One of the most beautiful things about sports is also often the most painful. There is no script. That’s how a team like Nebraska, basketball barren for more than a decade and a half, can rise from the ashes to capture the attention of a fanbase desperate for a hint of success. It’s also how that team, with the core of the cast that was the catalyst for one of the greatest thrill rides the program has seen can fall back to earth so precipitously.
The most recent scene in this tragedy saw our heroes crushed so thoroughly it caused the director shut it all down. After today’s humiliating loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes Head Coach Tim Miles, when asked why the players were not available to talk after the game he said: "They don’t deserve to talk for us".
That wasn’t the statement that got everyone buzzing, however, the climactic statement, delivered after a dramatic pause, "And they won’t be in their locker room." The stunt, reminiscent of a scene right out of Hollywood’s "Coach Carter", is the latest effort of Coach Miles to rouse the efforts of his scuffling cast.
"I thought we showed a softness," Miles said, " a lack of leadership and a lack of willingness to listen to leadership. It’s unacceptable." The Huskers never matched Iowa's urgency from the opening tip. The Huskers fell behind almost immediately, and the Hawkeyes never let up. Five minutes into the second half, Iowa led 51-20.
I sincerely apologize to all our tremendous fans 4 our performance today. I'm disgusted, angry & disappointed. It will never happen again.— Chris Harriman (@chrisharriman24) February 22, 2015
Not one to mince words, Miles addressed the effort his squad put on the floor. "You have to have a great amount of pride to compete when things aren’t going well, and we just didn’t show any pride. I was looking at the stats, and they don’t matter. The game plan doesn’t matter when you come out and kind of half-ass it."
So, while Miles and his staff continue to search for the right buttons to push to get this team to return to the place many expected them to reach this season, the Huskers will have to figure out how to do it away from their luxurious practice facility. Where will they get dressed? "Good luck" Miles suggested. "They’re creative young people."
Last time I checked, the Rec Center has lockers. And basketball courts. Maybe they need to hold practice amongst the pick-up games this week.