Sunday, February 20, 2011
Gs Up, Horns Down
PYB thanks Seth Svoboda for his weekend's worth of coverage of Husker Hoops, as we had previous engagements preventing us from the in-depth coverage that loyal followers deserve. We finally saw the upset early this morning on DVR and offer the below preface to Svoboda's coverage:
1. In case you had forgotten, Lance Jeter played football at Cincinnati. After failing to mention in for two straight games, yesterday's announcers made up for it by bringing it at least four times.
2. Apparently, unbeknownst to anyone in Lincoln, Andre Almeida's nickname is "The Bouncer." Mitch Holthus deemed this to be his new nickname, using it at least seven times and following it up with awesome cliches like "if you're name isn't on the list, you ain't getting in" or "The Bouncer slammed the door on the Longhorns!" Great stuff. Are you the security man? Are you the BOOUUNCER?? Yay for killing! Yay for violence! Keep it Behind the Velvet Rope.
3. Texas point guard Dogus Balbay sucks. PYB knew he was awful last year. Now the media excuse for him still starting is that he is such a great defender. Just perfect for him to lead the Longhorns to a second-round loss next month in the NCAA tournament.
4. How the fuck is Toney McCray this team's best three-point shooter?
5. Big 12 officials had another batch of awful calls, headlined by the fourth foul called on Lance Jeter. Doc Sadler's response was multiple "Wows" in a row as he tried to grasp how horrible the call really was.
6. This was the best win for NU hoops in some time, and if it's not enough to get the racist stiffs that call themselves Husker Hoops fans into the seats to the tune of more than 12,000 the last two gams, nothing ever will be.
7. As great as the win was, now is the time to forget about it and move to the next task at hand. What should be remembered is how NU dominated Texas in the paint, outscoring Rick Barnes' boys 36-10 at one point in the paint.
NU's players all looked step quicker on both offense and defense, didn't look tentative and didn't juggled the ball like they were trying not to drop a nuclear warehead.
Next up, Kansas State. No Whammies.....
Returning to Early Season Form
By Seth Svoboda
In the Huskers win over Texas on Saturday they showed a whole different side of themselves. This was a team that was driven, played with energy, passion, and confidence for 38 minutes. For two minutes the Skers tried to choke it away and cower in the corner. As with any good plotline though, good prevailed over evil and Brandon Richardson rose to the occasion hitting two clutch free throws to give the Huskers the late lead.
I think every Nebraska fan was thinking the same thing with 4 minutes left in the game..."What a great victory! We look good, maybe we can make a run at winning the Big 12 tournament." Then again we were all thinking the same thing with 1:30 remaining, "I can't believe we're going to lose this game, this feels just like the Big 12 championship in football."
Then Richardson just kept showing up, he played his ass off yesterday except for missing the front end of a 1-1 that could have all but put Texas away with a few minutes remaining. This was the Richardson that we expected to see this year. There was a stint where you weren't sure if NU was going to be capable of pulling it out but Brandon kept driving aggressively to the bucket and sending a message to Texas and his own team "We're winning today, not you."
Toney McCray had 14, Jorge Brian Diaz and Andre Almeida were both in double figures with 10 and 11, respectively. Eshaunte Jones added 9 with some big threes that helped push that lead bigger. It was an all around great team effort. Nebraska outrebounded the Longhorns 31-28 and that was a big question coming in to the game.
There are always upsets where the underdog finds a way to stay in the game and the win feels like a miracle for them. This was not that kind of upset. Texas was the team that was lucky to be in the game. We overmatched them with the exception of two minutes near the end. This was the Husker team that had a 10pt lead at KU in the second half but with an upgrade to the W. I remember at the beginning of the season we were rolling heading into Mizzou and played them close then the close loss to KU in Lawrence and the Huskers were brimming with confidence. Somewhere along the line we lost that attitude and we may have regained that yesterday. A lot of Nebraska's wins this year haven't been that fun to watch, but this was the most fun a Husker game has been all season by far.
Ok, so now what? We have Kansas State at home on Wednesday. If we can finish 3-1 we put ourselves in great position to make the NCAA tournament. We can't afford to lose more than once though and if we lose to K State we have to win three in a row including two road games where we haven't fared well this season.
It looks to me like we have a great shot to pass Baylor for the sixth selection from the Big 12. Both of us are 6-6 in the league but they finish @ Mizzou, Texas A&M, @ Oklahoma State, Texas. They could easily go 1-3 in that stretch.
Around the League
Texas Tech pulled a huge upset victory at Baylor and the rest went as predicted except for I thought OSU would pull it out against A&M but lost by one. Kansas State won big over Oklahoma and they will pull into Lincoln on quite a roll.
Around the Country
In games of interest to Husker fans there were a few bubble teams I mentioned in yesterday's column that could play a role in determining our NCAA chances.
Marquette beat Seton Hall to improve their resume. West Virginia pulled a huge upset over Notre Dame, also not good for the Huskers, and Cincinnatti won in over time over Providence. Georgia beat Tennessee and Butler won by 27. All wins for teams that are currently ahead of Nebraska, but with our huge win and big games left to play we control our destiny and that's all you ask for at this point.
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