Big win for Doc Sadler and the Husker Hoopsters over Mizzou last night, 61-56. While the NCAA tourney is still a long shot, the NIT is a definite possibility, perhaps even a probability. One more win would make this season only the 12th 20 win season in school history. Husker move to 19-11 with the victory, just their second Big 12 Tourney win in the last nine seasons. A post season berth would be a huge step forward for the program, which has languished since the departure of Coach Danny Nee.
Doc is in just his second year at NU, but appears to have the program developing in a very positive direction. NU's defensive play in particular has been absolutely stellar this season.
"But to second-year coach Doc Sadler, they are large leaps in his effort to rebuild a program that two summers ago was in danger of mass defections less than a month before school started.
"We've got so much to do," Sadler said. "And each time we do something that we haven't done, it's got to help. This was just another step.
"It's hard to sit there and listen to guys on TV talk about seven out of the last eight years we haven't won a game down here and all that stuff. Believe me, it starts messing with people's heads."
The game was very close and still in doubt until guard Steve Harley made a layup on an inbounds pass with 1:14 remaining, and senior center Aleks Maric sealed it with a blocked shot with 10 seconds left. NU held Mizzou to 31 % shooting and a season low in points after averaging 78 over the course of the season.
NU now faces the daunting challenge of meeting #2 tourney seed Kansas (rated #5 nationally) in the second round, which demolished the Huskers twice by 20 plus points early in the conference regular season. While I don't think we have the firepower to win, I do think NU's team has developed very well and should put up more of a fight.
Elsewhere in the tourney, Okie St faces #1 seed Texas late this morning, Colorado faces Oklahoma in the first afternoon game, NU-KU face off in the early evening and A & M takes on 3 seed Kansas St late tonight.