Isms: Views on life in rural America
March 16, 2023
My dreams of Nebrasketball landing a spot in the National Invitational Tournament shattered into a million intricate threads, faster than a glass photo frame dropped on a tiled surface breaks into multiple shards.
Sunday’s news that Fred Hoiberg’s crew did not make the cut and have an opportunity to bounce back from an unnecessary - and costly - loss in the first round of the Big 10 Conference tournament leaves me feeling, well, broken.
You cannot fall to a less-than-mediocre drove of Minnesota Gophers in conference tourney play and pack your bags for the Big Apple. Nope, miscues and mistakes give your spot to the University of Central Florida and Husker fans are forced to sit back and watch the Knights swoop in and insert their name in the 32-team bracket.
Now, I’m left with deflated dreams of a remake from 1996 starring Danny Nee, Erick Strickland, Andy Markowski and Tyronn Lue.
This time, I wanted Derrick Walker and Keisei Tominaga and Sam Griesel and Wilhelm Breidenbach and Sam Hoiberg and C.J. Wiclcher and the rest of the gritty boys of winter to make their marks, to let them know that yes, indeed, Nebraska can be a basketball school, that there’s been improvement and a definite sense of renewed Husker pride swirling around the program. Fans have noticed growth.
When you’re hot, you’re hot.
When you’re not, you’re ... done for the season.
The Huskers end at .500, a 16-16 record ... and that pesky one-and-done loss to Minnesota ... in a game that could have catapulted the Huskers to a longer run in conference play and a post-season streak that may have made some off-season decisions easier.
Not long after the NIT bracket was released, fairweather fans took to the socials, saying athletic director Trev Alberts now has an easy choice when it comes to who heads the team next year. The consensus of talking heads on Twitter and message boards: Hoiberg makes more than $3 million a year and turns out an average product.
I’d like to make that kind of bank, but I refuse to be average and produce an average publication. I’m not bashing the coach. I want to see Fred stick around.
You may be thinking, “It’s just basketball, LuAnn.”
True, I get that. However, I’ve seen a turnaround on the court this season. This group is fun to watch and if you don’t see the excitement and joy the team has when on the court, you’re not paying attention. How can you not grin watching Tominaga swoosh a three and run down on defense flashing three? Isn’t it fun to watch Derrick Walker push through the lane for a fast dunk? And what about a Griesel to Hoiberg court-long pass for a quick bucket?
Thankfully, roundball isn’t done for the year. I’ll be sporting Husker red Wednesday, when Coach Amy Williams and company welcome Missouri State to Pinnacle Bank Arena for round one of the Women’s NIT. I’m hoping a sea of red hoops and hollars and advances to a second-round matchup, hopefully at home. GBR.