Let’s do this.
1. The official NIT Bracketology now has Nebraska as a No. 4 seed. The Huskers had been a No. 1 seed before their loss Friday to the Michigan Wolverines in the Big Ten Tournament.
A four seed in the NIT? Ouch.
That development aside, you still can’t rule out Nebraska (22-10, 13-5 Big Ten) landing an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“The NCAA Tournament committee has to consider the Minnesota win,” BTN analyst Jon Crispin said Tuesday during “Early Break” (93.7 FM), referring to Nebraska’s 78-68 triumph Dec. 5 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“You have to look back and say that’s a Quad 1 win,” Crispin said.
(Click here for the podcast).
The committee won’t do that, though. Although Minnesota was ranked 14th on Dec. 5 – and still had Reggie Lynch and Amir Coffey in the lineup -- the Gophers slid to a 4-14 finish in the Big Ten (15-17 overall).
As it stands, Nebraska has only one Quad 1 win in the eyes of the committee – a 72-52 decision over then-No. 23 Michigan on Jan. 18 in PBA. By way of comparison, Ohio State has just three Quad 1 wins, and the Buckeyes are a No. 5 seed in the eyes of NCAA Tournament bracketologist Joe Lunardi of ESPN.
(To review: A Quad 1 result is defined by a game that is played at home against an RPI opponent ranked 1-30; a neutral game vs. a team whose RPI is 1-50; and a road game against a RPI team in the 1-75 echelon).
Nebraska is just 1-6 in Quad 1 games.
Lunardi has Big Red as the fourth team in his “next four out.”
Perhaps you’ve heard: Never in the history of the expanded NCAA Tournament (since 1985) has a Big Ten team with 12 or more wins in the league been bypassed for an at-large bid to the Dance.
Crispin obviously is going to push for five Big Ten teams to get in the field. He pushes pretty hard for Nebraska, although against the odds. He emphasizes the Huskers’ 13-5 conference record. That should be enough, he said – although it should be noted the Big Ten’s RPI is sixth among conferences, according to RealTimeRPI.com.
“When (the committee) goes to this metrics system, where basically everything is black or it’s white to determine how good a team really is, I think that’s where it gets tough (for Nebraska). Because what will end up happening is the NIT field will be loaded, and there’ll be a bunch of teams in the NCAA Tournament that just shouldn’t be there.”
That sounds like another column for another day.
2. I’ve talked to Crispin a lot this season. A former player at Penn State and UCLA, he “thinks” the game at a high level, which is why I asked him about his impressions of Tim Miles, the sixth-year Nebraska coach.
Crispin really appreciates Miles’ outgoing and welcoming personality.
“You enjoy that as an analyst because he shoots you straight,” Crispin said.
But what Crispin likes most about Miles has to do with adaptability to players.
“When you’re at a place like Nebraska – and this is something Nebraska fans have to think about – you have to get transfers,” the analyst said. “You have to rely on transfers because you’re not going to hit a home run in every single recruiting class.”
Miles hit a home run with transfers James Palmer (Miami) and Isaac Copeland (Georgetown). Landing transfers isn’t necessarily difficult, especially for Nebraska – which is an excellent place for someone who’s unhappy elsewhere.
The greater challenge for a coach is mixing and matching transfers into a team’s fabric without wrecking team chemistry.
“Miles has found a way to adapt to these different personalities, work with them all individually and bring them together as a team,” Crispin said.
Miles’ personality is such that he can absorb a lot of the attention – both negative and positive – that otherwise might affect players.
“That allows them to just play,” Crispin said. “I don’t think people really understand all that goes into that and how good that is for a player – to be able to just relax and not have to worry about pressure. (Miles) takes a lot of that on. He takes on the media. He doesn’t really fear anything. I think that’s what makes him special.
“I also think that’s what makes him perfect for that job.”
Crispin likes to make people think about things. Is Miles’ perfect for the Nebraska job?
I’ll have to think about that one.
3. Memphis coach Tubby Smith has been burned by transfers. Over the course of his first 12 months on the job, Smith lost six of his top eight scorers.
Which helps explain his opinion on NCAA transfer rules.
“Kids have a lot options nowadays,” Smith said in a recent news conference. “With the new NCAA regulations, guys can transfer when they want. I’ve been in this business a long time, never seen anything like it. 800 Division I players transferred last season. Over 800! C’mon. Teach them how to quit. That’s what we’re doing.”
When Smith said he called his dad wanting to transfer from High Point (North Carolina) College, his dad told him to stay there or join the Army.
I agree with Smith on this issue.
I simultaneously recognize the hypocrisy in the conversation, as Smith has hopped from job to job in his career in pursuit of better opportunities – as is the case with transfers.
4. Bill Bender of The Sporting News rolls out 18 predictions for the 2018 college football season, including this humdinger:
Nebraska will win eight games.
Writes Bender: “The enthusiasm is off the charts in Lincoln with the arrival of Scott Frost — and it should be — but the Big Ten schedule includes trips to Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Ohio State. Who made that schedule? Eight wins would be a successful season (not that Frost wants to hear that).
I don’t think Frost would be offended at all by that prediction.
Click here for Bender's predictions.
5. Speaking of Nebraska football, the Huskers’ first practice of the spring will be from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Friday, March 16.
Nebraska then will resume drills March 27, with the sold-out Red-White Spring Game set for April 21.
I hope Husker coaches have had some time to relax and recharge. I know that's been on Frost's mind.
In the meantime …
6. I'm thinking Andre Smith wore a pair of these bad boys, maybe even Brian Carr -- two of my all-time favorite Huskers ...