Not your grandpa's Nebraska basketball team

Don't talk to Tim Miles about any Nebraska basketball curse. He says this team doesn't carry the baggage of the past.

LINCOLN, Neb. - As I drove to the arena to see Nebraska's final regular season game on Sunday afternoon, I was chatting on the phone with my 82-year old buddy Neal Devlin – a lifelong Husker fan.

I have mentioned Neal before in other stories. He's one of those Nebraska athletic historians I really like talking with. He always seems to put things in perspective.

As the conversation was wrapping up, Neal said, "I'm just ready for this thing to be pulled out underneath us."

Neal was likely echoing the thoughts of many Nebraska basketball fans before tipoff against No. 9 Wisconsin.

But Sunday evening's contest taught Husker fans a valuable lesson going forward – this is not your grandpa's Nebraska basketball team. They can play with anybody.

The disappointment, heartbreak, and failed expectations of years pass can be left at the door going forward. The talk of only six NCAA appearances and major postseason droughts don't need to be discussed any further.

This is Tim Miles' program now. This is Nebrasketball.

"Don't put that crap on me. This is my program and we don't carry any baggage," said Miles. "Every where we have been, I have been surrounded by great people and we win. And we are going keep doing it.

"All of that curse crap, all of the hexing and vexing crap, all of that bull**** that goes with it, is exactly that…I ignore that."

It's one thing to say he ignores it, but Miles' resume backs up the statement. He's won at all levels, usually taking a team deemed a long-term project for the postseason, and turning them into winners quicker than projected.

It's been sixteen years since Nebraska went to the NCAA tournament in 1998. Miles didn't appreciate the headlines last year, his first season on campus, when they read 15 years without a Nebraska tourney appearance.

"It was like a punch in my gut, because I didn't see it that way," said Miles "I was just there (Colorado State). (Assistant) Chris (Harriman) was just in the second round. (Assistant) Ben (Johnson) was just in the Sweet 16 two years ago. That's not us. That doesn't really exist. That does not exist. So you can reinvent us and leave those (headlines) at home."

They will be retired.

A week from today, it's likely the headlines will read, "the Huskers are going dancing." It should remind fans - this is not your grandpa's Nebraska basketball team.

Bracketology and RPI watch:

After the Huskers 77-68 victory of Wisconsin on Sunday, they moved up to No. 41 in CBS's RPI rankings while No. 35 in ESPN's.

On Sunday evening, CBS projected the Huskers a No. 10 seed in the NCAA tourney, taking on New Mexico in St. Louis. As of 9 a.m. Monday morning, ESPN has not released its new bracketology.

"That's not even a question in my mind when you play like that in this league," said Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan on Nebraska's tourney hopes. "I remember when we were picked last and we tied for the championship. There were still people to the end, until we won our last couple games, like, 'Do you think you'll make the tournament?' We're trying to win the Big Ten. Tim (Miles) was telling me about all the questions you were asking him. All Tim wanted to do was win this 40 minutes. He's like me. Live in the moment. That's how you get to last this long. Tim's young, but he'll last a long time because he's got the right approach. He's got a sense of humor and he's competitive. We could be brothers in another life."

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