Most Husker fans will probably be looking ahead to the Big 10 schedule; however Saturday’s showdown against Southwest Minnesota State has an interesting dynamic to it, even if the play on the court will most likely be anything but.
Nebraska head basketball coach Tim Miles used to coach at Southwest Minnesota State from 1997 until 2001, back when the school was still known as Southwest State. Located in Marshall, Minnesota, Southwest Minnesota State is a division two school. Their basketball team is led by Brad Bigler, one of Miles’s former players, who has served as the Mustang’s head coach since 2009.
“This is a special game for me personally,” Miles said. “I’m glad we can have them here. I want to beat the heck out of them if we can.” Nebraska can afford to play a softer opponent this week, as the Big 10 appears to be shaping up to be the strongest it’s been in years.
That said, the Huskers have been given no favors in the polls, having dropped out of the AP Top 25 after beating the only team they faced this past week, Cal State Fullerton. However, Nebraska is still ranked in the Coaches Poll, at number 23. Neither of those polls though will factor into the Husker’s NCAA Tournament ambitions, but the indifference the national media has shown toward the Husker’s, despite their success, has Miles irritated.
“It motivates me,” Miles said. “If I wanted, I would go on a Twitter rant, but I’ve already done that a little bit. Our numbers are good when it comes to making the NCAA Tournament, and that’s what’s important.”
Miles has been quite candid on a topic that most other coaches would dismiss out of hand or discuss only with canned talking points. Not so for Miles, who previously stated during one of his coaches’ shows earlier in the year on Sports Nightly that “If our jerseys said anything else, like Iowa State, we’d be like, 12th in the country.”
If the team can continue their progress, then the Huskers will have nothing to worry about come March. According to Miles, the team has made improvements in a couple areas “One, is our depth is improved. I was worried about our depth,” Miles said. “With two I think that, we’ve found a second gear or two at times. There (are) times that we’re going along and we get stronger that the game goes on. I think that’s always a good sign. It gives you a lot of comfort and confidence as you go through the season.”
Saturday’s game against the Mustangs is set to start at one o’clock at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Pregame coverage will begin at noon right here on KLIN.