No Heart Yields No Wins for Nebraska

Josh KleinCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2010

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  Nebraska has been synonymous with mediocrity in basketball in the 2000's. 

What's changed?

They've gone from mediocre to laughingstock.

Nebraska started off this season, like they do every season, winning 12 of their first fifteen games and giving Husker fans everywhere the false hope that their might be something to this team.

Enter Big 12 play.

Nebraska has now gone 0-4 in Big 12 play, losing to the likes of Texas A&M, Kansas, Iowa State and Missouri. 

They've lost by double digits three of those four games, and by three against a mediocre Iowa State team at home aided by an awful coaching blunder near the end of the game.

If Nebraska were in the Missouri Valley Conference they might have an opportunity to do something and salvage their season, but they aren't, and in the Big 12 if you start 0-4 in conference play, you might as well hang up the laces and prepare for next season because you will be lucky to finish with four or five total wins in the conference total.

Nebraska has made known their formula for playing with the big dogs in the conference, keep it close and win in the end.  Well if halves were only 15 minutes long Nebraska's strategy might have worked.

Apparently though, Doc hasn't coached the fact that there are 40 minutes, not 30 minutes in a game.

In the game against Missouri, Nebraska was down only 45-44 with just over 10 minutes left in the game, the Huskers scored only nine more points in 10 minutes to end the game; Mizzou scored 25.

Let's go back a week, against Iowa State the Huskers had a 46-41 lead with 10 minutes to go against a scrappy Cyclone team.  In the final 10 minutes Nebraska scored only seven points, Iowa State scored 15 leaving Nebraska in the dust of a 56-53 loss.

Against Kansas at home, Nebraska had stiffened and had played a remarkable first 30 minutes.  In fact, the Huskers were down only 60-56 with 10 minutes to go.  In the final 10 minutes, Nebraska scored 16 points, a lot better than before, right?

Sure, but Kansas scored 24 points in that 10 minutes and propelled their team to an 84-72 victory.

In Nebraska's opening game against Texas A&M, the Huskers looked great for the first 30 minutes; in fact, with 10 minutes left in the game the Huskers were winning 42-40 and looked to be a few possessions away from extending their lead.

In the final 10 minutes of the game, the Huskers scored only 11 points, Texas A&M scored 24.

To make it easier for you, let me recap.  In Nebraska's first four games in the conference they have lead with 10 minutes to go twice and have been down by only four and one respectively in the other two.

The final scoring output for the last 10 minutes in those games looked like this:

NU @ T A&M: 11-24

NU vs. Kansas: 16-24

NU vs ISU: 7-15

NU @ MU: 9-25

In the last 10 minutes of the game, the Huskers have been outscored by a total of 43-88, that's a difference of 41 points.

So what's to account for this difference?

I think it's simple.

Lack of heart.

This team competes and scrapes for victory for 30 minutes, but in the final 10 it seems they give up.

They stop rebounding.

They start turning the ball over.

They start missing free throws.

And even the coach starts to make some bone-headed calls.

The final 10 minutes is where you find out what your team is made of.  And this team has shown that they are made of inexperienced and scared players without a clear cut leader in the locker room.

There is enough talent on this team to win a few games, but there isn't enough heart.  And that comes down to coaching.

With the loss of players like Ade Dagunduro and Steve Harley coming into this season Nebraska has lost its edge, its heart and its perseverance.

If they think they are going to go anywhere this season they have to find that heart, they have to man up and decide if they want to be the first team to go 0-16 in conference play or if they want to actually finish a game or two.

Memo to Doc and crew, the games are 40 minutes not 30, start playing like you understand this.