Posts Tagged ‘Nebrasketball’

Are you one of those disenfranchised, embittered people who doesn’t get out to the polls when it’s time to perform your civic duty?  Are you the guy/girl who grumbles angrily about “all the crooks” that we have to deal with when casting a ballot for an elected office?  Cut it out.  You know why?  Because here‘s why:

Tim

Boom!

Yes, that’s Tim Miles in a G-Unit man-scarf with his head tilted to the side so you know he means business. Yesterday was election day in Lincoln, Nebraska, the home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.  And Tim wanted you to know that it’s time to get off your obesity-epidemic-suffering-ass and go vote for city council, mayor, and last but certainly not least: airport authority.

And lest you think that Tim is going the civic-duty-route all by his lonesome, have a taste of this:

Mike

POW!  That’s Mike Riley.  He’s new to these parts but he still wants you to get your A out of your desk chair and go hang some chads.

I know.  I know.  I’m sure you’re thinking: “Hey, Chris, this is stupid.”  And “Hey, Chris, you are a terrible photoshopper.”  And you would be right on both counts.  But before you glass-house-living haters throw stones, here’s this little number for you to try on:

bank

That’s the last one.  I promise, I’m done.  But check out the necklace on Mark Banker (*Author’s note: Banksy? Still trying on crappy nicknames for him, at this point.) as he reminds us that Airport Authority isn’t going to elect itself.

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If you don’t like Terran Petteway, you can suck it.

If you think that his shot selection is bad or that he is too emotional on the court or that he’s (_____Insert idiotic Twitter criticism here from someone who just started watching Husker basketball during march of 2014.) then you can suck it.

Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World Herald came out with a phenomenal piece today deriding the critics of Nebraska’s best player since 1998.

It was well-researched.

It was classy.

It was all the things I’m not and don’t have to be because I have approximately 17 people who read my work on a weekly basis.  In that piece, Lee pretty much statistically and anecdotally tore apart any of the low-level grumblings from Husker fans who may or may not be placing blame for Nebraska Basketball’s mid-season struggles on the tattooed shoulders of Petteway.

I’m here to tell that Lee is right.  And Lee wrote a good, just, fair article.  I’m here to tell you, again, that if you don’t like Terran Petteway: you can suck it.

Sucik

I’ll summarize what Barfknecht wrote: Petteway’s numbers, on the whole, are up.  His leadership is unquestioned.  His work-ethic is unparalleled.  His beard is totally f-ing dope.  (*Author’s note: Alright, so I made up that last one.)  So, where are these critics coming from?  What asinine, unintelligible, douche-rumblings are taking aim at the human adrenal gland that injected life into the post-mortem carcass of Nebraska’s basketball program?  What ill-thought, moronic, Twitter stumblefuckery would lead to a columnist at a respected journalistic institution to have to actually sit down and key-clatter his defense for a player of Petteway’s ilk?

I’m not entirely sure.  But one thing is for certain: it’s probably the same guy who shouts out in teeth-gnashing angst when Petteway jacks up a difficult three pointer that doesn’t go in and gets frustrated that we’re not playing basketball the way his YMCA squad did back in 1988.  If you’re looking for him, it’s the same guy who is verbally raising the roof when Petteway hits a similar bail-out, ass-saving three a possession later when a struggling Husker offense needs a miracle.

Yes, Nebraska was able to go on a miraculous run that no one saw coming.  They got magma, scorching, face-meltingly hot.  And that run was due, in large part, to Terran Petteway and his ability to take and make insane shots.  Petteway’s first season with Nebraska was The Chronic.  It was the best debut album of all time.  There’s a reason it took Dr. Dre 7 years to make his next record.  The expectations after a phenomenal debut are incredibly hard to live up to.

But Terran has more than lived up to those expectations.  He’s delivering 2001 right now.  But some people are too dumb to listen or not smart enough to care or they haven’t even considered just whipping out their f-ing smart phones to Google his stats.  Because the stats don’t lie.

Petteway

And the stats tell us that Petteway is taking more shots and shooting almost exactly the same percentage as last year.  They tell us that he’s averaging 34 minutes per game, being asked to do more while the team has struggled offensively to find their groove, and he’s still averaging more assists, rebounds, blocks, and steals than last year.

His PER is higher (*Author’s note: Google it if you have to, I’m not explaining to you why you need to know more about basketball)

His effective field goal percentage (*Author’s note: the stat that takes into account that a 3-pointer is worth more than a two pointer, and is crucial in explaining why Terran is so good at what he does. Terran shoots 46% of his shots from 3-point range, so having a good percentage in this category punches holes in the myth that he’s not shooting well.) has risen.

In short, by any measurable number other than turnovers (*Author’s note: again, he’s being asked to do more.), Terran Petteway has gotten better than he was last year.  No one does more for his team, or is asked to do as much, as Terran Petteway.  His usage rate is 9th in the country.  It’s the only one on the top 10 list from a Power five conference other than a dude from Colorado.

As for his emotions? Do they run rampant?  Yeah, at times.  But doesn’t Nebraska need a little fire?  A little heat-of-the-moment, flex-to-the-crowd-after-a-dunk-passion?  Isn’t it that same heat that thawed out a fanbase last March and warmed up fingers that were frost-bitingly cold from years of below-freezing mediocrity and negative interest?  Give me the guy who cares, even if he cares a little too much, over the robotic anti-hero that stares blankly into space after every play.  We’ve had that guy at quarterback at this university before and it was far more maddening.

Image courtesy of: iusport.com

So: this gut-level, visceral reaction to any Petteway haters?  Justifiable.  The statistical gavel-banging on the judge’s bench, telling everyone to shut the hell up or you’ll be held in basketball contempt?  Justified.  The article by Lee Barfknect?  Hot fire.

If you don’t like Terran Petteway, I think that at this point you know exactly what to do. . .

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I don’t know if I’ve blown out my voice booing before.

Sure, I’ve booed and hooted and hollered and generally carried on like a caged ape that’s been infected with the rage virus in a zombie movie.  But last night may have been the first time I’ve driven my vocal cords directly off a cliff into a steaming pile of puberty-style voice-cracking on the sheer power of my auditory hatred for referees.

Granted, I’ve never been to see the Loch Hess Monster live and in person or I’m sure I would have probably crossed this threshold before, but last night – for lack of a better term — the referees at the Nebraska Basketball game against Minnesota were on some next level shit.

There were 43 total fouls called.  Nebraska only attempted 42 shots.

There were technical fouls, questionable calls, and a group of refs whistling more than a scaffolding full of horny construction workers cat-calling at a hot woman on the sidewalk.  I booed.  And shouted.  And checked over my shoulder to make sure the little girls behind us weren’t listening so I could quietly whisper swear words to my wife.  Then we ended up shouting them anyway, reflexively, and shrugging in a hasty apology to anyone who was appalled.

I’m not sure whether these refs just enjoyed the spotlight a little too much, whether they were all graduates from the Tim Donaghy School of Officiating, or if they had all sworn a blood oath with Karl Hess that was co-signed by Lucifer himself to try to torpedo a once-beautiful game.  Whatever the case, they seemed to almost relish playing the villains on Tuesday night, shouting out absurd sound effects with their technical fouls and crotch-thrusting like an air-humping Justin Bieber onstage at a concert while they were giving out blocking fouls.

Shouting out “Boom” when you’re giving a player a “T” as a ref is the auditory version of putting those plastic nutsacks on the back of your pick-up truck.  You want to know who shouts out “Boom!” when they’re handing out a tech?  Leslie Nielsen in Naked Gun.

(*Author’s note: someone please send me a link to the crotch-thrust block call by the ref tonight.  I’m begging you.)

To say that this was an ugly game would be a like calling WWII a “skirmish.”  This might have been the ugly game.  Here’s the box score:

Yes.  I had to blur that out for content like it was the Spice Channel in 1999.  Maybe if you’re a consenting adult you can contact someone and order the special version so you can look at it under the cover of darkness.

Nebraska shot a paltry 40% from the field, somehow gritting their way to a 52-49 victory, while digging in on defense and turning the game into trench warfare for the eyes.  They held the Golden Gophers to just 30% from the field, an incredible number from a team that is rapidly establishing itself as an elite defense.  You have to give props to Jim Molinari, Nebraska’s defensive guru.

As it turns out, he isn’t just on the sidelines to look like an Italian Deepak Chopra, he’s brought an already good defending team to an entirely new level.

It was such an ugly game that the highlight of Minnesota’s offensive game was the level of excitement by the 9-year-old girls behind me that they had a dude named “Gaston” on their team (*Author’s note: big ups to Beauty and the Beast for still being relevant in 2015, ya’ll!)

However, I’ve written at length about riding this wave of ugliness and embracing the horror that is Nebraska’s offensive game this year.  When you find yourself mired in the muck you can either have a meltdown and howl in horror at how soiled your laundry has become.  Or you can mud wrestle.  The Huskers are wrestling.  And so far, we’ve gotten a few pins.

There’s nothing new to say here, really.  At this point, there isn’t an offensive Renaissance coming to pull us out the Dark Ages.  We’re going to have to win ugly.  We’re going to have to pull out all the stops, scrap, claw, cling with our fingernails.  We’re going to need Terran to keep firing, even when they don’t drop, and we’re going to need clutch free throw shooting from guys like Benny Parker — who made 6 big FTs down the stretch to help ice the win.

I’d say “something needs to change” but I’m not sure what we can do, really.  Basketball life has given us some lemons but the Nebraska Cornhuskers appear ready to squeeze the hell out of those sour fruits and I, for one, plan on adding that juice into a very strong drink and booing until my throat gives out.

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Tim’s been pretty busy this year, but no one is too busy to fire off a quick letter to Santa.  Here’s Tim Miles’ las minute Christmas wish list.

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In the Chris Hatch Doctor Power Rankings the top 8 goes a little something like this:

1.  Dre
2.  J
3.  Saddler
4.  Seuss
5.  Jekyll
6.  Grant (Jurassic Park, duh)
7.  Frankenstein
8.  Quinn,  Medicine Woman

Unfortunately, due to a tragic turn of events, Saddler’s name may be moving down in the rankings.  You see, after a lackluster 6th season as the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ Mens Basketball team, Doc flatlined. 

Last Friday, in the year of our lord 2012, Kenneth “Doc” Sadler got the axe.

His faltering career at Nebraska finally ground to a brutal halt, mercifully ending what had been one of the most heinously unattractive seasons in Nebraska Basketball history.  After the Huskers lost to Purdue in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, the final chapter of Doc’s career slammed shut.

The Husker basketball program finds itself back at square one.  Or perhaps they find themselves still at square one.  With Doc Sadler’s teams it was always one step forward, two steps back, a couple directly to the side in a defensive shuffle drill and ultimately ending up right back where we started.

I like Doc.  I really do.  I like the way he interacts with the fans, with the media, I like the fact that he’s the Antithesis of Bo Pelini.  He’s folksy and welcoming and genuinely seemed to really want to be at Nebraska.

But make no mistake, it was time to part ways. 

Doc’s committment to defense was intense.  He was so busy keeping his nose to the grind stone that he rarely had time to try to smell the roses of offensive production.  His teams were gritty on defense and grisly on offense.

In his final season as head coach Doc started to lose weight.  His weight seemed to mimic the Huskers’ offensive production.  Thinner and thinner.  Eventually the Huskers’ offensive production became so gaunt that even Skeletorlina Jolie would have stuck her twiggy leg out of her dress-slit and shouted, “Just beef this shit up!”

Senior guard Bo Spencer was the Huskers’ leading scorer at 15.1 PPG.  Spencer, in his first and only year with the team, (*Author’s note: another disturbing Sadler trend: his heavy reliance on transfers and JuCo players leaves the team in a perpetual state of flux.  Spencer follows in the footsteps of Lance Jeter, a fellow point guard that was gone too soon, before the potential could be fully tapped.) seemed to be continually stuck between trying too hard and disappearing. 

Spencer’s inability to decide between going 100 MPH or coasting in neutral led to a wild mixture of emotions when watching him play.  I would find myself shouting “Shoot the damn ball!”  on one possession followed up by “Quit shooting the damn ball” on the next.  It was this Manic/Depressive play that had us all hoping that the Doc would supply some lithium.  He didn’t.

The offense scored 55 points or fewer in 12 games.  Offensive flow in basketball games can be a thing of beauty.  The Huskers were Medusa-ugly.

(*Author’s note: To describe what the Huskers looked like on offense this season I have to go off on a quick tangent: I remember once, as a youth, watching a “Wildest Videos Ever Captured” type of show.  In it, a full-grown moose had been hit by a car and somehow smashed backwards through the windshield and was stuck inside of a the completely decimated, smoldering wreckage of the car.  Inexplicably, the moose was still alive. Panicked, near-death, stuck in a twisted skeleton of scorched, fractured metal.  In a nutshell, that was the Husker offense this year.)

I know Doc’s a good coach.  I just know it.  But for whatever reason the plays he drew up on his trusty clipboard looked more like a really crappy autograph.  In fact, here’s what a play from Nebraska looks like diagrammed out:

I’ll stop beating a dead moose here in just a moment.  First, though, here are some brutal statistical team rankings and a little reaction to each.

Points Per Game: 60.9 (308th Nationally)

Rebounds Per Game: 30.0 (324th Nationally)

Field Goal %: .427 (214th Nationally)

The first thing that jumps out at me is. . .how many teams are there in D-1?  Holy hell, how are the Huskers outscoring anyone?  Is my old YMCA Spirit league team now considered D-1?  Moving on.

As you can see, the statistical evidence supports what virtually everyone with a pulse and the Big Ten Network already knew: the Huskers played bad. 

I’m a die-hard Nebraska basketball fan.  I watch our basketball games (*Author’s note: which would never be on without the Big Ten and their glorious network.  Reason #643 why the move to the Big Ten is great.) with a great deal of interest and had season tickets until my move to Omaha made that too costly.  The Husker fan base is a sleeping giant for basketball.  We’ve routinely seen that if the product is good, Husker fans will show up in droves because, well, there isn’t anything better to do.

Sadler’s offensive woes and struggles to recruit were, ultimately his undoing.  He will be remembered for his kind heart, his ability to inspire below-average talent to scrap — although this year the team looked to lose their way in this regard, the teams of past years fought hard to the end– and for providing at least one insane upset per year. 

This year’s major upset was against the suddenly resurgent Indiana Hoosiers.  As the Nebraska student section came pouring out onto the floor, in what turned out to essentially be the sporting world’s version of a suicide charge, Doc was caught up in the moment.  He linked arms with a group of euphoric students and danced gleefully at center court.  That’s how I’ll remember Doc.  A coach by the people, for the people. 

Yes, it was time to send him on his way.  And, yes, I wish him nothing but the best.

(*Author’s note: And I’ll miss his patented poop-pose on the sidelines.  I just really needed to say that, too.)

 

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(*Author’s note: my mother always told me, “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” In reviewing Nebraska Basketball’s worst home loss ever, I’m going to live by that mantra and only discuss the positive things that happened.  So, ladies and gentleman of Burnpoetry, here…we…go)

The ball was tipped off.

Then it was halftime.

Then the final buzzer sounded.

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When Christian Standhardinger first arrived at the University of Nebraska he had two things of note: 1.  A Berlin-Wall-sized amount of potential, and 2.  A curious resemblance to Michael Jackson.  As the recent turn of events may prove, he now shares more in common with the deceased Jackson, then with that player who continually gave us glimpses of brilliance followed up by disappointment.

Standhardinger, a 6’8″ forward from Munich, Germany arrived on campus as a high scoring foreigner that seemed able to stretch the floor with his 3-point accuracy as well as get to the hoop with a quick first step and a variety of finishing moves in the paint.

He left with a ticket for being a perv and no immediate future on the hardwood.

Here, in the words of the immortal Wacko-Jacko himself, is how Standhardinger’s career broke down for the Huskers.

Pre-Nebraska Days:  “Wanna Be Startin’ Something”

Standhardinger arrived with a great deal of ballyhoo on campus.  Perhaps Nebraska’s most heralded foreign recruit since Aleks Maric’s enormous Aussie ass graced our campus, Standhardinger clearly wanted to be starting something with the Nebraska basketball team.

Much like his doppelgänger, MJ (*Author’s note: no, not the MJ that was good at basketball.  The pastier one.), Standhardinger’s potential seemed through the roof.  He’d carried his German well, serving as the front-man to many an Ike and Tito role-player, becoming a voracious scorer and a good/above-average rebounder.

Freshman Year, 15-Game Suspension: “Bad”

Standhardinger first ran afoul of the NCAA after violating their rules of amateurism.  Like a Joe Jackson backhand, they popped Standhardinger’s chances of making a big impact with his new Husker team. 

The NCAA rulebook is longer than “War and Peace” and is full of enough bureaucratic, legalese, mumbo-jumbo that Johnnie Cochran himself couldn’t have figured out a way to make heads or tails of it.  Needless to say, Standhardinger had to put his potentially gigantic impact on a struggling Husker team on ice for a while.

End of Big XII Play:  “The Way You Make Me Feel”

The way Standhardinger usually made Nebraska fans feel?  Frustrated.  We spent more time pulling our hair out then he spent combing through his hair-straightener-extraordinaire coif.  He played great at times, tacking on 25 points and 8 boards against Iowa State and leading the Huskers in free throws despite coming off the bench for the majority of his minutes, and looked soft and un-inspired on others.

Let’s consider this the “Michael Jackson Getting Kind of Weird” phase for Standhardinger.  The time period where MJ started turning white, getting more plastic surgery than the cast of “Jersey Shore” and shattering the record for most insanely creepy, despite it’s seemingly innocuous name, theme park called “Neverland Ranch.”

As erratic as Jackson was during this bizarre period of time, his peaks and valleys parallel the way Standhardinger played for Nebraska.  The German seemed intensely frustrated with himself, his team, and his coach at times.  If Lincoln had a Studio 54, I’m sure Standhardinger would’ve been there and if Jheri curls ever came back I bet he would’ve worn one.

The Start of Sophomore Year:  “Black and White”

Standhardinger’s rocky relationship with his own personal Joe Jackson, Doc Sadler, vacillated wildly during his sophomore year.  He couldn’t seem to stay out of the doghouse and while he was down, Janet (AKA: The Rest of the team) started to have a banner year under Sadler.

Black and white, good and bad; Standhardinger seemed to be all over the map.  His talents were still there, but averaged just a little under 18 minutes a game.  His relationship with Doc seemed to spiral out of control and Standhardinger ended up being dismissed from the team.

End of His Career as a Husker:  Holding His Baby Over the Edge of a Balcony

I know that’s not really a song.  But that seemed to be the breaking point with MJ and many people.  Others would argue it was his seeming perversion or his awkwardly creepy friendship with MaCaulay Culkin.  Any way you slice it, Standhardinger getting booted off the team was akin to MJ holding his son over a balcony ledge like some idiotic recreation of the birth scene from “The Lion King.”

Ironically enough, MJ held his son –named “Blanket”, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried — over the ledge from a German hotel.

Impending Transfer to La Salle: “Beat It”

After Sadler essentially told Standhardinger to hit the bricks, he was offered a spot on the roster of the La Salle’s squad.  Which was dedicated, according to Google, in the tradition of the Christian Brothers.  Which is ironic because, brace yourself. . .

Standhardinger Gets Ticketed for Public Indecency: “Dirty Diana”

I’m not sure if the girl’s name was Diana.  She was not a famous, 6’8″ German dude that looked like Michael Jackson with a jump-hook, so her name wasn’t mentioned in the police report that I could find.  One thing’s for sure, Christian was almost certainly attempting to live up to his 1970’s-porn-star-name.

Nevermind the logistics of a gigantic dude trying to get down and dirty in a car, or the fact that limbs and Biore-straightened hair were probably flying everywhere.  This was rock bottom for Standhardinger.  The coach at La Salle rescinded his scholarship offer and Standhardinger’s career ground to a halt like a dude dancing his ass off who suddenly doesn’t remember the next move in the “Thriller dance” at a party.

Where Standhardinger goes from here is up to him; whether he translates his physical gifts into something on the court is up to him.  I guess he’ll just have to take a good long look at the man in the mirror.

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