Sunday, January 21, 2007

Credit to Steve Pederson: A Thumbs Up to Doc Sadler

As this Husker basketball season has unfolded, I've become more and more impressed with Doc Sadler and the job he's doing this season with a short roster he inherited in August. Certainly the odds were stacked against Sadler this season. The uncertainty surrounding the coaching staff left holes in the incoming recruiting class this season. The schedule was a travel agent's dream with road trips to New Jersey one week, Portland the next, Hawaii a week later, and then Miami. Then, as the season began, the short-handed roster got even shorter as injuries took their toll.

But an amazing thing has happened in Lincoln... this team hasn't gone into the dumpster. They are #88 in the RPI and have a realistic shot at having a halfway decent season.

Even the crowds are starting to return to the Devaney Center... selling 11,000 tickets on a snowy night to yesterday's game against Colorado.

That's not to say that all is right in Lincoln. Two poor second half performances at Oklahoma and Iowa State led Sadler to call a 5:30 am practice on Thursday... less than 6 hours after their plane returned from Norman. Some people called it insane, but that wasn't so much about winning games in January, but rather winning games later. Sadler came to Nebraska promising that nobody would outwork his team, and when Nebraska mailed it in last week, Sadler acted. Certainly the effort was better in a 71-50 stampede of the Buffies.

All in all, Sadler is doing a pretty good job. Last summer, things looked extremely uncertain with respect to Husker hoops, so the fact that Nebraska is even being mentioned as being on the NCAA bubble is a positive sign.

I criticized Steve Pederson for his handling of Barry Collier, and that criticism still stands. But, Pederson deserves credit for quickly identifying and hiring Doc Sadler. At this point, Doc looks like a winner.

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