Saturday, February 24, 2007

Not since Clarence’s shot in OT against OU... 2000 have I seen a shot go as far down as Stefhon Hannah’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds left did without going in. Just a gut-wrenching way to lose a game, especially one that had some meaning to it.

Random thoughts on the game that sent us to 1-6 in games decided by 5 points or less...

• Marshall Brown should not be allowed to shoot the ball anymore until there are less than 5 minutes left in the game. And even then, he should only be allowed to shoot with under 10 seconds left on the shot clock. His shot (and, really, his entire game) just hasn’t been there all year, and while he’s made a couple clutch shots in the last 8 days, it really almost seems like Darryl Butterfield—who has plenty of his own flaws—has surpassed him in just about every facet of the game. I’m not sure why he hasn’t clicked like I thought he would under Anderson, but he hasn’t, and aside from that 3-pointer with about 4 minutes left in regulation, he brought nothing today.

• Seriously, how good was the defense down the stretch today—on both sides? Maric only got 1-2 decent looks in the last 8-9 minutes, and neither Keon nor Hannah could get any separation whatsoever.

• I like what Doc Sadler has brought to this Nebraska team, and their style works well against Mike Anderson’s style. The only thing is, I don’t know how much of it is Sadler and how much of it is Maric (at least offensively). Either way, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Nebraska could finish 5th in conference. Just think what they could do if they never had to play Kansas.

• If Arthur Johnson had played for Doc Sadler, he’d have averaged 20 PPG.

• I just have to accept it—we play a style that pursues chaos, and we have a large, old group of officials who will always be out of position if the game’s being played as we want it to—that’s a bad combination, but it’s not going to change, so I just to accept that there will be large numbers of bad calls (for and against Mizzou) in every game. However, I should still be able to expect that what is a foul with 15 minutes left in the first half is a foul with 5 minutes left in the game. This game wasn’t even close to the worst officiated game I’ve seen this year, but things still alternated between calling everything, then nothing, then everything, then nothing again. You just hope they balance out in the end, I guess, and each team gets screwed an equal number of times.

• Poor Leo did not balance out for him today. Kalen Grimes got away with a bit of contact (in the 2nd half, anyway, definitely not the first), and it seemed like Butterfield had 9 fouls, but Leo couldn’t breathe without a whistle blowing. Of course, that could be because he was guarding a guy who had 45 pounds on him, and he couldn't keep Maric from getting good position. I thought the charge (his 5th foul) was some crap, though. Yes, he lowered his shoulder, but Maric didn't have position on him anyway. It was a no-call if anything.

• This loss does officially knock us off the bubble, but our chances were on life support anyway. Our improvement has been encouraging, but we waited too long to bump up our level of play. An 0-4 start (with a loss at home to Iowa State) was too much to overcome. Still plenty of ball to be played, though. Keep this up, and we might stick around a while in the NIT for once.

• And hey, at the very least we can take consolation in the fact that we would have won the SEC West this year.