Friday, January 27, 2012
Nebraska traveled to Iowa City last night and beat a team that is currently its peer in the middle-to-bottom of the Big 10. We say currently, because as Ken Sadler keeps whiffing on the little in-state talent Nebraska does have, Iowa has raked in its share of talented, local recruits.
Nonetheless, NU beat the Hawkeyes on this night where it matters most, in a surprisingly entertaining 79-73 game. PYB made its first wise call in a couple weeks by trusting our instincts and not betting the game with Iowa -4.5. (We also ignored 'advisors' who told us North Carolina, the Nebraska/Iowa overs and Hawaii were golden and missed out on a 3-0 night..but we digress.)
During pre-game research, we were a bit surprised to see just how competitive the Huskers had been (relatively, of course) on the road, away from the 5,000 basketball dullards that help half-fill the Devaney Center and create one of the lamest environments in major college basketball. Outside of the bottle blasting NU took in Columbus against the Suckeyes, the rest of the road slate went as follows: win at USC (sure they suck but it's a road win and it's NU), 10-point, competitive loss to 15th-ranked Creighton, win at TCU, near miss at previously-ranked Illinois, near miss at Wisconsin.
Now add a six-point win at Iowa. For a team that's struggled as mightily as Nebraska and trailed by nine early in the game, that's huge and we'll take it. Baby steps. So, as we move on, Sadler & company have a chance to win their next six games. Not all of them, but they could win any of them. Three wins in that stretch would be commendable and would keep NU out of the conference cellar--always a good thing---especially for a coach hoping to keep his job a while longer.
--PYB favorite Brandon Richardson led the way with 25 points and six three-pointers. He looked confident shooting from outside Thursday, as he does once a season. Something tells us that the right coach could have made a monster out of Richardson, who seems too passive most nights despite his consistently good defensive play. He's kept his mouth shut, worked hard and stuck it out through five tough years in Lincoln. Hopefully, he can finish his last season with a flourish.
--Bo Spencer chipped in 16 points, which is noteworthy considering that he spent half his time on the offensive end dribbling up, over and around double teams from Iowa's Nazi-esque, skinheaded forwards. It's a shame Spencer can't play with some better talent so we can see his full capabilities. He's the best scorer NU has had since Tyronn Lue. No question.
--George Diaz continued cementing his place as one of the biggest pussies in NU hoops history. PYB will take it a bit easy on him, as we don't know how bad his feet really are. But, at this point, we're not even sure he can jump and his two rebounds aren't enough either way. A strong, healthy & aggressive (oxymoron, we know) Diaz should have had 15 and 10 minimum, last night. Amazingly, the team said the game turned when Nebraska started putting the ball inside to he post. No shit?!
With that said, NU is off for a week until they travel to Northwestern Thursday to avenge that nasty football loss in Lincoln. Can't wait!
Finally, off topic, PYB would like to take this time to honor a former classmate & teammate who was killed in a car accident two days ago on his way to work as a Lincoln police officr. He was a great guy, much better than we are---and it's a tragic end to a too-short life. RIP Tony.