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March 18, 2013

Miles explains decision to pass on postseason play

There was certainly plenty of debate leading up to Selection Sunday as to whether Nebraska should or should not look to play in a lower-tier postseason tournament, whether it be the College Basketball Invitational or the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

When all was said and done, though, the Huskers ended up staying home for the postseason after not reaching their goals of making either the NCAA Tournament or National Invitation Tournament.

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles sat down with HuskerOnline.com on Monday to explain exactly what went into the Huskers not continuing their season. He said that while NU submitted the proper paperwork to the CBI prior to the Big Ten Tournament last week, the Huskers had no intentions of playing in any event lower than the NIT.

"I think we headed off any offer besides the NIT before it got to that point, just because at this point in time, talking with the seniors early in the season, they wanted to make the NIT or the NCAA," Miles said. "Those were our goals. Quite frankly, there were some really good teams left out of the NIT. I don't know where we would have gone from here. But I'm not really caught up in it. This team did all they could do. I think they should feel great about setting the tone for the future. I mean, six Big Ten wins is pretty good stuff. I look forward to a time when we're going forward and doing more and more."

Miles said not playing in the CBI was "a collective decision" made by the coaches, players and university administrators.

Supporters of Nebraska playing in the postseason suggested that if simply rewarding seniors Brandon Ubel, Dylan Talley and Andre Almeida with the chance at a few more games wasn't enough, the opportunity to give the younger player even more practice and game experience was equally valuable.

However, Miles said there were just as many cons to participating in those tournaments. He wouldn't go into detail about what factors turned the team off the most, but some of the obvious drawbacks include the additional travel the Huskers would have without being able to host a home game as well as the physical and mental fatigue of a lineup that's featured just six or seven players most of the year.

Going back to NU's game at Wisconsin on Feb. 26, Nebraska would have played in no fewer than six road games in the past month had they accepted a postseason invite.

"I think these postseason events are - you know, I've played in all of them: the CBI, the NIT, the NCAA," Miles said. "It can be good or bad on any account. Good for the seniors, bad for the seniors. Good for the freshmen, bad for the freshmen. Obviously it's always good to be with your team more and more and be competing for another tournament. That's the great part about it. At this point in time, we didn't make the NIT, we didn't make the NCAA, so our season was over."

Another reason Miles was hesitant to go to the CBI, which he stressed throughout the latter portion of the regular season, was that no Big Ten team had played in a tournament below the NIT. With the Huskers being in just their second year in the league, he didn't want to be the first.

Coincidentally, Purdue went ahead and claimed that title on Sunday when it accepted an invite to the CBI. Texas also became the first Big 12 Conference team to play in the 16-team tournament. With that now out of the way and a younger and much less experienced roster coming up next season, Miles said he would be much more inclined to consider playing the CBI moving forward.

"I think it's something we would consider, certainly, if they consider us," Miles said.

The idea of Nebraska possibly playing in an overseas tournament this fall has also come up as a possible postseason alternative, but the Huskers are still a year away from their four-year waiting period to open back up after playing in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off back in 2010-11.

Like it or not, Nebraska's postseason fate is sealed for good. The coaching staff is already on the road recruiting this week, and will be traveling even more once the AAU season fires back up in April.

"So we're just hanging out," Miles said. "You won't see us again until we're in Pinnacle Bank in November."


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