere special to play.
On the ability to develop rivalries in the Big Ten with scheduling this year (8 one time opponents, 5 two time opponents in '14-'15):
If I say enough dumb stuff, we'll have rivalries, so I think it really depends on that. I wish we'd play our border schools more. Last year we played Iowa the first game of the year, and then I honestly don't know that I watched them again. And if I recall right, I think they were on the other side of the bracket in the Big Ten Tournament, so I don't even think I watched much there, either. I didn't even see Franny's team play very much after they beat us.
We don't like that, but I believe that that's not going to change. I believe that the way the ACC and the Big Ten are doing it is probably going to stay that way. I don't believe you'll see us like in football playing east and west or northwest and southeast or whatever the heck. That's just the way it is. Hopefully, as often as possible we get those border schools, but as far as rivalries, yeah, because we're a newcomer it's hard to say who our rival is. And I'm new to the league, too, but, certainly, when you look at recruiting and you look at where you go, where you get your kids from, you want to be able to play those people as often and possible and beat them.
And here's the video for all of you that are TL;DR mode on this Thursday.