The college basketball season is still relatively young, but Nebraska head coach Tim Miles has already learned a valuable lesson: don’t talk smack to Tim Izzo – especially not before the game.
Miles exchanged some light-hearted humor – or so he thought – with Izzo ahead of Nebraska’s game at No. 3 Michigan State on Sunday. The background: Nebraska had defeated Michigan State at the Breslin Center twice in recent years: first in February 2014, when Michigan State was ranked No. 9 in the country, and again in January 2016, when Michigan State was ranked No. 11.
“I told Coach Izzo, ‘Coach, when we beat you this year, you and I are going to be the only guys with winning records in Breslin,” Miles recalled on Ferrall on the Bench. “I don’t think he liked that very much. He took it to us.”
Indeed, he did. The No. 3 Spartans walloped Nebraska 86-57 on Sunday.
“We got drilled,” Miles said. “It was just a slow dismemberment of a game. But I did that to us. That’s my fault.”
Nebraska, to its credit, bounced back against No. 14 Minnesota on Tuesday, beating the Golden Gophers 78-68, as junior guard Glynn Watson Jr. scored a game-high 29 points and secured a team-high nine rebounds.
“He didn’t do much wrong,” Miles said. “Michigan State was running bodies at him on Sunday, and he really bounced back with a great performance tonight. He missed his last free throw – otherwise he would have hung 30 on them. But nine rebounds for a kid that’s probably 5-11? Glynn’s just been tremendous for us. I think he’s an all-conference-type guard. I think that Minnesota is a terrific team. They’ve got physicality, they’ve got great guards, and Glynn was the best guy on the floor tonight.”
Miles was happy to see his team respond the way it did following the beatdown at Breslin.
“They just played harder than we did,” Miles said of the Spartans. “Michigan State’s got as good a team as I’ve seen in my six years in the league, and that includes the Final Four team and the 2-seed. Not only are they multitalented (with) elite talent, but they just played harder than we did – and that’s a bunch of crap. So I thought our kids really did a great job just bouncing back and showing their resolve.”
Nebraska (7-3) plays at Creighton (6-2) this Saturday ahead of a home showdown with No. 2 Kansas (7-0) on Dec. 16. Tip-off is slated for 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET, respectively.