If I was a good blogger, I would have started this feature a few months back. But I'm a half-assed blogger, so you'll just have to live with getting it now (and for the duration of the season). What is it? Pretty simple: I ask questions of an opposing team's blogger, they answer. A truly revolutionary idea, no? Next up: Friend of the Pants Brian Speers from SBN's excellent Nebraska blog, Corn Nation.
1) How has Year One in the Big Ten gone for you guys? Record-wise, the answer would seem to be "not good" (4-12). Is this about what you expected? Better? Worse? Are you hopeful for the future? Just happy you don't have to deal with Bill Self beating your brains in twice a year?
Kansas wasn't as depressing a situation as one might think. Sure, we only managed to win a midget's handful of games against them since the Nixon administration, but that doesn't paint the whole picture. Nebraska was surprisingly competitive with those guys over the years, and despite coming up short time and time again, we at least found ourselves in a position to win quite frequently. Kind of like Robert Downey Jr. at the Oscars.
The first year in the Big Ten for us has been about as thorough of an initiation as one could expect. I was probably the most optimistic guy when the season started, calling for 7-8 wins in the league, but even I wasn't ready for the blender that has been the Big Ten this season. It's brutal, and while that will be a positive thing for bubble teams on selection Sunday, it didn't help Nebraska one bit. If anything, it showed us what we need to get competitive, and by that I mean "where can we find 6'11" guys who don't move like their feet are encased in cinder blocks". We're hopeful for the future, but that future is still very foggy right now. Once the coaching situation is worked out and the arena is completed, we'll know a bit more.
2) Sunday, Iowa played Illinois, where Bruce Weber is very much on the proverbial hot seat. Today, they play Nebraska, where Doc Sadler's seat appears to be getting a bit toasty. One: is Iowa some sort of college hoops Typhoid Mary, spreading death and destruction (but not necessarily losses) in their wake? Two: how much danger is Doc Sadler really in? In my experience, it's a bad sign when boosters are taking out full-page ads in support of you. Are you still on #TeamSadler or are you looking for an exit strategy?
I'd say Doc's seat went "burnt toast" about two weeks ago. Maybe I'm adding fuel to the fire, but I just can't see him staying around any longer. He's a great guy, and a lot of people like him, but a lot of people like Kirk Cameron too. He's just in over his head a bit in Lincoln, and I've tried to stick with the guy as long as I could, but even I've reached my limits. And it's not an issue of ability, because I think Doc has a lot of basketball knowledge. It's more about what fits Nebraska's need right now, and that need is not a soft-spoken guy who charms everyone with his southern sensibilities. Take that crap back to UTEP. We need passion, and a guy who will expect fundamentals to be there. Iowa fans should now realize what kind of immediate turnaround can occur when you replace a virtual statue, with a guy who throws shit. Now, I'm not advocating the chair-heave, but let's be frank....Bobby Knight got it done. Fran is getting it turned around after the Lickliter era, and those guys didn't do it by revealing some magical new playbook that fixes everything. The last guy we had who risked a "coronary event" whenever he got upset, was Danny Nee...and he is revered as Nebraska's most successful basketball coach. And - he got us to "the Dance".
3) As we know, Brandon Richardson went off like an M80 when Iowa and Nebraska played a month ago, scoring 25 points. My crack research staff has indicated that was a career high for Mr. Richardson. I'm going to assume (or at least pray) that won't happen again, but still: which former Husker basketball legend possessed him that night -- Tyronn Lue, Eric Piatkowski, or Mikki Moore?
You have to go with the Polish Rifle on that one. As a shooter, B-Rich is fairly consistent, and if compared to Bo Spencer
...he is a freaking slab of granite. You can't really ask for more than what Richardson has given over his four years in Lincoln. He's not having his best season from an offensive perspective, but like I said...he's remained a consistent starter in the lineup now for a long time, and he can certainly light up the scoreboard if he get's hot. I wouldn't count on it tonight however, as we usually only see that kind of game once per season out of him if we're lucky. I'd say he's more likely to go for ten or twelve against Iowa. I've always been surprised that a guy from L.A. can play as stiff as he does sometimes, and I often wonder if he didn't play with too many privileged white kids in high school. But to be fair...he's playing in Doc's system, which means "pass the ball around the perimeter until the crowd starts counting down from 5".
4) Be honest: are you still mad that we stole Andre Woolridge away from you guys? Just a little? Sure, it was almost 20 years ago, but... Dre was good. Really damn good.
Still mad? You stole a basketball player from us during the apex of Nebraska's football existence, so I wonder how many people even noticed. But yeah, it stings whenever you lose a guy like that. Didn't he end up as Iowa's all time leading scorer? Bastard. (Surprisingly, Dre only ranks 9th all-time in scoring at Iowa. -- Ed.) We lost Ron Kellogg to Kansas back in the 80s, so I guess we're used to that kind of thing. Something about being a Benson Bunny, I suppose, that makes people want to cut loose to Iowa City...(Woolridge, Kinnick)
5) Is Bo Spencer by any chance just a good ol' boy, never meanin' no harm, beats all you ever saw, been in trouble with the law since the day he was born?
He could be. I mean, he has the name and is from the south....but I don't think it's that kind of "south" where he used to play. Any 1970s vehicle in his old neighborhood may be outfitted with chrome rims and hydraulics, not a confederate paint job. I don't recall ever hearing that Bo engaged in any tomfoolery with the local law, although he had plenty of struggles with the classroom at LSU. He's seems like a good guy, and he really does play hard. He's about as streaky as washing windows with a stick of butter, but he typically finds ways to get points. You need to watch out for this guy if he plays tonight, which is likely. He was held to just two points against MSU, and I don't see him repeating that performance. Plus, it's senior night...and he seems to thrive on the "moment".
6) Finally, prediction time -- who ya got?
Surprisingly, I think Nebraska takes this one. It's easy to pick out problems with the Husker basketball team...but fans (myself included) are just a bit disappointed. I really do think that we have a team that can do damage if they come together and play tight. We saw what NU can do against both Indiana and Illinois. (I'd like to point out that the Indiana win wasn't our crowning achievement this season for Nebraska. That would be making Myers Leanord cry like a girl on the bench in Lincoln. Not because we like to hurt others, or watch people cry for crying's sake..we aren't sadists. It's just that we - like any other sports fans- enjoy the feeling of total dominance over our opponent. Like the '95 Fiesta Bowl...Spurrier's face may have shown utter disbelief on camera, but inside...it was an ugly-cry for sure.)
It's a home game, which means very little this season unfortunately, but it's the last home game. It's senior night, and I think the emotions could be running high. I'm gonna say that Nebraska frustrates Gatens enough with some high intensity defense, and we get a solid performance from Caleb Walker
and Bo Spencer on Senior night. Huskers 70 Hawkeyes 67
Now stay away from Benson High School, we need everyone we can get.
Thanks for being a good sport, Brian. Be sure to check out Brian and the rest of the CN gang over at Corn Nation. The Iowa-Nebraska game is in Lincoln, NE on Wednesday, February 29rd at 8pm CT, with television coverage from ESPNU.