Well, that game against Purdue SUCKED. The good news is, Nebraska is coming off a gut-punch loss to Maryland. The bad news? Nebraska is actually good, and an 0-4 start to conference play is very much in play for Iowa basketball.
Ben Ross: I had the pleasure of watching the Nebraska-Maryland game in basically its entirety Wednesday night. Is Nebraska prone to late-game collapses? Please tell me it is!
Pat Gerhart: They really haven’t been too prone to them. If they do have issues it usually pops up early in the game and then plagues them as the game goes on. For example, there’s always a chance Nebraska will hit a scoring drought early on and the ripple effects will be felt as the game goes down to the last few minutes. If they shoot themselves in the foot, it is usually because of what they did early on.
If you want to blame anything, blame the 1-3-1 defense. Tim Miles did...
BR: Nebraska has not allowed a team to shoot over 50 percent in 38 of its last 39 games. Who or what is the catalyst for the Husker defense, and are you just licking your chops knowing you’re about to go against a team that struggles mightily in making baskets for stretches?
PG: Even in the lean years Nebraska has usually suited up fairly good defensive teams. The Huskers are not one of the biggest teams in the conference. Something you probably noticed in the Maryland loss. However, the starting five have played together long enough to know where they are and what they are doing when defending. Isaac Copeland, Glynn Watson Jr., and James Palmer Jr. are the veterans of this years squad and their experience has paid dividends when pressuring a team to make poor decisions on offense.
They don’t necessarily do anything special but what they do they do well with the size and talent they have on the floor.
BR: Is this the kind of team where if James Palmer Jr. doesn’t go off, you’re in for a bad time, or is this enough talent on this roster to get over the hump if we can somehome keep him under his season average of 20 points a game?
PG: It really depends. He’s a huge producer for the team and you can tell when his shooting has gone dry. However, guys like Copeland and Roby have stepped up when needed this year and it has helped cover any dry spell Palmer has had. Though this isn’t always the case and if a team can take advantage of it they surely can. The ability of the team to take the reins when this happens has gradually improved as the year has gone on.
BR: How’s the feeling around Tim Miles? Nebrasketball seems to be BACK at times, then they go and piss down their leg against Maryland. Is it tourney or bust for him this year?
PG: Great question. A lot of people think so but he also got over his Greg McDermott and Creighton hump this year so that could very well buy him a little time. But, he has been here long enough that no matter what happens he might be gone if he doesn’t make the tournament.
He was riding high until the Maryland loss on Wednesday. Then everything that people have been holding back on him came out. This isn’t football so Nebrasketball fans have a bit more patience but when you see a lot of the same problems that they have had in the past pop then folks will start to get wrestless.
In all honesty, I think he would be gone if he didn’t make the tournament this year but I could be wrong.
BR: Why are there so many guys named Jr. on your team?
PG: It has to do with a really bad car loan with Weird Wally in Lincoln, Nebraska’s exit out of the Big 12, and a three year agreement with Carl’s Jr. Don’t ask about the details because I don’t know. That was all finalized under our last athletic director Shawn Eichorst and he’s now down in Texas.
BR: FINALLY, WHO YA GOT?
PG: In all honesty, I can see this going either way. Nebraska could be in trouble if the fans show up in support of the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. Very few Big Ten venues are friendly. However, they might push through any distractions after the heartbreaking loss to Maryland. I am going to pull a homer and pick Nebraska to win.
University of Nebraska 73 University of Iowa 68