It appears as if Sadler's approval rating has hit an all-time low, but that doesn't mean everyone is ready to throw him under the bus.
"You know, he could care less about what's happening, and that's what I respect about Coach Sadler," said senior Brandon Richardson after Wednesday's disappointing loss. "It's about the team and the team only. Coach Sadler is behind us. He's not looking about what's going on outside. He's worried about the team and the team only."
Yes, a typical response from a fifth-year senior on senior night. But, at least someone still has his back.
Sadler easily could have blamed his players' talent, or his team's lack of depth throughout the year. Or injuries. Or the strength of the Big Ten.
But how many times have you heard Sadler berating his players? And compare that to how many times you've heard him take complete responsibility. Something that hasn't gone unnoticed in the locker room.
"I commend Coach Sadler for what he's been going through," Richardson said. "Like I said, I'm behind him, 100 percent."
And that's a good sign for a team looking to gain some much needed momentum before the Big Ten Tournament.
"We'd like to go into the tournament on a winning note—get a little something going, some positive energy," said Brandon Ubel. "Knocking a couple of shots down and getting a win going into the tournament will definitely help us out"
And by "us," he must be referring to everybody other than him.
On Wednesday, Ubel had a career-high 17 points, but Iowa used a 15-3 second-half run to pull away with a 62-53 win at the Devaney Center Wednesday evening.
Ubel was a perfect 7-of-7 shooting from the floor and led all scorers, but the Huskers shot just 36.5 percent from the floor as a team in dropping to 12-16 overall and 4-13 in the Big Ten. His 17 points topped his previous high of 15 against Oregon this season as he also added a team-high seven rebounds in a losing effort.
So what's made the big difference?
"I've kind of been a little bit more aggressive in the post making quicker moves," he said. "Just being more aggressive has been the story." And it probably helps that he is now the No. 1 big now that Brian Jorge-Diaz is out for the season.
"It's been different, going up against their biggest, strongest, longest guy every game. It was difficult at first, that's for sure, but you find your groove and your niche a little big—you get angles and make sure you do your work early instead of using one-on-one moves."
Though his numbers have been stellar the past two games, it may be a case of too little, too late. The Huskers will travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday for an 11:30 a.m. matchup with the Gophers.
Ubel will rely on his on-court awareness to help out his teammates on Saturday, an aspect that he feels he has improved upon throughout the year.
"When you're down low, on both offense and defensive, you see everything so you're able to talk to guys a little more and communicate with them because you can see everything in front of you," he said. That's something I've tried to pick up a little bit—just helping guys out a little more."
- Josh Harvey -