On Sunday, after Iowa administered a good-old-fashioned butt-kicking to Nebraska in the Cornhuskers’s home arena, 74-46, Nebraska coach Tim Miles gave a butt-kicking of his own to his team, banning them from the locker room indefinitely and barring any player interviews.
Miles had every reason to vent his fury during the postgame media session. The Cornhuskers trailed 42-16 at halftime after Iowa went on a 21-2 run, and that deficit grew to 51-20 only five minutes into the second half. Miles asked, “When’s the last time we saw a 50-20 game? 50 to 20, for crying out loud. About that time, I started thinking about recruiting.”
Nebraska’s Hendricks Complex plus locker rooms, which feature multiple big-screen TVs, a pool table and smoothie bar, leather lounge chairs, heated towel racks, and I-pod shower plug-ins will be off-limits. Miles said bluntly, “There will be chains on the doors locking it from the outside until further notice.’’ Asked where the players would get ready for games, Miles snapped, “Good luck. They’re creative.”
Despite the fact that the Hawkeyes (17-10, 8-6) had lost five of their last eight games, they scored on their first four possessions, racing to an 8-2 lead. The Cornhuskers, (13-14, 5-10) never recovered, losing their fifth straight game and seventh in eight games, even though they had put up a mighty fight against Maryland last Thursday, losing 69-65.
Nebraska’s three-point shooting failed miserably, as the team shot 11.1% from beyond the arc; the team only shot 32.7% from the field. Miles said of the offense, “It looked like the Bad News Bears.”
Only two players had ten points or more. Nebraska’s defense also failed; the previous 38 games, Nebraska had not allowed any team to shoot over 50% from the field, easily the longest such streak in the Big Ten, but Iowa shot 50%.
Miles indicated that the brutal performance from his team catalyzed a remembrance of his days at Division II Southwest Minnesota State, when his team raised money for new basketball shoes by picking up trash for a weekend at a renaissance festival. He said:
If I had the option. I would do that tonight, tomorrow and the next day and pay back the fans the cost of their ticket. Our fans have been so supportive and so great. We get 15,000 people here and just go into non-compete mode. We showed softness and a lack of leadership and a lack of willingness to listen to leadership. It’s unacceptable.
Miles claimed his team “half-assed it.” He summed up, “You never want to throw your players under the bus. But that was beyond disappointing. That’s not what we represent . . . We quit easily today, and that’s a great disappointment . . . You have to have a great amount of pride to compete when things aren’t going well. We didn’t show any pride.”
No one can claim Miles doesn’t put out for the sports teams at the university; he applied for the position as the head of the Student Group for games, pointing out that he has attended every Husker game, home and away, for the past two years.