Monday, January 14, 2008

Better late than never: NU vs. KU hoops

Going in to Saturday night's game against Kansas, the only hope I had was that the Huskers would score more than last year's dismal total of 39 points. They did -- the final was 79-58 -- but I still wasn't completely happy.

This year's Jayhawks are scary; I don't think I've ever seen a college basketball team like them. I now have nightmares about KU's Brandon Rush being open for a shot outside the arc. It doesn't matter what type or skill level of defense KU's opponents put on the court; nothing can stop the 'Hawks for very long. They don't make mistakes, they don't waste possessions; this is a team that hands their opponent nothing.

Having said all of that, I still think Nebraska could have made it a better game. It stands to reason that if Nebraska wanted to make a statement with this game, somebody would have to have a career night. We'd need a 30-point performance from Aleks Maric, or double-digit assists from somebody; something like that. Instead, nobody scored more than Maric's 19, and no Husker had more than three assists. Ade Dagunduro was downright disappointing, with zero points, and only one assist in 20 minutes of play. My group of Red Zone (our student section) buddies is particularly attached to Mr. Dagunduro, so it was especially sad for us that he had such a bummer of a game on national TV.

Like I said, my original hope for Saturday's game was for more than 39 Husker points. We got that, but I was still disappointed. To me, that speaks volumes about the level of quality that 2nd-year head coach Doc Sadler expects from his team, and wants the fans to expect as well. For this game to be simply "Not a total embarrassment" is no longer enough for Nebrasketball fans. We're historically* used to expecting quality from many sports: football, volleyball, baseball, wrestling, soccer, and so on. It's high time we get to add men's basketball to that list.

The team had a strong non-conference showing, posting an 11-2 record with zero losses at home. Now that conference play is here, we'll get to see if the Huskers are a true 3-loss team or if their schedule was easier than others (I think they are), and if Kansas is as good as their undefeated record suggests (I think they are).

*Please take special notice of the word "historically." I know all too well that some of the programs had off-years this year, but Husker fans still expect the best. It's the Nebraska way.

Now it is time for an adventure at the library. I heard that the building has half-floors, like the 7-and-a-halfth floor in Being John Malkovich. Fact? Fiction? I don't know. Onward I go, then, to discovery!


Anonymous said...

Not to put too fine a point on the 2nd game of the conference season, but if Nebraska has any hopes of making a push for the NCAA tournament, it has to start with a win in Boulder tonight against CU. Looks like it's tied nearing halftime.

I wasn't impressed with my first look at Nebraska on Sat. but Kansas is an admittedly extremely difficult assignment. OU looked pitiful last night as well. Missouri gets their shot this coming Sat.

Minda said...

The way Nebraska played just now makes me want to punch a baby or trample a field of flowers. That was the worst excuse for Division I ball I've seen in my time here at Nebraska. This team was NOT the team about which I was so excited a month ago after a win over Oregon. The team that played tonight...I could have beaten them.

Nobody hustled. Nobody thought about what they were doing. It was like watching a junior high girls' game. Quite frankly, I am PISSED. Ball movement? Fundamentals? What are those things?

I have been told that it is not a good idea to share ideas when I am enraged, so I will stop. But Andy, I hope you don't think this is what Nebrasketball is always like. If they always played like this, I would have gouged out both of my own eyes, Oedipus style, long ago.