Steal From Nebrasketball
Last night, the Husker Men's Basketball team defeated a rebuilding Miami team 60-49 in a grinding game to go up 6-2 on the year, with a perfect record at home. Nebraska has been picked by the Big Ten media to end up last in the conference at the end of the regular season. So how does a program with such low expectations this year generate a such a warm glow about it? This program now has a positive buzz that resonates with students, casual fans, and even the broadcast table during the nationally televised game. What does football have to do in order to build this type of positive atmosphere around the program?
It is difficult to sum up in one fell swoop as to what is generating this interest in the program. Many factors have come into play this year for a cumulative effect. Even as the team is expected to do poorly in the conference schedule, the upside seems bright because of these nuances.
Miles is a genial coach who interacts well with media, social media, fans, students, and everyone else. He has the same casual demeanor off court expected from a well-liked University professor, not a Division I Head Coach. And rumor has it that he appears to be a good coach and recruiter.
Pinnacle Bank Arena
New facilities are not just for recruits to gawk at. In this case, the fan experience is far superior to the previously played in Devaney Center. The amenities are newer, the coat of paint is fresher, and sense is that it fits in really well with the area. People are excited to see games there and make a day/night of the experience.
Fans, Students, and Students of the Game
The fans understand the game in the same way that the Husker football fans do. There are unspoken rules of conduct as a fan, such as when to grumble and groan at refs, and remembering to shout airball for a particular player every time he touches it for the rest of the game after a missed shot.
Young, Talented Players
There will be much talk about the future of the program for Miles this year. He is not rebuilding a program. He is trying to build it, period. A friend said that he could be the Tom Osborne of Nebraska Basketball by just making it to the tournament once or twice, not even thinking about winning it all. This starts with development of raw talent, exceeding recruiting expectations, and filling anticipated needs properly.
There is talk around the various opinion circuits that the gameday experience for the football team needs to be updated. It is only a piece of the puzzle. Incremental changes like music choice, PA interaction, and pre-game rituals can be refreshed, but will not change the underlying nature of the program. Excitement is built with these trivial features added on to the expectation of player talent, coaching, team experience, and the gameday culminating into this thing known as "buzz" around the program.