To the fans of Nebraska Cornhuskers basketball who are ready to plant a tombstone on the Big Red’s March Madness hopes: pump the brakes. I’m not going to lie and say that Nebraska’s 60-49 road loss to the Illinois Fighting Illini doesn’t greatly impact the Huskers’ chances, but as Tim Miles told the Lincoln Journal Star, this team isn’t dead yet.
The Nebraska team that took to the floor Wednesday Night was trying to stamp their ticket to the Big Dance. I appreciate the way they adjusted after being left for dead earlier in the year. However, Nebraska knew that if it punked the Illini on the road, their resume would look even better in a hurry. The good news is that the Northwestern Wildcats will visit the Huskers’ home court on Saturday.
“The Vault” has been Big Ten kryptonite. They also get the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers within their friendly confines. A win over the Badgers would partially help put the stumble at Champaign, IL. behind them. Fortunately, Miles’ squad also gets one more shot to improve a horrid road record. The Indiana Hoosiers lost earlier in the season to Nebraska, but that was a home game for the Big Red.
If the Huskers can’t win a final road game, those dancing shoes may have to wait another year. However (and I realize I’m stretching), if Miles’ crew can barrel their way to 20 wins via the Big Ten tourney, they should get some consideration. We’re talking about college basketball’s premier conference’s tournament, after all.
Regardless of Nebrasketball’s postseason destination, Miles has achieved yet another impressive accomplishment in only his second year. That’s not to say that fans don’t care about the idea of being a highly-seeded NIT team. They know Miles and his team are well aware they should be in the big boy’s tournament this year.
This is new territory for a program that’s been shrugging its shoulders come March for years. Call it a sense of entitlement picked up far too early, but fans have bought into what Miles believes and knows where this team can be. Michigan State‘s Tom Izzo referred to this season’s squad as “junkyard dogs”.
I think we’ll see that team again more often than not before 2014 is over.
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