Nebraska basketball had to rally from an almost comically ugly first half Tuesday night to beat Indiana, but the Huskers got the job the done. That's all that matters when a team is chasing a tournament bid, and it sets up what should be a classic season finale at Pinnacle Bank Arena against fellow bubble buddy Penn State.
Penn State https://t.co/2JgjmzVwZY
— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) February 19, 2018
After the game last night, Tim Miles was asked what he thought of Nebraska's chances to make the tournament:
"If I was on the committee, I would want to see us finish this thing off. And I'd want to see us certainly play well in the Big Ten tournament. How many games that means we have to win, I don't know. But I do now our one weakness right now is Quadrant 1 wins. Our only one is Michigan. Now, Minnesota could be considered a Quadrant 1 win, which would give us two. Penn State won't be one. They'll be a Quad 2 or 3 even. Tonight was Quad 3, I think, even though they're a top-100 team.
"What used to be top-50, top-100 wins, those are now in Q3. I know that we've won on the road, we've done a lot of good things. We've done some very good things in our conference, which is one of the top five conferences in the country. But I don't know what everyone else's résumé is either. We just have to do what we can do, control what we can control and play a great game on Sunday."
Lot of quad talk there, but I like that change overall. Any time you're making an adjustment that treats wins differently based on where they happen (home, neutral, road) I count that as an improvement. (You can see the new team sheets the selection committee uses here which clears things up a bit if you're currently questioning the quads.) Miles has maintained a pretty objective view of things any time he has been asked about the Huskers' résumé. He knows Nebraska is a borderline case at this point – in terms of résumé at least, not in terms of recent run of play – and there's not much chance to meaningfully add to its profile without a couple of wins in the conference tournament.
Last night's win over Indiana bumped Nebraska up two spots in RPI to 58th. Penn State (RPI: 76) has a chance for a Quad 1 win Wednesday night at Michigan. The Nittany Lions already have two with a pair of wins over Ohio State. Whether they get another one in Ann Arbor or not, it should be one heckuva game on Sunday and an even better atmosphere in downtown Lincoln.
Two teams with tournament hopes, neither totally dead nor alive at this point. Now think of all of the bad Nebraska-Penn State basketball games you've watched over the years. Now go back to thinking about what the Vault will be like on Sunday. Back to years of games between Big Ten bottom-dwellers. And now back to a huge game with potentially big postseason implications.
I'm not sure how we got here, but I like it. And I'm confident saying this is the biggest Penn State-Nebraska basketball game in history, though the competition for that designation is firmly Quad 4.
The Grab Bag
- Louisville basketball's 2013 national title lives on only in the ink injected beneath Rick Pitino's skin as the NCAA ordered the Cardinals to vacate the title.
- And with that out of the way, Alex Kirshner of SB Nation makes the case that vacating wins is stupid.
- And with that being said. Here's an oddly interesting list of all of the vacated titles in Divisions I, II and III.
- Rebel Rags, an Ole Miss clothing retailer in Oxford, has added former Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen and AD Scott Stricklin (now both at Florida) to a defamation lawsuit.
Today's Song of Today