This was supposed to be the year of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Arguably, head coach Tim Miles had his best team in Lincoln. They were going to play well and then perform in the NCAA Tournament. Instead, a promising start led to a difficult Big Ten conference season. By the end, an NIT loss the TCU Horned Frogs was the final straw of the Miles’ era in Nebraska.
The Huskers finished with a (19-17, 6-14) record in their quest for an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. Coach Miles led the Huskers to a (7-1) record before their first conference game. Although they lost to the Minnesota Gophers in early December, the Huskers still finished the non-conference portion of the schedule with an (10-1) record. They were (11-2) overall entering the new year. That’s when the bottom fell out.
The Huskers gave away a game to the Maryland Terrapins. Then they lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes. All of a sudden, the team that appeared to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament lost their first three games of the Big Ten season. They bounced back to win a pair of home games over Penn State and Indiana. However, the Huskers lost seven straight games spanning January into February. They ended up losing 11 of 13 games before winning the season finale over the Hawkeyes.
The season was also marred by various injuries and missing players. Clearly, coach Miles was ready to lean on his four star players to lead the way. Unfortunately, Isaac Copeland only played in 20 games before sustaining a season-ending injury against the Ohio State Buckeyes. As a result, the Huskers never recovered.
Miles spent seven seasons running the sidelines for the Huskers in the Big Ten. He finished with a (116-114) record during his tenure in Lincoln. Miles led the Huskers to the NCAA Tournament during his second season in 2014. The Huskers finished that season with a (19-13) record. However, they weren’t fortunate enough to make the NCAA Tournament last season with a (22-11) record. Despite finishing in fourth place, the Big Ten was lightly regarded. It was clear from the outset, the Big Ten might be a little stronger this year. Everything proved to be true.
Miles also coached the Colorado State Rams for five seasons. He gradually turned the Rams from a seven-win team into a 20-win team before moving into the Big Ten. Overall, Miles is (187-202) as a head coach.
It will be interesting to see how fans think of Miles’ legacy. Remember, he led the Cornhuskers to their first NCAA Tournament since Danny Nee in 1997. Nee led the Huskers to 5 NCAA Tournament appearances in 14 seasons with the Huskers. However, he never won a tournament game.
Doc Sadler and Barry Collier were the two head coaches prior to Miles. They never led the Huskers to the NCAA Tournament. Therefore, the people of Nebraska are still looking for their first NCAA Tournament victory. It’s a risk firing Miles. Yet, the Huskers feel they need to make a change to boost the program. We will find out if it’s a good move.