To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the demise of the Husker basketball season this afternoon were greatly exaggerated. After the last week, it's easy to see why most folks didn't give Nebraska much of a chance...but to tell you the truth, tracking the score from work, I wasn't completely surprised by the early parts of the game. As I admitted earlier, I haven't watched a lot of Husker basketball this season, but they've had stretches where they've played well. Certainly well enough that they probably could have been a .500 team in the conference if they hadn't collapsed in the final five minutes of some games.
What surprised me is that when Missouri went on a run in the final five minutes, Nebraska didn't fold this time. Brandon Richardson nails a clutch three while getting fouled, then hits the free throw with under four minutes to go. Then, when Missouri went on an 8-0 run, you could almost hear the muttering across the state "here they go again" Yet they went out and made their free throws, and finished off the listless Tigers.
Great win? Absolutely. But Nebraska basketball is still down to their final loss in all likelihood. CBI? CIT? That's a stretch for a sub .500 team, even from the best conference in college basketball.
Can they repeat the formula from today? It starts with great shooting, and Nebraska shot nearly 56% from the field. Getting Bear Jones and Ryan Anderson back on the floor was a huge lift. Interesting that Christian Standhardinger didn't play as Doc Sadler went for a more defensive performance. Only 9 guys played, which probably won't work tomorrow playing for the second straight day. Standhardinger will have to play, if only to give the others a break.
Nothing to lose tomorrow for the Huskers; the season is already lasting longer than many thought. I wonder how many Husker fans left the Sprint Center needing to go find a hotel room? (Then I realized that most of them planned to stick around to watch the Husker women, who play on Friday.) So the "off day" will have some Husker hoops after all.