We had a quick discussion about this at the end of Monday's show on AM 590 - ESPN Omaha, and thought it deserved a deeper look.
So here it is - which Nebraska men's sports program is closer to enjoying what it would define as "success?" Is it football, or men's basketball?
At quick glance, it may appear be an easy question with an easy answer. But dig a little deeper, and it's not quite so simple.
The first thing to sort out is, what defines "success" for each of these programs? Truthfully, it's probably a little different for everyone.
On the football field, is success winning a national title? If so, Husker football is nowhere close to being successful. If it's simply winning the Big Ten West, than Nebraska is a lot closer.
If success is defined as winning conference championships, something the Huskers haven't achieved since 1999, then it gets a little more complicated. While Nebraska appears to be close in terms of talent to competing in the west, its hard to imagine them being competitive with the heavy hitters of the Big Ten East at the moment.
The discussion about defining success in basketball is a bit more clear, at least to me. I don't think Nebraska will ever be a yearly participant in the NCAA tournament, although that's probably the general goal for every team.
I'd say an appearance in the NIT two out of every three years, and an NCAA tournament appearance once every four seasons would be a realistic place to start. And, despite the likelihood of three losing seasons in a row, Nebraska hasn't been too far off that pace.
Now, it's also easier for a "quick fix" in college basketball given the roster size, availability of immediate impact freshman and transfers, and a variety of other factors.
But, that wasn't the question, was it?
It's been a rough year for Nebraska basketball, but their roster is full of young players that were high ceiling guys coming out of high school. Figure in a couple of impact transfers that will be available next year, and its not a huge jump to think this team could turn the corner quickly.
The UConn women's basketball team won again Monday night.
In related news, the sky is blue.
I suppose this one was slightly more significant, given it was their 100th such victory in a row.
In all seriousness, there aren't enough superlatives in the English language to describe the kind of program Geno Auriemma has built.
In addition to owning separate winning streaks of 100, 90, and 70 games, check out a few of the other things Auriemma was accomplished over the course of his career (for refernce,he was hired at UConn in 1985):
- 30 consecutive seasons above .500
- Six undefeated seasons
- 978-134 overall record (.879)
- 26 assorted national coach of the year awards
- 11 national championships, 17 Final Fours
- 21 regular season titles, 20 conference tournament titles
- Three Olympic gold medals as Team USA's head coach
- 186-10 lifetime record at UConn when ranked as the nation's #1 team
- 13 multiple All-American players
Any fool who thinks Geno couldn't be successful coaching at any level in any division need only look at those numbers to change their tune.
If that's not enough, his given name is actually Luigi. Who knew?
The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel has introduced a few rules adjustments for this season's NIT.
Among them? Resetting team fouls at the 10:00 mark of each half, essentially dividing the game into four quarters, much like women's college basketball and the NBA.
Each team would only receive four team fouls before free throws would be shot (on the fifth team foul). Instead of a one and one, all fouls beyond four would result in two free-throws.
I'm all for the adjustment. The women's game seems to move a bit quicker, and the fouling strategy at the end of quarters makes the game a bit more interesting.
If the game shifts to true "quarters," which is won't under this NIT rule, there's the potential that a media timeout could also be eliminated (the women's game uses this format).
We've seen the rules panel implement changes in the NIT before, and (not by accident) see those changes implemented into the game permanently in short order. Don't be shocked if this is the case again.