After last weekend's "close but no cigar" weekend against second ranked Notre Dame, I really had high hopes that UNO would make a strong statement against Minnesota State last evening. But last night's 2-2 tie wasn't the statement I was looking for. At times, UNO looked strong, but overall, more like the team that hasn't won in over six weeks. Now UNO has to play the waiting game, rooting for Bowling Green and Michigan to win games this weekend as the Mavs are idle. (Talk about a distasteful task for Mav fans!) UNO currently sits in a 2 way tie for 6th place, but could be passed by Ferris State and Western Michigan in the standings. If that happens, UNO finishes in 9th place, and has to go on the road for the first round of the playoffs.
At the end of regulation last night, we got our coats on and were on our way out the door when the PA announcer mentioned that a shootout would take place. Not sure why: shootouts are meaningless in college hockey except to decide conference standings, so last night's game is officially a tie. So with it long past our daughter's bedtime, we headed home, questioning the point of it. The questioning rose as we walked past the monitors in the concourse showing UNO goalie Jeremie Dupont being assisted by the trainer after tweaking a groin on the first attempt. Turns out Dupont is ok, but the questions about the shootout remain. Perhaps the shootout was beneficial for Minnesota State of the WCHA to experience, but it really didn't make any sense for UNO.
Driving home, I caught the early part of the second half of the Nebraska/Texas A&M basketball game on the radio, and was stunned to find the Huskers up by 18 points. Got hone and took the dog for the walk, only to find the lead had shrunk to a few points in the waning minute. I thought Ade Dagunduro made the play of the game to flip the ball downcourt, but official Tom O'Neill morphed into the CCHA's Brian Aaron by somehow calling icing. (Yes, I know icing only applies to hockey, but it makes as much sense as saying Steve Harley was out of bounds.) So A&M gets the ball back with 5 seconds left, and proceeds to nail a 3 pointer with .8 seconds left. But the clock runs out, in apparent violation of NCAA basketball rule 5, section 10, article 10 which says that the clock stops upon every goal in the final minute. So a spectacular flameout by the Husker basketball team results in another agonizing loss. Is this Nebraska team out of gas? Have all these close losses worn these guys out? Hard to say at this point, but I wouldn't count this team out just yet.
Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star apparently got the inside scoop on Patrick Witt's sudden departure from the Huskers. Bottom line is that the Witt family essentially told Bo Pelini that they wanted to know who the starting quarterback would be at the end of spring practice so that Patrick could transfer somewhere else if he lost the competition. Naturally, Pelini told the Witt's where to place that request. Patrick Witt had to make a decision: stay at Nebraska irregardless of being the starter or backup, or start looking now for a school where he could be assured of being the starting quarterback. Harsh? Perhaps. But the Witt's forced this by implying that he'd transfer if he lost the competition. That's not a team attitude, and I don't blame Pelini one bit for putting his foot down. Best of luck to the Witt family in finding a school better suited to him.
Kevin Kugler and Mike'l Severe of 1620 the Zone brought up the economy today and how that affects the financing plans of the downtown stadium. Certainly travel is down, keno revenues will be down. But the financing plans did have contingencies with a buffer to ensure that the plan could withstand some amount of revenue shortfalls, but as you may have noticed, nobody last year envisioned the depth of this economic downfall. But in my mind, the question isn't whether the downtown stadium is going to happen: it's already under construction. The question is: how the heck does Sarpy County pull off a second stadium in this environment? Sounds like we might get some answers next week. Will I be eating my words? We'll see.