Miles Ahead: Odd Scheduling Results in Mid-Season Break, Updated Tournament Chances, Looking Ahead to Minnesota and Rutgers

Photo by Nati Harnik

The past eight days have been relatively calm on the Nebraska basketball front. A few players are battling sickness but recovering, an undercard game took place in Minneapolis before the city’s main event of tonight’s Nebraska vs. Minnesota matchup, and no games. Seriously, a college basketball team went the first weekend of February without playing a game. The odd break in scheduling is thanks to the Big Ten moving their league tournament up a week so they can play at the world-famous Madison Square Garden in New York City.

I’ll go more in-depth about this decision once the tournament rolls around, but the effects of this choice have been felt since the first two conference games in early December. The Huskers are fresh off a three-game win streak, yet the momentum to build on has taken a halt due to this untimely hiatus. Nebraska, and all Big Ten teams, should be playing games late in the season rather than twiddling their thumbs for a week.

In my illustrious career as player I learned many important life lessons: how to perpetually be ready to go without wanting the responsibility of actually playing, how to feast on Skittles mid game, how to think on the fly by ad-libbing conversations in the stands, etc. A minor thing that stuck with me is how much practice drags on near the end of the season.

Practice is second nature by the time the last month rolls around. Weeks blend together, and you become accustomed to a routine of practice and games. However, in the tail end of the season everyone is tired, and a high-energy level becomes difficult to sustain. Games turn into breaks from facing-off against the same teammates on a daily basis.

Nebraska needs game reps to stay sharp and in rhythm. Game speed and practice speed are two completely different animals, and I’m hoping the Huskers can keep their momentum going despite being dealt an unlucky hand with the timing of their schedule.

News From The Week:

  • Former Omaha World-Herald writer Ben Vankat has developed a website dedicated to Nebraska’s NCAA Tournament chances. He currently has the odds at 25%.
  • Joe Lunardi now has Nebraska in the First Four Out. This means Nebraska is just on the outside looking in. The Huskers also received four votes for the AP Poll this week.
  • Vegas remains down on Nebraska. They are currently 3.5-point underdogs against Minnesota as I write this. Absolutely sickening. If I had to put a monetary value on my disgust for this lack of respect it would be $20.
  • St. John’s beat Duke this past weekend coming off 11 straight losses. They had yet to win a game in 2018. Nebraska is now 1-1 against teams who have beaten Duke this season (defeated Boston College on November 29th). This makes Nebraska’s loss to the Red Storm look slightly better, kind of, I guess.

Up next (17-8, 8-4 Big Ten):

  • Tuesday, February 6th: @ Minnesota. Tipoff at 8pm CST. Watch on BTN.
  • Saturday, February 10th: vs. Rutgers. Tipoff at 3pm CST. Watch on BTN.

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