Hee hee...I'm loving these things.
The Daily Gopher: Nebraska sits at 4-12 in the B1G coming into the final week. In our last Q&A, you said that expectations were low and that was allowing folks to be excited by the plan that Tim Miles seems to be following. Is that still the case? Or has the long slog of the season started to wear on the fanbase and create more grumbling?
David McGee: Only from those that don't know what they're talking about. For the most part, even the casual fan knew what was going to happen this year. The fact that it's actually happening shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. That doesn't make it any fun to sit through and watch unfold, especially when you get close calls like we've seen the Huskers have. For the most part, people are still entertained by Miles humor and the stories of the redshirts running circles around the starters as well as the legend of a couple of the incoming recruits being built up to Bunyan-esque proportions are buoying the spirits of a rather moribund fanbase.
TDG: Has anything you've seen in the past month surprised you? Any major improvements being made by the Huskers? Areas of regression?
DM: Not really. As I mentioned, Husker fans knew what they were getting into this year. The only suprise has been that they've been in some games that most didn't expect them to be.
TDG: In the previous matchup, the Gophers seemed to "out athlete" the Huskers. Is there anything you've seen in recent games that would lead you to believe the same thing won't happen again on tonight?
DM: I'm sure the Huskers wil do some different things to try and slow down the Minnesota transition game and handle that press better and keep it from turning into a dunk contest again. If Minnesota is able to get out and run, it's going to be trouble for the Huskers. Playing defense on Rodney Williams is probably in their best interest as well.
TDG: Ray Gallegos. Last time out he was insane, going off for 30 points while shooting 70.6% from the floor (including 6 of 9 from 3 pt range). Any chance he has the flu or an infected hangnail or something?
DM: Yeah, you're best bet for slowing him down is to let him play, he'll slow himself down most days. He's as boom or bust as it gets. He either what we saw up in Minneapolis where he can't miss or he goes 2 for 13 for five points with four turnovers. Also, working in your favor, he doesn't go off at home and he doesn't go off in back-to-back games. He just put up 23 at Illinois, so you should be safe. If he has a big game, he'll be bucking all sorts of trends.
TDG: Time to have some fun. Which B1G basketball coach do you hate the most and why?
DM: Well, we haven't been good enough or in the league long enough to really create any grudges, at least not on the hardwood. On the whole, the programs of Wisconsin and Michigan State have caused us the most headaches, so I'll go with Bo Ryan or Tom Izzo. Nah, I'll go with Ryan, he plays the least attractive form of basketball in the league and still blows out teams (or at least Nebraska). Not really a great answer for you, sorry. (ED NOTE: Don't be sorry. You made the correct choice.)
TDG: What's your opinion on whether booze should be sold in the new basketball arena?
DM: Yes, please. It makes too much sense. They'll make money, they'll get more people to come to games, which will make them more money. It's off campus. The issues that people fear really aren't as big of issues as they want people to believe they are. A beer for me and a buddy are going to cost as much as I get paid for an hours worth of work, if not more, so it's not like people are going to be getting hammered at the concession stand. If they are, they were likely getting primed There are reasonable ways to handle limits and selling to students and such that it shouldn't be an issue. But, this is Nebraska and they're hyper conservative about these things, so it'll take some time before it gets approved. I think it will happen eventually, it's just not going to be next November. C'est la vie. Also, it's not as easy as the AD saying, "yep, let's do it." It has several channels to go through after that before it would become a reality. Some of the people that run those channels are electable, so it's possible this becomes a campaign issue down the road. Boy, won't that be fun!
TDG: Please tell Harvey to keep churning out the #PerlsOfKnowledge. They're brilliant and making my day right now. I don't have a question really...well, ok, how about this. Just how awesome is Harvey Perlman right now?
DM: Perls is one interesting cat. Most of the time, I just bang my head against the wall when I hear him talk his drivel about the college football playoff and all these issues that you and I could figure out with little issue over a lunch break. The fact of the matter is, he's a brilliant man, who has done some pretty remarkable things to advance the university. And this is just another of those things. I'm not sure who the marketing genius was who had the balls to pitch this thing to him, but whoever it is is brilliant and deserves a raise. Also, I'm not sure if they are hilarious or creepy. I'll have to get back to you on that one.
TDG: Back to the actual game...predictions for tonight?
DM: Well, it's going to be an emotional night. It's senior night and you never know how teams will respond to that. Add in the fact that it's the final game in the Devaney Center, they'll probably get close to a sell-out and all the hoop-la that goes into monumental games like that. There's going to be a lot of energy in the building. There's also a symbolic note to this one. Last year, this team also only won four games in conference play. That's what they're sitting at now, with two to play. If they can get to five and best the record they had last year with a roster that many thought would struggle to win a single game in conference play, that would be a pretty significant accomplishment in year one of the Tim Miles era. Another interesting symbolic note to this one, Nebraska opened the Devaney Center back in 1976 losing to Iowa and Minnesota in the first two games played there. Well, their last two games are vs. Iowa and Minnesota. They already beat Iowa, so there's only one thing left to do...
I think they'll play much better than they did in Williams Arena, but Minnesota's got a lot to play for yet as well as they're trying to make a final push for the dance, but you know that. I'm expecting to see one of the best performances of the year from the team. I don't think Dylan Talley and David Rivers to basically no-show's like they were the first time around, but I also don't expect to see Gallegos to have a career high again, either. I think the Huskers will try and slow it down from the pace they played with a month ago and handle the pressure much better than the first time. I'm fully expecting this thing to go right down to the end. Ultimately, I think the Huskers find a way to have one last moment in the old arena and send it out in style. Last time out it was Dylan Talley who hit the game winner late, this time, I think it'll be Shavon Shields who closes the place down as he sets Nebraska for a new era in the new building. 63-62, Nebraska and the wolves start howling around Tubby again.
Thanks again to David for stopping by! And as always, be sure to come back to participate in tonight's OPEN THREAD.