MBB:Huskers romp 'Buffs

Nebraska looked to carry the momentum from two huge wins over Top five ranked, Oklahoma State and one of if not the hottest team in the conference, Iowa State. Colorado was a win they were supposed to get, but consistency has been the bane of this team this year. The Huskers did what they could to get rid of that monkey, though, taking it to the Colorado Buffaloes and never looking back, NU rolling CU, 70-55

        Momentum is a key instrument for all great college basketball teams. It can propel them to victories game after game. The psychology of what is going on in the minds of college kids often determines who wins the conference. Coaches in the Big XII certainly don't qualify as psychologists, but don't think they aren't noticing the great vibe coming from the Nebraska basketball team. The Huskers (14-12, 7-8) continued their roller coaster season with an impressive 70-55 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes. It was the last regular season home game for Nebraska and the four seniors were honored before the game. Coach Barry Collier had nothing but good things to say about the four seniors. "There are many, many positives about this senior class. Most of all they've been great models for our team in the weight room, on the court and in the classroom. Their work ethic and team-first attitude have been outstanding. They played hard and made great progress."

        Joe McCray scored 21 points on 7-14 shooting, including five three-pointers. He gains another MVP of the game from me. McCray is simply instant offense for the Huskers. Whenever he leaves the court it appears as though the players would like him to shoot from the bench. I have a feeling McCray would step up and shoot from there.

        Nebraska shot 46% from the field and 50% from three-point land. It was a solid offensive outing for the Huskers all game long. The passing was sharp and everyone looked to find the open man against the Buffaloes. Nebraska won almost every major statistical category and dominated Colorado from start to finish. Just as Colorado would cut the lead back to 10 points, Nebraska would hit a couple shots and take the wind out of the Buffaloes. Colorado's shooting luck didn't change much after switching baskets at halftime. Of course, the ball never goes in when the opposing team is swatting it away in the air. The Huskers had 12 blocks as a team, led by John Turek with seven rejections. "John is a good jumper and his timing is good. On a lot of the blocks, he was coming off another man and showed good anticipation. Some of that came from Colorado not making their outside shots early and guys trying to beat their man one-on-one," said Collier.

It is difficult to imagine that these are the same Huskers who played through a rough stretch during the middle of the season. No scoring would come consistently and the Huskers lost close games because of it. The offense consisted of five players standing around and watching the shot clock. Nebraska's version of the Princeton offense that relied on precision passing from big men and back cuts from all angles simply was not progressing as Coach Barry Collier had envisioned. The past few weeks the light turned on for Nebraska and they started attacking on offense and scoring whenever the defense would break down. It has been a thing of beauty for all Husker fans the past few weeks as Nebraska has shot much better and brought a more up-tempo game that the fans enjoy. Oh yeah, and Collier enjoys it more too because the Huskers are finally winning games they are not favored to win.

I have a hunch that most teams don't want to play Nebraska in the postseason conference tournament. When a few players get hot, Nebraska has the potential to be a very dangerous team. The current three game winning streak has made Collier realize the extra effort from the team. "You'd like to think you play with great intensity every week, but there does seem to be a little extra bounce and effort lately. They've never given up and now that we're down to the last few games and its the last home game and they're playing with a little extra edge. We're being more aggressive defensively. We've been a good rebounding team and that's stayed the same. We're being more aggressive with defense, block outs and chasing down loose balls. I thought Colorado was fighting as well."

A victory over Kansas State on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. would almost guarantee an NIT bid for the Huskers. I want more than that though. I would love to see Nebraska keep at the top of this roller coaster all the way through the conference tournament and win a few games. I think the rest of Husker Nation would like that as well.

Quotes courtesy of NU Sports Information


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