The Nebraska men's basketball team is ranked in the preseason. 21st, I think, but it doesn't matter. The mere fact that they are ranked should be enough to get everyone to sit up and take notice.
Will it, though?
Basketball season actually starts this week, surprising, I know, I thought it didn't start until January either, but it does as the men take on Northern Kentucky. I had to look that up. I don't know anything about Northern Kentucky. They sound like a fine team to start with...
Okay. I have no idea. None.
Nebraska has a basketball problem. Most of us have no clue about it. It's frustrating to me, personally. I tried to play basketball in high school only to find out that you actually have to have coordination, something that the great master did not bless me with in any abundance. I was a damned good fouler.
The sign that I would not succeed in basketball came in my sophomore year. I was put in the first of a two-shot free throw and taken out the second. I stood in the lane for one free throw. One. That explains my basketball career in a nutshell.
I don't understand strategies in basketball. I understand that there are two guards, two forwards and a center. At least... I think that's what's going on. Maybe we have three guards, two forwards and no center. I don't know.
I know what travel is. I know that charging is when an opponent with the ball plows over our player, and that blocking is when our player with the ball does the same thing to them.
The point is - I'm okay with my ignorance. In fact, I enjoy it. There's something beautiful about not knowing a single thing about what's going on, other than understanding that our team has to put the orange ball in the hoopty thing more than the other team does.
I know that I've waited for many many years for Nebraska to get good at basketball. I've wondered, as I'm sure Kent Pavelka has, why it has eluded us for so long. It's not the women you have to worry about; at Nebraska you never have to worry about women. It's clear Nebraska women are ass-kickers - it's the men you have to worry about; they may not make it through winter alive without turning on each other, although that could be a more Colorado trait than I'm giving credit for.
Nebraska women = the finest women in history of ever anywhere. Nebraska men = sometimes shady, don't turn your back on them, even from a distance. The plains make it a necessity that they can shoot you dead at 500 yards as opposed to looking you in the face like in all those stupid cowboy movies.
Point is -basketball season is nearly here. Nebraska might have a chance at being good. The Big Ten is certainly good, and our nemesis the SEC isn't even really in the running.
The problem is that basketball doesn't define the state. That and... we've sucked for so long. Fuck the Danny Nee years, you know what I'm talking about. Now along comes a guy that's the most fun ever on social media, a guy who wasn't a big name, and the whole spirit of things has changed.
When Bill Byrne was around, there was this apparent resentment that because he improved other things besides football, that football would suffer. Funny, I haven't noticed. Haymarket Park remains the best place on earth to see a college baseball series and it hasn't affected the football program one damned bit.
Enter men's basketball. It's up this week. CN plans on as much coverage as possible.
Question is - will you be paying attention? Or are you going to wait until January?