Published Tuesday, December 27, 2011 AT 11:21 PM / Updated at 11:28 PM
Huskers make bad first impression
Lee Barfknecht Omaha World-Herald

Getting pounded at home 64-40 by Wisconsin in its first Big Ten Conference basketball game was the last thing Nebraska needed.

The Huskers (8-4) are struggling for momentum and fan support. But the 24-point loss was the worst for Doc Sadler in his six years as NU’s coach. Also, the program now has three home losses before New Year’s Day, a first in 49 years.

Next up is No. 16 Michigan State on Saturday. And then a road trip to No. 2 Ohio State. And another road trip to Big Ten surprise team Illinois.

If Nebraska opens conference play with too many Ls — and big ones at that — the Devaney Center could be pretty empty by late January.

About Lee Barfknecht

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. You can email Lee at


  1. Erik says:

    Could be? They will be empty.

    1. Tomaha says:

      Confessions of an addict….season ticket holder since the Sip days…long time supporter of Doc….who I believe is a great guy and a fantastic X’s and O’s coach….but, we are six years in…and he can’t recruit….T.O. please don’t waste 2 more years waiting to see if Doc can finally recruit to facilities….It ain’t happening! Huggins recruited to Manhattan Kansas(!!!!) in one year….(If you have you ever been to Manhattan you know what I mean.)
      T.O. now has an opportunity to start a giant towards it’s rise…please I am in my 60′s and this wait has been way to long…We now have had more than a quarter of a Billion $$$ spent on new facilities…this new hire should be like running the final quarter mile of the marathon…please don’t stop now that we are almost home!
      And Doc I wish you well, unfortunately it can’t be here.

      1. Nate says:

        Bottom line: There is nothing, nada, positive about where the hoops program is at. Let’s examine:

        1. High rate of transfers – at least 1 scholarship player per year
        2. Lack of talent – this is the worst team in the big ten
        3. Injuries – Either our trainers are incompetant, our practices are too tough, or our players are wimps (see #2)
        4. Incredibly boring style of hoops – remember Doc said in his opening presser that the seats at the end of the court were hopefully expensive, because they were gonna use all 94 feet. What a crock that was. Doc is a good fundamental defensive coach, and would be an elite assistant at a big time program — a defensive specialist. He hasn’t a clue, or a care (not sure which one) on how to coach offense. There is no sales pitch in the world that could convince an elite talent to play in doc’s system. Wisconsin makes it work because they hired an elite coach.
        5. Lack of fan support – Not entirely Doc’s fault, but all things add up to this. A husker hoops game is genuinely boring. The announcer is average, the video and sound presentations are truly lame, and our 400 person student section is…well…undermanned.
        I’m positive there is plenty more to mention, but I gotta get to work. This is more emotion I’ve used on husker hoops since 1998. Have a great day!

        1. jtcruiser says:

          I agree… the transfer rate is ridiculous and I’m not sure why he continues to recruit players with bad knees, bad feet….bad attitude..etc I guess UNL is known as a place where you can get a BB scholorship and not even have to play basketball.. Doc ….. C’MON MAN

          I gave him the benefit of the doubt for a long time. This team is very difficult to watch… Last years team was the same. 5 minutes into the game and you are like wow….is there something more productive I should be doing??

        2. Frank says:

          Wait just a minute! The Huskers have some really cool locker rooms now. That’s at least one good thing.

      2. macjones says:

        ” fantastic x’s and y’s coah. ” dUh. You obviously must have an alcohol Cip-ping problem.

        Lil’ Herbie fanhood and APOLOGETIC Lil’ Herbe mens basketball media-nexus, PLEASE stick to what y’all know best. See pigskin happenings.

        Because y’all show how cogently DENSE y’all be, when it comes to major college hoops. Eh. Seriously!

        And it behooves the OWH to give Blue Jay basketball relatively more love than that JOKE of a mens basketball team down in the smalltown Capital town.

        Yeah, yeah the sports pundits at the OWH have to SERVE the HAND THAT FEEDS them. Lil’ Herbie athletics anyone.

        1. jtcruiser says:

          and dumber…

        2. Rickenaz says:

          Even if we were to have won this game. Macjones would be down, but I have to admit were having recruiting problems. The class this year was good but lets face it, we needed a big time center and we got power forwards AGAIN. We also hope the best for our injured players but all of our centers are hurt, so lets recap. First year Doc relied on Merich who was Colliers recruit. Then we had no center at all and one guy not eligible and one guy hurt. Then we had of course last year where we had two centers, Diaz and Almeida. Almeida was out of shape and this year his knee is hurting him so he’s out and Diaz has foot problems so he is out. Next year, Almeida may be healthy, but will he be able to play hard for at least 20 minutes? Neiman, looked pretty mobile, but has a lot to learn. The question is will he be able to play next year for the other 20 minutes. Bottom line, were recruiting project kids 100% of the time who have injuries or eligibility issues and hoping that the baggage will play out. When you do that and it does’nt, it leaves you with nothing. That’s pretty close to what I see. We have plenty of guards and forwards this year and no centers, so we can’t get open shots outside because once again we have no inside game at all. Ubell is trying his best to play center but that guy is another PF and from what I can see a pretty darn good one, but with no center inside he can’t do what he does best. I HATE, HATE, HATE to say it, but we need someone who can coach offense and recruit, all types of players. It’s tougher than average to recruit to Lincoln, but honestly, it’s not as tough as weve been making it out to be. Nee, did’nt have much trouble getting guys in, his problem was keeping the guys happy and not at eachothers throats. I wish Doc luck in the future, He’s a great guy and deserves better luck than he’s had, but I think it is time to pull the plug and start over AGAIN(oh man, not again)!!! IF and WHEN we start looking for a new coach, I hope we look for a guy who is an assistant at a big time school who puts up 80-100 points in most games and has a very energetic type of personality. We need that to excite the young guys. To let them know that they are coming in to Nebraska, under a new outlook in a new conference, with ambitions of winning a B1G title and the sky is the limit as to what they can do. We need a young man who is determined to make his mark, a real fire eater. Otherwise, we can hope that Doc will somehow get everyone healthy and in shape next year and recruit a true high school center to come in for 2013-14 season, but the track record says that’s not going to happen. As a result, it is time to start over, in my opinion.

          1. David Anderson says:

            Rick, it’s wonderful to see that you are opening your eyes to reality. I, like you, wanted so bad to give Doc the benefit of the doubt, but your summary of his tenure is excellent, and if it hadn’t been for the one year he had a Collier recruit in the paint, his record would be even more abysmal. Like it or not, the only way to win in the DI NCAA is to play on the fringe of the rules and take kids who quit school in 6th grade to play basketball (AAU, college {using the term at its most liberal extent}, and pros {NBA, CBA,
            Europe, South America, Australia} or the streets.
            The idea of a student athlete in basketball is the epitome of an oxymoron!

      3. ron says:

        I couldn’t agree more, Doc has been weak in recruiting to NU. Please T.O. make the change before we fall further into basketball hell. We will be absolutly white washed this season. I have a hard time watching games on TV and would not spend hard earned dollars to see them live. I never thought I would say this but I miss Danny Nee.

    2. Sam says:

      I think it is worth asking the question (even if it is early): Have the players already quit on Kenneth?

      1. David Anderson says:

        Did anyone look at Ubel’s expression after the game during the press conference? If that wasn’t the face of someone who has lost hope, I don’t think I have ever seen it. It is a sad day for Nebraska, that we have committed so much money in the current economic melieu to facilities, and completely ignore what it takes to bring athletes in to compete. This will spill over into other areas of the athletic program, as ennui always does.

  2. Mentally Red says:

    Nebraska doesn’t do so well in situations like “last Big 12 game” or “first Big 10 game”….

  3. scott says:

    Bring in some more junior college players. Only school in Big Ten that they can attend, this academic powerhouse. And what’s with this ridiculously huge N on the basketball course. Laughable.

    1. macjones says:

      Yeah, and bring in some more FOREIGN-IMPORT slow-footed post players. LOL

  4. Lyle says:

    Brad Stevens at Butler. Just a thought. Imagine a coach with his skills at a facility like Nebraska will have in the next couple of years. Stevens gets the most out of the least of any coach around and at a very tiny school. Just sayin’

    1. scott says:

      How about some academic facilities? Oh, forgot, this isn’t really a university. Just sports to give the bored citizens something to do. How sad.

      1. jtcruiser says:

        I believe they have fine academic facilities Scott. Have you ever been on campus? Or would that make you too sad?

        1. scott says:

          Are you kidding? Joke. Go build another wing on the football field.

          1. jtcruiser says:

            The football field has wings?

      2. Nick says:

        Scott, if you’re not a sports fan why are you reading the sports page?

    2. Rickenaz says:

      Stevens at Butler is another defensive type. Sure they CAN put up points, but they already HAVE great players. Here I think he would start out defensive and try to creep his way into an offensive philosophy. That failed with Collier. The guy we get must be determined to run and shoot, live and die with offense or we are doomed to the same thing we have been seeing over the last 11 years. In basketball, coaches who coach defense primarily, don’t recruit well enough to build a program from scratch. A new offensive approach, new facilities, new league = new hope, new opportunity and new horizons for NU.

    3. Reality Chex says:

      Great idea!

      The last time we got a high-flying coach from Butler really worked, didn’t it?

  5. 3ball says:

    I really like Doc, but I can’t even defend him anymore. The problem is Doc can’t figure out what his overall plan is. He seems to change his plan for each part of the team week by week.

    Style – When he 1st got here, Doc said NU would run & gun. Then NU played slow it down for 5 years. Then this year he said he wanted NU to push the pace on offense and get quick easy shots, now he’s blasting his team for not taking enough time on the shot clock.

    Recruiting – When Doc 1st got here, he said he was going to follow Gonzaga’s lead and redshirt his recruits so his 5th year seniors were better than other team’s freshman & sophomores (mccray, richardson, and transferred edwards fall into this plan). Then he switched to needing to recruit overseas cause NU couldn’t compete with other schools for big guy recruits (neimann, almeida, diaz). Now he wants to recruit big10 country.

    And a general comment, for being a “defensive mastermind”, have you ever seen a team who continually gives up wide open 3 point shots every game? And for the love of god, quit switching up top leaving Brandon Ubel one on one with an All American point guard Taylor.

  6. scott says:

    Lord knows Lincoln ain’t Madison.

    1. jtcruiser says:

      Yeah he does… and lots of other people do too!

  7. Frank says:

    I think the golf coach recruiting Coordinator for football should also recruit for the basketball team. That will solve the problem.

  8. BlueJay says:

    Wisconsin can make any team look inept. Bo Ryan is one of the best coaches in college basketball. His teams just do not beat themselves. That being said, the Huskers look totally clueless (esp on offense).

    Their lack of inside scorers is going to be a huge liability in the Big Ten. There are also some very tough road venues in the conference. I think in the long run the Huskers should benefit with the move.

    I like Sadler and would love to see him succeed (yes, I am Creighton alum who also likes Husker sports), but the clock is ticking on him. T.O. may give him a bit more leeway since the Huskers are the new kid on the block, but eventually things need to get better.

    1. macjones says:

      Lil’ Herbie mens basketball don’t have no LEGITIMATE bench depth too.

      I’m touting Lil’Herbie roundball has THIRTEEN (13) conference losses in 2012. Say it ain’t so.

      Y’all Lil’ Herbie cheerleaders read it here first. Eh.

      1. Johnson says:

        You are beyond stupid.

  9. Husker Hoops says:

    Nebraska basketball will be fine. It’s only the first game of the Big Ten, and there’s a lot of ball to play. Let’s support Doc and the Husker team!!! Go Big Red!!

    1. macjones says:

      DELUSIONAL Lil’ Herbie bUbba is like the man which fell off the 12-story building. Eh. As this smalltown good ol’ boy passed each floor, bUbba good ol’ boy shouted out EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE. LMAO

      As I bloviated earlier, opine on college pigskin happenings. Because y’all Lil’ Herbie basketball WANNA’ BE’s be seriously LACKING in major college hoopdom SAVY. Get outta’ here.

      And Lil’Herbie AKA H.H. is the latest textbook EXAMPLE of DAFT. dUh.

      Cornhusker hoops… here’s looking at continuing that LAUGHABLE FOURTEEN (14) CONSECUTIVE seasons of absolutely NO N.C.A.A. Tournament action. Say it ain’t so, bUbba’s.

      1. kevin says:

        You know macjones If I seen you I’d kick your as* your annoying. First off stick to the Creighton blogs, BTW did Kevin Ross ever learn how to read ??? secondly r u really danny nee under a fake name ??? Maybe Doc needs to go, I don’t know I will leave that up to the people who hopefully know that. I will say WE’VE never been able to recruit, or win an NCAA tournament game so the problem is much deeper then DOC. However I seen something last night that really concerned me and that was the lack of fans in the stands giving us a true home court advantage. It was like a church (silent) that has got to stop the same problem at FBall games. It seemed that when we got within 5 in the second half we couldn’t get closer, after a couple of Wisky buckets it appeared the kids quit, that bothers me.

        1. MC says:

          So Kevin, you can call them “Quitters” but I can’t call them girls. You need to get off your Husker High Horse. If you don’t like what other people have to say on here, then stop coming here to read all the comments. How’s it feel to get destroyed on national television. Oh and Creighton is 3-0 against the B1G conference. So you say Doc is doing the best he can, seems like his team isn’t doing much of anything that shows any progress. And this is the guy you want running this program. That team seemed totally confused out there.

  10. kevin says:

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH NO MACJONES…. bloody well BlueJays got beat at home by Missouri State Community College. Bubba good ole boy shouted out… We aint crap, small town good ole boy ball in the Heckville isn’t so good after all…Come on Lil Bluejay join Lil Herbie…. LMAO !!!! Where the heck is Tom Apke when we need him. Take your BJ arrogence and stick it up your BObo !!!LMAO !!!!

    1. Tony says:

      Missouri State would beat the Huskers, also. They are NOT a community college anymore than Nebraska is. Wasn’t it MSU that eliminated NU from their own baseball regional a few years back? Oh, I forgot, they’re a mid-major and, as a result. are not in the same class as the mighty huskers.

  11. MC says:

    Kevin, your Huskers are 8-4 and they’ve lost 3 games at homes, I would understand if you lost those games on the road, they had a pretty easy non-conference schedule. Creighton’s lose doesn’t look as bad as NU’s loses.

    1. Rickenaz says:

      Looks like Nebraska needs a new coach and Creighton needs new/classier fans!

      1. MC says:

        I would agree with that totally, but Nebraska needs both a new coach and more knowledgeable fans as well. Fans who won’t accept losing year after year. I would love to see them field a competitive team for once before the end of time.

      2. Tony says:

        Don’t worry about Creighton ; they’re getting more and more fans by the day.

  12. Rickenaz says:

    Truth be told, Nee was his own worst enemy. He ran himself off. He lost control of his team. Without the teams respect he started losing. I’m not sure what happened but it impoaded. It was’nt the faculty, or the fans, it was Nee’s relationship with the players, in my opinion that caused the problem.

  13. Tom says:

    I will give the Nebraska basketball marketing department a A+ or F after the Wisconsin game.
    1. Getting people to buy “General Admin” tickets at $26….. Thinking they will have the opportunity to seat on the bleacher seats or in the section B student section. Great marketing. A+
    2. Show up over an hour early to set on bleachers only to have someone in charge of seating tell you, “You can’t set here because they are reserved for Red Zone students”. They could have told us earlier, instead of 15 minutes later. F
    3. Moving up to the B section only to see that over half the seats were tape off and reserved for parents and whoever. F
    4. Due to the fact we had been setting in seats we were not allowed to seat in “Red Zone” bleachers, we are now able to set in the middle of section C. F
    5. Note to those who bought General Admin for the Michigan State game…..Stay home and watch it on T.V.

    1. David Anderson says:

      That is, both of you!

      1. Handy Johnson says:

        This team went 7-9 in the Big XII last year, also knocking off Texas. This year we switched out Jeter-Jones Almeida for Spencer-Talley- Niemann and they look overmatched and timid. Will we win even 5 B1G games?

        1. macjones says:

          Eh bUbba. Why you stealing my thunder, because I already TOUTED, that that Lil’ Herbie mens team would BARELY win five conference games in 2011-2012. Say it ain’t so.

          By the way Lil’ Herbie good ol’ boys, Michigan St. has the ATHLETICISM which the Baders RELATIVELY lack and y’all Lil’Herbie bUbba’s know all about the second-half MOLESTATION at the hands of Wisconsin. Eh.

          Spartans by DOUBLE-DIGITS on Saturday, as well as covering the point-spread.

  14. kevin says:

    I like the fact MC tells me the way it is…thanks Dad. First off what I said and what you said is in the same league ? if so u must play in the deaf, dumb league. Calling kids Women, and would get beat by the women’s team, is no where near saying ” it looked like they quit”. But since you like to hang onto everything I say let me ask you another question. When you say you could understand if NU lost 3 games on the road… no you wouldn’t you bash them at every opportunity, The last thing you would ever do is understand anything they would do. You also said if I don’t like what people say I should get off the blogs. Love how you negative bloggers try to dictate the forum, and the message that’s going to be delivered. And I NEVER said NU basketball was great. What I said is have some respect don’t come onto a blog and bash an 18,19,20 year old kid, calling them women and demeaning them. Yeah that’s real educated. As for MacJones….. oh boy lil BlueJay apparently needs to join Lil Herbie..ah ! bloody shame they can’t beat a small town Hickville community college team from the middle of nowhere…….

    1. Tony says:

      Missouri State would beat the Huskers, also. They are NOT a community college anymore than Nebraska is. Wasn’t it MSU that eliminated NU from their own baseball regional a few years back? Oh, I forgot, they’re a mid-major and, as a result. are not in the same class as the mighty huskers.

      1. kevin says:

        Tony, This has nothing to do with you,or your team. This is directed at two people who always like to stick something at NU. Missouri State Community College probably could beat NU in basketball, but all I care about is they beat CU and shut these two blow hards up. Congrats on the victory !

        1. Tony says:

          Who is my team?

          1. kevin says:

            Don’t know Tony who