Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What, exactly, is being exhibited?

On a scale of 1-10, because I really love scales of 1-10, I would say that my love for college basketball is somewhere around a 9.999998. Even if I don't know the ins and outs of every team the way I try to know, say, pro baseball, I still love the energy that exudes from college courts all around the country. It's one of those sports that I can watch at any time, regardless of who is playing.

However, I despise exhibition games. I didn't even really realize that until last night, when I caught Nebraska's exhibition game against Wayne State University. (It was NU's second such game, but I missed the first one due to academic engagement.) I happily indulged in all the spectacle of the Husker student section, known as the Red Zone. It was fun as always, though I was dismayed to find new bleachers with wide stairways that seem to cut down on the number of seats. On the other hand, the new bleachers have no gaps under the benches, so I will never again drop my coat, cell phone, rally towel, or pizza down to the floor.

Anydangway, I had this happy little vision in mind where I'd go to this game, and get a really clear sense of how the Huskers were going to be this year. But I forgot just how bad exhibition games were for that purpose. The opponents are small state colleges that, considering Nebraska is a Division I school, should not stand a chance. It could really be embarrassing for them. But nobody plays hard, so I'm not sure why it's given a title other than "scrimmage which some fans pay to attend." Most of the older players play like they take for granted that we know who they are and what they can do, and that brings the level of play of the younger players down a notch or two as well.

However, I saw enough last night to know I should be excited about two new faces on the Husker team this year. They're both small, scrappy guys who I'm guessing can put up a good fight. They are junior guard Steve Harley and freshman guard Cookie (yes, Cookie) Miller.

In addition to having hair I could be friends with, Harley (shown at right) has already shown he's willing to work hard, after pushing to finish enough school during the summer so that he could be eligible to attend the University. Even though last night was a "blah" exhibition game, I could see why the Sporting News said he's the #4 shooting guard in the country.

Miller's bio page describes him as "explosive," which is unfortunate because that's the word I wanted to use, but it's been done. But "explosive" is what he is, and I can't wait to see him get rolling once the real season starts.

Which reminds me (hat tip to Mikhail for this), the mascot of Presbyterian College, the team against which Nebraska opens the regular season on Saturday, is...the Blue Hose.

Like...this one?

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