Friday, January 20, 2012
Nebraska...The Slipper Still Fits
Going into Wednesday evening's game against Indiana, PYB thought the best reason to watch the game was the fact that a pair of Johnsons -- Gus and Eddie -- was announcing the game. Gus, of Rise & Fire fame, is the better known of the announcing pair. Eddie has been a longtime Phoenix Suns analyst and is certainly the more underrated of the two. "No doubt about it...."
Throughout the first half, we were impressed with NU's effort and were surprised that the talent difference didn't seem to be outrageously different. IU was much more solid fundamentally and shot the ball much better, but at least George Diaz wasn't getting dunked on and getting smacked in the face with the other guy's nut sack....."Puuure!"
Cracks soon developed, though, as NU couldn't penetrate the Hoosier defense and lived up to its reputation as the worst half-finishing team in college basketball history. As usual, the Huskers wasted 17 minutes of solid play and turned a two-point deficit into a seven-point gap at the break. "Bang!"
After another deflating first-half finish, NU started the second stanza with zero attitude and energy and promptly fell behind by 13 points when Cody Zeller dunked to make it 49-36. Another big loss with an early exiting crowd was in store. Eddie Johnson was mystified by the Huskers' lack of fire -- "No Doubt About It..."
So PYB kept watching while surfing the internet and watching the Twitter folks throw dirt on the Huskers' grave. Somehow, the lead dwindled. Somehow, Nebraska got within striking distance. Somehow, Nebraska won. "What a game!"
In our eyes, IU's main advantage over NU was Zeller and its better outside shooting. The Hoosiers forgot to keep Zeller involved, which took away outside opportunities. Simple game. Apparently hard lessons to remember. "Ballgame!"
Nebraska hit 10 of 30 threes, including two timely/lucky ones by Butterfingers Toney McCray. They shot 38% for the game. Somehow Bo Spencer ground his way to 23 points despite being Nebraska's only legitimate scoring threat. Dylan Talley and Brandon Richardson each made huge defensive plays late. But, they turned it over just 11 times, played hard defense and gave themsevles a chance to win. That's all you can ask from a team devoid of talent. "There's no doubt about it."
Ken Sadler looked both happy and relieved after the win, even taking the time to mosh around with the nerd-laded NU student section. (Click here for Exhibit A) In pure Lincoln fashion, the song of choice was several years out of date. A fun moment, nonetheless.
The win was 'huge' in relative terms. Ken and Co. are still 2-5 in Big 10 play. But, after they take a sure bottle-blasting against Ohio State this weekend, NU has at least a chance in its next seven games. A win against the Suckeyes ain't happening. The Huskers have nobody to control a player as strong as Jared Sullinger..."Here comes the All-America!"
They're outmatched everywhere else too. But -- if NU can win three or four of the next seven, that's at least respectable and would be a success for this team. "There's no doubt about it."
So in the moribund state of NU hoops, the program owns bragging rights for a year over a storied Indiana program and the Ghost of Larry Bird.......Maybe!?