The fans didn't stand the whole game. In that regard, this game wasn't that different from every other game in Pinnacle Bank Arena this year. It was a far cry from the electric, once-in-a-lifetime spectacle that was "No Sit Sunday", the game that took place on the very same floor 11 months and a day prior. Very little about this game resembled that legendary afternoon, the fans posture was merely the first of them.
The only thing that remained constant from this year to the last was the Wisconsin is a really, really good basketball team. They wasted little time jumping out in front putting up seven points before the confetti flew. This time, they were not willing to allow the Huskers to get off to a fast start and get the crowd whipped up into a frenzy they were waiting to break into.
Despite the fast start from the Badgers, the Huskers, masters of defense, kept Wisconsin, the most efficient offense in the Big Ten, from running away and hiding. The Badgers wanted to. They tried, but the Husker defense wouldn't allow it. Unfortunately, the NU offense tried almost as hard to make their defense irrelevant. For the second straight game, the Husker offense was rendered impotent in the first half, once again only tallying 13 points at the break.
Despite such a dreadful performance, they only found themselves down 14 at halftime. Things didn't get immediately better though the offense was clearly more effective, the Badger lead remained, growing as big as 16 before a Leslee Smith layup with 7:22 left in the game. The Huskers turned to their defense once again to turn up the heat and attempt to get back into the game. Using a similar trapping, full-court pressure that got them back into the game vs. Penn State last Saturday, the Husker rally was under way. NU was able to cut the Badger lead to five with just over a minute to play after a deep three from Terran Petteway.
The Huskers were not able to get any closer than that. There would be no magic tonight, the Badgers, one of the best teams in the country was just too strong for NU. Behind a season-high 21 from Sam Dekker, Wisconsin moved to 22-2 and in line for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. There is little keeping them one of the highly coveted top lines come March. For the Huskers, things are much less certain. At 5-7 in Big Ten play and 13-11 overall, Nebraska needs to find a way to generate some offense, especially away from Pinnacle Bank Arena if they want to salvage any postseason tournament berth. The road will not be easy. Of NU's next six games, none of them are behind NU in the conference standings. NU will have to do something they haven't done all season: win on the road. Their first opportunity will come Saturday afternoon when they head out West Lafayette, Indiana to take on the Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue, after finishing last in the Big Ten last season have rebounded and find themselves right in the jumble of teams tied for second place. If the Huskers can find a way to go to Purdue and win, their postseason hopes might be restored. Until they do something they haven't done all season, any postseason wishes they may cling to, will be tough to justify.