Husker Hoops Hype: Nebraska V.S. Creighton and Why Tonight’s Game Shouldn’t Be About Football

Posted: December 6, 2014 in Sports
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This isn’t about football.  For once.

Not here and not now.

Sure, there is likely to be a humming, thrumming, pig-skinned vibrato running through the crowd at Pinnacle Bank Arena tonight.  But even if there will be Mike Riley hors d’oeuvres served to a famished Big Red crowd, make no mistake about it: Husker Hoops will be the main course tonight.


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The bloodshot eyes of thousands will be prying themselves away from the private plane watching, the baited breathing down the necks of young men with stars attached to their names will pause, and the conspiracy theorists who have recently spotted Ed Orgeron and a still-living Tupac house-hunting in South Lincoln will look towards a court and not a field.

This is about basketball. It’s about 90 feet.  Baseline to baseline.  It’s about a werewolf crowd on a full moon, howling at the top of their collective lungs.

It’s about a program going full on Lazarus, kicking and scratching and clawing away at the coffin lid like Uma Thurman trying to cheat death one more time in Kill Bill; finally pounding our way out but still being partially buried under dirt.  This game? Tonight?  It’s a chance.  A step.  Another opportunity to fight our way out of the deep grave of irrelevance that has entombed the program for so long.

It’s about a team with more talent taking care of business against an opponent they should handle.  It’s about the next step.

It’s about vengeance.


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The game tonight is about 60 Miles and a stretch of road that turns into a battle line dividing a usually unified state once a year.  It’s about Tim Miles, that Nocky (*Author’s note: Nerd-cocky, a term I coined to try to sum up how a dude in such an unlikely package can somehow be such a badass.  I believe that this indescribable coolness comes from Miles’ utterly unflappable understanding of who he is and what he believes works on a basketball court) wizard taking on a suddenly Doug-las and potentially vulnerable Greg McDermott.  Greg, himself, is no slouch in the coaching profession and is formidable with or without his once-in-a-lifetime-son dropping 30 a game.

This isn’t about football.  It isn’t about “Jayskers” or who someone from the state of Nebraska roots for on a Saturday in late August.  This is about a Big East and a Big Ten school locking horns to try to establish basketball supremacy and garner some national attention.  It’s about a school still so fresh off their quest for legitimacy that it needs more.

We’ve gotten a taste of success.  And, damn, does it taste good.  That nectar, once a forbidden fruit at our lowly school, is opiate sweet and equally as addictive.  It’s time for a fix.

This game? T onight?  It’s about the dammed momentum of a sleeping giant rising.  The flood is building.  The dam is weakening.  If Nebraska basketball wins tonight, the cracks we saw forming in the wall, fissuring into spiderwebs all along the barrier after a win against Florida State earlier in the week, should burst open into a torrent.  If and when Nebraska wins this game, hopefully they can jump into their raft and white-water their way into continued, sustainable success.

It’s stereotype kindling used to ignite a blazing dislike.  It’s Capulets and Montagues with shared area codes and not enough to do to avoid co-mingling anytime the weekend hits.  It’s red, blue, bitterness, social media sparring, and the sublime disdain that only college sports can so perfectly aid and abet.  It’s really, really fun.

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It’s proof that even though this might be a football state, if just for tonight, basketball will be its capital city.

(Author’s note: Does anyone have a good nickname for this game yet?  I was thinking we just call it “The Beef.”  Because: agriculture and hate.  Let me know what you think.)



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