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Packing the house and some punch

January 24, 2010 at 5:52pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

Its been about a week and a half but the Nebraska women’s basketball team has picked up two wins in that time frame. The most recent was in front of a near sell out crowd of 13,303 (official BDSC sellout attendance is just over 13,500) the women muscled their way past Kansas State 71-56.  Of course dollar tickets didn’t hurt the attendance but the last home game drew over 7000, so its obvious that Husker Nation is taking notice.  Before the Kansas State game the women picked up their third top 10 win of the year with a 65-56 road win over #9 Baylor.  That win vaulted the women into the top 10 in both the AP and the coaches poll.  And lets see you chew on this one, in his latest Bracketology update, Charlie Creme has placed Nebraska as a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.  Out of everything, that probably is the toughest to get your head around.  Another little nugget since we last talked Wisconsin-Bay, Georgia and Notre Dame lost games so there are two undefeated teams in the nation, Nebraska and UConn.

This team, right now…is a legit Elite Eight contender and has a very good shot at going to the Final Four.  But there is still a long way to go in the Big 12 season just yet.  Just a quarter of the way through, Nebraska still has tough games @ Oklahoma (Feb. 24th), vs. Texas A&M (Feb 6th) and vs. Oklahoma State (Feb 3rd).  The Oklahoma game presents the last major road block on the road.  The OSU game is the next one at home and I encourage everybody to go out and check this team out.

Mama…there goes that girl again.

January 13, 2010 at 5:11pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

The amazing Kelsey Griffin had another outstanding game last night as she paced the Cornhuskers with 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead the #9 and #11 ranked (yep, you’re reading that right) Nebraska Cornhuskers to a 91-79 victory over Texas.  Texas, no slouch at #19 and #22 were neck and neck with the Cornhuskers throughout the first half but Nebraska went on a 13-2 run to start the 2nd half and never looked back. 

Griffin earned some high praise from Vermont head coach Sharon Dawley about Griffin.  “She’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen,” “Maya Moore‘s probably the only person better we’ve seen live.”  (I encourage all of you who don’t know Maya Moore is to click that link to see her accomplishments and what kind of company Coach Dawley is putting Griffin is)

Apparently, Husker Nation is taking notice to.  Just over seven thousand people set foot in the Bob Devaney Sports Center to watch Nebraska.  That’s an amazing turnout for the girls and if they keep winning, you can only expect that number to rise on a weekly basis.

Nebraska’s next game proves to be again another challenge, maybe the biggest one of the season.  The Huskers go on the road to #9 Baylor on Sunday.  It will be a tall task for the Husker women but if they come out of this one as victors…there’s no telling where this team is going to stop.

Folks, I really encourage you to head over to the Devaney and support the women.  Seven thousand is an awesome number but this team is playing out of this world basketball right now and we have a once in a lifetime player on our hands in Griffin.  Nebraska’s next home game will be January 23rd against Kansas State, and you can find the rest of Nebraska’s schedule here.  There are going to be a couple TV appearances down the stretch if you can’t make it to the Bob.  I also encourage you to listen to Matt Coatney on the Husker Sports Network.  Matt is a good friend and the best announcer in the Husker Sports Network stable, IMO.  In Lincoln you can hear the games on Froggy 98 and 93.3 in Omaha.

Edit: I should also throw in a plug for the mens basketball team tonight as they take on #3 Kansas at home tonight.  Its an 8pm tip time and the game will be televised on ESPN2.  It will be a packed house at the BDSC tonight as is every Kansas game, but there are still some tickets left.  This will be a tough one for the men who will have to play the perfect game to beat Kansas.  If they can keep it within the 14 point margin of victory the women beat Texas with…that should be a victory in itself.

And you thought the football team had a good year…

January 9, 2010 at 9:05pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

Folks hold onto your butts cause we are starting to see a potential historic season in Nebraska.  The Nebraska women’s basketball team is off to a Nebraska women’s basketball best, 13-0 start.  The first undefeated non-conference season in school history has been highlighted by one game decided by less than 10 points.  It has also featured probably the biggest win in school history with a 14 point win over the #5 team in the nation at the time, the LSU Tigers.

The women are led by Kelsey Griffin.  Griffin has so far put together a 1st team All-American season and is in the discussion for national player of the year.  She is the real deal.  The senior from Alaska battled an injury last year and did not play.  She has had injury concerns throughout her Husker career but has been one of the best players for Connie Yori.  Griffin is averaging almost 20 points/game and 10 rebounds/game.

To show you how big a season this has been so far, Nebraska started the year unranked and didn’t see the rankings until they played Creighton on Dec. 9th and that was #24.  After their LSU win they vaulted up to 13.  And then they climbed another spot in the polls to #12 and promptly crushed Vermont 94-50 (Vermont was a fringe Top 25 team before the Nebraska game as well).  The buzz word around college basketball is Bracketology and the study of if the tournament started now, where would they be in the tournament.  Again before the LSU game on December 10th ESPN.com had a 10-0 Nebraska as the #4 seed.  Now with conference play starting up, Nebraska is the #3 seed right now.

But it will not be easy for Nebraska in the Big 12.  There are two teams ranked ahead of Nebraska as Baylor is #5 and Texas A&M is #10, Oklahoma and Texas is right behind Nebraska at #14 and #15.  Kansas and Oklahoma St. are ranked as well in the top 25.  This will not be easy for Nebraska.  They start conference play tonight versus Iowa State and have a big game next Tuesday at home versus Texas.

Happy Husker Holiday

January 2, 2010 at 7:50am By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

What team was that?  I should say, what offensive team was that?  Nebraska ran all over Arizona with an easy 33-0 win in the Holiday Bowl.  Did Mike Leech get a one game contract and wear a Shawn Watson mask as our Offensive Coordinator?  Whatever it was, I liked it.

It was a good season for Nebraska, we had a couple opportunities to be much better than our record indicates.  But if you asked a Husker fan before this season would they take B12 North champs and 10 wins, I’d think you’d get a resounding yes from most everybody.  Yes Nebraska was damn close to being in a BCS game (:01) a last second loss to Virginia Tech and a poorly played Iowa State game away from actually being in the national title discussion.  And here’s a shocker, expectations will be very high next year.  I know…who would have thunk it at Nebraska.

The schedule sets up PERFECTLY for Nebraska next year.  The non-conference is as weak as ever.  Western Kentucky, Idaho and South Dakota St. all at home with a trip to Washington. Washington is a tricky team to figure out.  They were 5-7 this year but had quality wins over USC and California and several close losses (by 8 vs. LSU, by 7 to Notre Dame in OT, by 7 to Arizona State and by 1 to Oregon State)  And they have an above average QB (Jake Locker) who was going to be a high draft pick in this years NFL draft had he decided to leave early.  The conference schedule sets up nicely for Nebraska too.  As far as the North is concerned both key games are at home (Mizzou and Kansas).  Mizzou will be improved this year with Gabbert and Kansas could be good with Turner now at the helm, but Nebraska is the clear cut favorite next year.  As for the South opponents, Texas comes to town and very little motivation will be needed to win that game.  Plus, how far do the Longhorns fall off without McCoy at the helm?  Texas is ripe for the picking.  Road games against OSU and aTm aren’t easy but should be winnable.  OU isn’t on the schedule but could be a B12CG opponent and they’re losing a lot and Landry Jones isn’t half the QB that Sam Bradford is.

At first glance there are a lot of W’s on this schedule for Nebraska next year.  I don’t think a 10-2/11-1 regular season is out of the question next year. A birth in the B12CG is almost a necessity and it could be a very winnable game.  A BCS bowl birth (automatic or at-large) is a distinct possibility as well. 

As I said, expectations are high but if everything goes right, Bo Pelini in year 3 could back up his postgame Holiday Bowl comment of “Nebraska is back and here to stay” with a year that could put Nebraska back in the national title discussion.

Heads held high Husker fans

December 6, 2009 at 5:57am By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

Sure things didn’t go our way. Sure 2009 is full of “what if’s”.  But that was an amazing effort in the Big 12 championship game. That was 2009 wrapped into a nutshell in one game. An amazing D, with a stagnate offense. The Holiday Bowl looks to be the likely destination against probably Arizona (it was probably going to be USC before Arizona beat them today).

Back in the saddle again

August 18, 2009 at 5:00pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

Ok Ok I’ve been gone a while. And I was rightly outed by Mr.Wilson on the radio.  So for a return post, I stride in…riding my white horse…just like:

Brett Favre.

My favorite football team now has one of my most hated enemies as their QB. I can’t tell you how ill this makes me. I have spent a lifetime of watching Brett Favre beat the Minnesota Vikings and I’ve spent what seems like a lifetime of watching Brett Favre flip flop and hem and haw over his decisions to play football. He’s done it numerous times and this latest episode he stayed retired and now he is back in the NFL with the Vikings.

I don’t like this decision by the Vikings. I said it back then, but Mike Vick was a better option for the Vikings than Brett Favre is. But I’m sure the Vikings never considered that option because they were blinded by the “god-like” aura than Favre emits.

Now I’m conflicted…I have a man I absolutely HATE…leading a team that I absolutely love.

The Nebraska Baseball phenomenon

May 17, 2009 at 7:32pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

We’ve been living in a dream world for 10 years but nirvana has come crashing down in 2009.  The Nebraska baseball 10 year run came to an end today as Nebraska finished up the 2009 season.  No NCAA post season…no Big 12 tournament…last place in the Big 12…and a losing record.  Not since Nebraska hired a man named Dave Van Horne have things been this bad at Nebraska.  Nebraska was decimated by the MLB draft in the past off season with players on the roster and recruits coming in.  There have been rumblings all year that Mike Anderson should be on the chopping block.  I don’t think that is fair to Mike but he is definitely on the hot seat.  In recruiting circles, Nebraska is very passive.  It is very common for college baseball teams to “oversign”.  Meaning they will recruit more players than they have spots for, in the thought that some will leave for the pros and you will still have a full recruiting class.  But, if no one leaves for the pros and everybody wants to go to school, then some players are left out high and dry.  Nebraska doesn’t do this, signs the full amount and hope that the class stays in tact.  Well this year the perfect storm of current players leaving and a decimated recruiting class has put Nebraska in a bad spot.  And being a northern school, the high prize recruits are few and far between so when they leave, the number of Big 12 talented players on the roster are few and far between.

Nebraska really needs to get back to its roots of hard nosed, gritty, work your ass off baseball.  When Nebraska was good they had a bunch of hard working players (Will Bolt, Daniel Bruce, etc) with an occasional superstar mixed in (Dan Johnson, Alex Gordon, etc.) and a dominant Friday night pitcher (Shane Komine, Joba, etc.)  I don’t know if Nebraska has any of those 3 this year.  Unfortunately it isn’t going to be a fast return back to the top for Nebraska and it might be another couple down years for the local nine at Haymarket Park.

The QB conundrum

April 20, 2009 at 11:18pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

For the first time in a while, there is some depth at the Nebraska QB position but why is it that people are still wary of what Nebraska has under center going into the fall season.  From all indications, Zach Lee is going to be the starter going into the fall season.  He preformed well in the glorified scrimmage last Saturday going 15-18 and 214 yards and 3 TD passes.  Hot shot freshman Cody Green was hit and miss going 8 for 15 and 81 yards.  Green’s strength will probably be his mobility which is always hampered in that glorified scrimmage.  The biggest surprise has to be quaterback turned linebacker turned quarterback Latravis Washington.  Washington, who played QB throughout HS but came to Nebraska as a LB, moved to QB after Patrick Witt decided to leave NU. Washington made the move only a couple of weeks ago and could maybe be a nice little wild card in the whole process.  Washington went 13 for 21, 190 yards and 2 TD’s.  Washington’s move was also prompted by Kody Spano’s knee injury that is going to sideline him for the summer and maybe some of the fall.  Before Spano went down, Nebraska felt pretty darn comfortable about its depth, even though there’s game inexperience everybody felt pretty good about things.  But now things have changed.  With Witt and Lee being the only true QB’s and Washington still probably not ready for D1 play at this point…the depth chart at QB could look like this (Lee, Green, Washington) or could some other names be in the mix.

Two people Robert Marve and Greg Paulus could be on campus next year as part of Nebraska football.  Robert Marve is a transfer from Miami who has starting experience who decided to leave Miami several months ago and still hasn’t decided on his next destination.  Marve will have to sit out a year but would have two years of eligibility in ‘10 and ‘11.  He has expressed interest in NU and could be a nice red shirt player for NU this year.

The other potential QB is Greg Paulus. He may not be a big name but he certainly has big game experience. Greg Paulus was a two sports star coming out of HS and decided to play basketball…at a place called Duke. Paulus for some reason has a year left of eligibility.  Paulus, who started at PG for the Blue Devils for his first 3 years, fell out of favor his senior year and because of that has one year of college eligibility and since he won’t be playing in the NBA any time soon has decided to try his hand at football.  Paulus can play immediately but only for one year. NU has talked with Paulus and seems to be interested.  If Greg wants any shot at playing in the NFL he needs game experience so he needs to play right away. Can he get that at a place like Nebraska?  Can he unseat both Zach Lee and Cody Green?  And only in a few short months before fall camp?  And not playing organized football since his senior year in HS?

Nebraska’s QB situation could stay exactly the way it is…or it could be dramatically different come next fall.

State Volleyball goes west

April 4, 2009 at 5:26am By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

In the first major move by the NSAA since the wrestling tournament went to Omaha, the state volleyball tournament will end a 29 year run in Lincoln this fall when the 2010 and 2011 state volleyball tournament will move to Kearney.  According to quotes in the LJS article people feel the NSAA moving the volleyball tournament sends a clear message that the city of Lincoln needs to build an arena and that Pershing just isn’t cutting it anymore.

Following the board’s vote, York Superintendent Terry Kenealy described Pershing as “an old facility” and said the NSAA has heard from schools that “don’t want to play there.”

This is a massive blow to the city of Lincoln. The economic impact is going to be felt right away. State VB falls right at the end of the calendar year when stores are counting on those sales to finish off the year.  If the NSAA were to ever decide to move basketball (which is the next step) it would be a big loss for the city. 

Can the city sit idly by while the NSAA picks off these events one by one and sends them else where?  Or is not building a new arena THAT important?

My Final Four

March 19, 2009 at 8:53pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

Missouri, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse

with Pittsburgh cutting down the nets in Detroit.

The Ides of March

March 15, 2009 at 5:17pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

It’s selection Sunday and soon the best tournament out there will ramp up.  As is the annual tradition around here, the Big Red will not be participating so there will be no bubble watch when the selections are made.  Its different story all together up the road on I-80 where Creighton is squarely on the bubble.  The Blue Jays are right in that 64th-67th team area and will either be the last few teams in or the last few teams out.

I for one, hope the Blue Jays are not in. Being a UNL grad, I cheer for Nebraska and against Creighton.  I’ve heard so many times over the years that I should cheer for Creighton because they’re from the state of the Nebraska.  If Duke out of the tournament, do they cheer for North Carolina? No. If Kansas State is out, do they cheer for Kansas?  Absolutely not.  Just because Nebraska isn’t as good annually in basketball doesn’t mean I have to cheer for a team that is.  I for one, would rather cheer for a fellow Big 12 team before I cheer for Creighton.

If championship week is any indication of what this years tournament will be like, it should be a fun 3 weeks.

UPDATE: Creighton is not in.  They of course, were one of the 1st two teams out.  Arizona was announced early on and once you saw that, Creighton was dealt a big big blow.  And once Northern Iowa (MVC tourney champion) was put at a #12 seed, you knew the boys in blue were going to be the NIT.

Major gift to UNL makes Student Life Complex a reality

March 10, 2009 at 11:33pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

Last month I said UNL gave the city an indirect ultimatum of 18 months to get a city arena at least in the works.  It seems that NU will go ahead with plans to make improvements on the Bob Devaney Sports Center and build a practice facility connecting to the BDSC thanks to a 10 million dollar gift from Tom and Mary Hendricks.  More specifically, this gift not only closes the fund raising for the Student Life Complex (but continues for the Devaney Center Improvement Projcet), but it will give a new practice facility for the mens and womens basketball teams.  It also includes new practice facilities for wrestling and women’s and men’s gymnastics and updates planned for the athletic medicine and strength and conditioning facilities for each Husker sport that competes or trains at the Devaney Center.

This has been a long time coming for the Devaney Center. As I’ve said before, as of last year, Nebraska was the only Big 12 team that didn’t have, constructing, or had plans in place for a basketball practice facility.  For Nebraska ever to become a upper half Big 12 school, a practice facility would be needed.  Just like football, recruits like new flashy things…and practicing in Mable Lee Hall isn’t new and flashy.  In fact, its down right deplorable for a Big 12 school.  Thanks to the Kendricks family, Nebraska finally has moved into the 21st century on the basketball front. 

Now, the NU press release specifically points out that “Nebraska athletics is still looking to participate in a downtown arena project with the City of Lincoln in the future. However, the basketball practice facility would continue to be located and fully function from the Devaney site, without compromising the City Arena Project.” But I seriously question that.  I mean if it took only a month from announcement to the first major gift of 10 million dollars…it tells me that NU is serious about making NU basketball facilities top notch.  Could the city of Lincoln’s apprehension on going forward with the arena be the end of a dream of a downtown arena?  I think time is running out for the city.

NU to city: You have 18 months

February 10, 2009 at 5:39pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

At least that’s the vibe I got from this article published in the LJS about NU’s initial plans for a practice gyms.  NU has outlined a fall ‘10 start date and a fall ‘11 finish date.  When the downtown arena stalled a couple of months ago there were rumblings that NU might go ahead with their own plan and stick with the Devaney.  A 16 million dollar price tag has been put on the project (which seems like a drop in the bucket compared to some of the football projects we’ve done) and also put that on top of the 10 to 20 million that would be needed to renovate Devaney.

I think this puts the ball squarely in the city’s court (if you will). In our talks about the arena yesterday, Mr. Wilson and I agreed that Lincoln can not build an arena without NU as the major tenant. Or at least it would be a VERY bad idea.  Who knows, maybe the city could make it work but I highly doubt it.

I wonder how close NU could back out of their own project if the city finally gets the arena project rolling?  NU’s marketing company, IMG says they’re really interested in the arena and only mildly interested in NU’s project.  After yesterday’s story about how well they work together and the financial stability that it provides NU, maybe NU should hold out and wait for the arena.  Maybe financially in the long run it would make more sense to play in a new arena.

I think we’re in for an interesting summer when it comes to arena talks.

Signing Day

February 4, 2009 at 9:03pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

I’m not a huge fan of the day (I believe its over hyped) but there is always fervor over National Letter of Intent signing day.  But getting good people into the program is necessary.

Here is a list of the recruits and preferred walk-ons. (essentially what Nebraska does with the preferred walk-on title is they will target Nebraska’s 2nd tier talent and offer them the preferred walk-on status to keep them from going to smaller D1 programs or Division 2)

Nebraska addresses some needs with a top notch QB recruit (Cody Green), he’s already on campus and will be in the mix to start next year (that’s right…start).  Rex Burkhead is a running back from Plano, TX which is one of the most popular football locations in Texas and comes in with some unreal stats (3500 yards and 57 TD’s in his Jr. & Sr. year in HS)  The defense looks solid across the board headlined by Jason Ankrah.

As for the local kids, Cole Pensick is the lone Lincoln scholarship recruit.  The 6-1, 259 Lincoln Northeast product is one of the best defensive players in the state.  C.J. Zimmerer is the only other Nebraska scholarship kid from Omaha Gross HS.

As for the walk-ons, Lincoln is represented by Tyson Clark from Lincoln East and Devin Paulsen from Lincoln Christian.

Discuss

Friday Five (Super Bowl XLIII version)

January 30, 2009 at 6:40am By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

Since the Super Bowl is this Sunday I thought I would bring back the Friday Five with a football feel.  Today I’m going to give you 5 prop bets that you can actually bet on for Sunday’s big game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals.  We’ll tally up how many you get right on Monday.

1) Coin will land: Heads or Tails?

2) Who will win the coin toss: Cardinals or Steelers?

3) Total number of punts by both teams: Over or Under 9 1/2?

4) Who scores first: Cardinals or Steelers?

5) Largest lead of the game: Over or Under 14 1/2?

And finally as a bonus question:

Prediction (w/ score):

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