Dunk City. Tim Miles. Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tommy Lee. Sell out.
It was an impressive night for the Cornhuskers in the debut of their new Pinnacle Bank Arena. Their new $179 million arena has already sold out all of its tickets for the 2013-14 season and the arena was loud and rowdy for Nebraska's opener against Florida Gulf Coast. In the house (even DJing earlier on) was Tommy Lee, adding even more pizzazz to the mix.
Of course everyone that has any interest in college basketball remembers Dunk City and Florida Gulf Coast last season. So for a team that returns most of their players from last season it was a decisively different outing this time for the Eagles. Like seriously, did Dunk City even dunk it tonight?
With Florida Gulf Coast wasn't able to lob the ball up and slam it down for the highlight reel tonight, the team looked considerably more like the team that struggled throughout the tail end of the Florida game last season. Florida Gulf Coast shot poorly from the field, only making 44.2% of their field goals and shooting an even worse 11 of 21 from the charity stripe. The Eagles also lost the rebound battle, committed more turnovers and sent Nebraska to the line 31 times. All part of the recipe for disaster.
On the flip side, the Cornhuskers looked impressive. Maybe it was the new arena, maybe it was the crowd and the fact that this was the most pumped up any Nebraska crowd has probably ever been for the basketball team. Nebraska opened up a double digit lead thanks to the 28 points from Shavon Shields and cruised out to an early lead and decisive win.
The team shot over 50% from the field and an even 50% from beyond the arc, a major improvement over some of last year's performances. Even though Nebraska's talent might struggle later on in the season, if the crowd can continue to support the team like this then Lincoln will be an increasingly difficult place for teams to travel out too.
Tim Miles second season as Nebraska's coach has gotten off to a quick start and for the first time in possibly ever, people seem excited for Nebraska basketball.