For some fans, tonight’s Nebraska V.S. Wisconsin game has lost some of its luster. The Huskers have been wildly, irreconcilably, inconsistent. The entire season has a gigantic *comma* except tagged on after virtually any declarative statement you wish you could make.
They have rarely shot well *COMMA* EXCEPT when they explode for a 62.8% shooting night against Northwestern.
They have played tenacious defense *COMMA* EXCEPT when they gave up 37 second half points to a lousy Minnesota team on the road. (*Author’s note: which isn’t a ton of points, but they certainly struggled to stop a not-good Pitino squad from manhandling them)
You can play this same, admittedly weird, punctuation game with virtually anything you try to say about this team. And it’s exactly this kind of roller coaster style, stomach-churning peaks and eye-bulging valleys that have led many of the casual fans to renege on their new-found love of Husker hoops. It’s been tough to get a bead on this year’s team. We’re good, then we’re bad. We seem to have figured it out, then we appear to have gotten all of our offensive talent Monstar’d away in some cruel joke. It’s maddening. It’s eye-rolling. It’s all the things that last year’s miracle run didn’t prepare us for.
The fact is: we have no idea what team will show up tonight against the #5 team in the country. Since it’s a home game, you have to believe that Nebraska can scrap and claw and battle their way into a full-on streetfight. The climactic scene from Rocky V comes to mind.
So if you’re one of those fans, new to caring and new to watching Huskers basketball. If you’re one of those people who hopped on the bandwagon approximately 11 Months ago when this program began to pick up steam and now you’re seriously considering jumping off the bandwagon in an unceremonious crash-landing on the pavement outside Pinnacle Bank. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t think this game matters tonight, let me tell you why you’re wrong.
Let me tell you why you should sit back down and hang on tight. At least for just a little longer.
Here’s why this game tonight matters:
1. Because if you don’t already hate Wisconsin, you should.
Not only are these bovine-enthusiast, cheese-curd chomping, Northern invaders quickly becoming our arch-nemesis in the Big Ten. But they’re doing so with a team full of white dudes that dance like this:
(Highly disturbing image courtesy of: thebiglead.com
And a coach who resembles The Grinch so closely in both his demeanor and his physical appearance, that you literally expect him to take a time out during the game just so he can break and enter into Cindy Lou Who’s house and pretend to be Santa Clause. Forget the fact that they’ve thoroughly embarrassed us on the football field (*Author’s note: I realize that this is an impossible statement given the state that we live in) and forget the fact that their dairy cows are cranking out enough methane gas that they’re slowly and surely turning our O-Zone layer into the Swiss version of the cheese that they produce. This is about passion and pride, hatred and volatility. It’s about Bo Ryan
And the chance to see him attempt to murder a referee with his eyes and to watch his counterpart on the Husker bench appearing to *GASP* actually enjoy himself. We need to take down Wisconsin. Because they’re Wisconsin. And because they tried to knock our state’s bomb-ass export business and they messed it up by not even Googling it or saying, “Hey, what if I check Wikipedia?”
2. Tim Miles has earned your respect.
After sticking out a miserable first year, then striking while the iron was white-hot and going on a recklessly enjoyable NCAA Tournament run against all odds last year, Tim Miles deserves a fan base that comes correct even when the chips are down. What happened last year, what we were able to finally enjoy after so many dog days and cellar dwellings, engenders a little loyalty. A little passion. I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense to totally buy into this team at this moment and for this game. Sometimes you just need to slam an adult beverage, scream until your lungs implode and hope that the student section storms the court like it’s a Hardwood version of Normandy Beach. Now, who’s with me?
3. There are few things better for an angry fan base than pulling an upset against a team with title aspirations.
I know, I know. Even if we do win this game, Wisconsin still appears primed for a deep NCAA Tourney run. But why not allow ourselves the devious pleasure of messing up their well-laid plans? Why not let us worm a little doubt into the minds of our foes when they need confidence the most?
Why not be B-Rabbit in the final rap battle of 8 Mile, laying out all our problems and angst and then still standing there with two middle fingers extended in spite of our black eyes and seemingly insurmountable odds. Defiance is fun. Let’s give it a shot.
So in conclusion, don’t go pulling the rip cord yet. We’ve got too many chances to battle. Too much fun to have. We’ve got too many plans to ruin, attempted stretch runs to slash and burn. We get to be the anarchists even if we’re not sure exactly what the future holds for Nebraska. Don’t worry about NITs or CBIs or any other acronyms that might drag you down into “what-ifs” and “what-happeneds”. Forget wagons with bands and fans with one foot out the door.
Instead, grab this game — grab tonight– and have a little fun. It doesn’t look like we’re going to have the season we wanted to in 2015 *COMMA EXCEPT* with this team? You never know.