Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday was the best of times here at PYB, then it was the worst of times. Highs and lows abound. As usual, let's begin with the lows.
The lows came at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Neb., as the Cornhuskers floundered throughout their game with Kansas State and eventually pissed away a 61-57 decision. PYB collected a winning wager ticket on the Mildcats at +2, as we saw this coming after the bottle blasting the Huskers took in Manhattan.
Last night's loss was more about Kansas State being a bad matchup for Nebraska than it was a choke job, but let's be clear that both of those factored in. For the second straight game, Jacob Pullen owned Lance Jeter and showed us all the difference between a big-time Division I guard and borderline all-conference guard. Pullen scored 27 points, just two shy than Nebraska's top three scorers combined.
Jeter struggles to check Pullen on defense, as he's just not quick enough. No fault of his. But because of this, in both games against KSU, he's struggled to get into his offensive rhythm and subsequently struggled to get NU's already shaky offense moving.
In both games, he's made more unforced errors than usual and racked up four turnovers with just three assists last night. Even against an underachiever like Kansas State that won't cut it, as Frank Martin's team has big-game experience to draw from while NU just has a bandwagon fan base to supposedly cheer it on. Let's be clear that the crowd was a good one in terms of noise level, but the Devaney was still 2,000 shy of a sellout.
Nebraska didn't play a perfect game (probably below average), but that was the kind of game that could have been affected by an extra 2000 fans going crazy for 40 minutes and making it tough on the Wildcats at the end. In the end, neither the Husker players or fans gave enough.
JB Diaz scored just eight points on four of 12 shooting, as his lack of strength kept him from consistently getting good position for his patented turnaround, twisted-foot jumpers and hooks. "The Bouncer" Andre Almeida was simply too fat and out of shape to keep up with or get his shot off over KSU's more athletic big men. Toney McCray was MIA for the most part.
In the end, though, NU was there with a chance to win the game. Especially after Frarnk Martin's bonehead technical foul gave NU a four-point play and got them within one point. But Jeter missed two huge free throws, and then Eshaunte Jones short-armed another. Doc Sadler (although denying it postgame) had Jones miss intentionally. Too early. Bad call. You must extend the game here and make KSU win the game themselves.
Doc didn't give enough last night, either. But when your team spends 38 minutes making mistakes (17 turnovers.....10 in one 16-possession stretch in the first half), it's hard to make up for it at the end by picking the right miss-or-make free throw strategy.
Pullen's monster game just magnified NU's need for a prime time player and scorer. All the role players are in place. Can they get over the hump and get one or two difference makers? We shall see.
What also remains to be seen is if NU rallies around this loss, realizing KSU is a hard matchup for them, and gets a tough road win at Ames on Saturday? ISU is always a tough game, regardless of how bad they are. And they are bad this year. One game does not a season make, or break. Had you told PYB that NU would go 1-1 these last two games, we would have taken it and run. It's the big picture that matters, and the next three games will finish that portrait.
Now, for the BEST of times. Tiger Woods continued his fall into oblivion with a first-round loss to Thomas Bjorn at the Accenture Match Play Championship. Even better, was the way he choked it away on the first extra hole. Perhaps there's another shit tournament in the Middle East that will pay you $5 million to play there since you can't earn any prize money.
Still, anyone who is "SHOCKED" by a top-seeded player losing early in this match-play format knows nothing about golf. The top 64 player are so good and so close in ability that anything can happen. All the radio hacks and ESPN puppets will be horrified, but that's the way it goes. Not that we don't enjoy it, especially as the television ratings will surely tumble as all the NASCAR and Raider fans won't tune in to see the nerd in his Sunday red.
Interesting bet here....if anyone can find the bet link let us know! Here's a recap of a few more.
Great stuff here, as Tim Floyd gets ejected during UTEP's 83-76 loss at East Carolina. Old school type ejection.