Published Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 7:06 pm / Updated at 7:15 pm
Huskers get fantastic feedback for recent play

LINCOLN — Nebraska fans looking for some national love should check out what’s being said about Husker men’s basketball.

Yes, basketball.

ESPN’s Andy Katz led off his “3-Point Shot” video segment Friday with a salute to NU and second-year coach Tim Miles following the 60-55 win over Indiana.

“So Nebraska suddenly is a team to be reckoned with in the Big Ten,” Katz said, “certainly at home.”

Indiana coach Tom Crean might get recruited as a Nebraska publicity agent after his comments.

“Tim Miles has done a fantastic job,” Crean said. “He has a great staff. They played very hard. It’s just a matter of time. They’ve got a lot of things to be excited about and to be proud of. They’ve got a very good team, and they cause matchup issues.”

Minnesota lost 82-78 at Nebraska, and Gophers coach Richard Pitino saluted Miles, whose Huskers were picked in the preseason for the second straight year to finish last in the Big Ten.

“He is building it the right way,” Pitino said. “I have no doubt they will continue to improve.

“When you look at the fact that one of their better players (Deverell Biggs) didn’t even play — why, I don’t know — but (Miles) stuck to his principles and they got the win.”

Pinnacle Bank Arena, Nebraska’s new home after 37 years at the Devaney Center, also has grabbed the attention of almost all who enter.

“This building,” Crean said, “is spectacular.”

Nebraska, which hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament in 15 years or claimed part of a conference title in 64 years, sold out all season tickets last May. And fans didn’t just buy tickets. They have shown up, too.

The actual average attendance through 11 games is 13,410. That would be a school record. The current mark is 13,357 in 1992-93.

The announced attendance of 15,239, which should hold steady, likely will put Nebraska in the top 15 in national attendance when final numbers come out in mid-March. For 2013, UNLV was 14th at 15,196 and Marquette 15th at 15,033.

Only one of 11 opponents has escaped Pinnacle Bank Arena this season with a victory, and that is Big Ten leader Michigan.

The Wolverines, who won 71-70, made a 50-foot 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, then saw Nebraska miss a layup and a point-blank tip-in in the final four seconds.

“We were really fortunate to get this win,” Wolverines coach John Beilein said. “We shot 62 percent, but we couldn’t stop them. Thank goodness we shot the ball well.

“Tim has a great team here. This is going to be a team that gets really good as long as they stay together. They’ve really got a lot of talent, and he will do the right job with it.”

Nebraska (11-9, 3-5) plays twice this week on the road — Wednesday at No. 10 Michigan and Saturday at Northwestern.

Contact the writer: Lee Barfknecht    |   402-444-1024    |  

Lee Barfknecht has won nine national writing awards from four separate organizations, and is a 12-time winner of the Nebraska sportswriter of the year award. He covers Big Ten football and basketball, Nebraska basketball and other college financial issues for The World-Herald.



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