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Nebraska's Sadler clings to postseason hopes

Monday, February 28, 2011 | 10:17 p.m. CST
Nebraska coach Doc Sadler calls instructions to his players in the second half of Wednesday's game against Kansas State. The Huskers lost twice in the week, but Sadler believes they still have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament.

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska coach Doc Sadler says don't write off his Huskers yet.

Last week's losses to Kansas State and Iowa State almost certainly ended the Cornhuskers' hopes for an NCAA tournament bid and seriously damaged their NIT prospects.

Sadler isn't giving up. He said Monday that games against Missouri and Colorado this week could put the Huskers back in the mix for a postseason bid.

"Everyone wants the season to get over with so everyone knows what's going to happen," Sadler said. "As crazy as this sounds, there are two games left for a lot of teams, and both of those are huge. Obviously, we were disappointed Saturday, but it doesn't end our season."

Sadler pointed out that NCAA bubble teams such as Maryland, Memphis and Wichita State, among others, also lost over the weekend.

"So, I don't think you can ever look at any of this stuff until everything is said and done," Sadler said. "It's always going to come back to one thing — wins and losses."

The Huskers (18-10, 6-8) are alone in eighth place in the Big 12 entering Tuesday night's game against No. 22 Missouri (22-7, 8-6), which is tied for fourth. Nebraska finishes the regular season Saturday at Colorado.

Even if the Huskers win both games, they probably also will need a couple of victories in the Big 12 tournament to enhance their resume.

The Huskers lost 77-69 in Columbia in January. The Tigers are 17-0 at home this season but have lost six of seven Big 12 road games. They're coming off an 80-70 loss at Kansas State.

Nebraska beat Colorado 79-67 in Lincoln but has lost four of its last five in Boulder. The Buffaloes (18-11, 7-7), coming off a home win over Texas, also are trying to strengthen their case for the postseason.

If the Huskers don't make the NCAA or NIT, they'll be able to look back and see where their season went awry.

They have one-point road losses to the Big 12's bottom two teams, Texas Tech and Iowa State. They lost by three points at Kansas in a game in which they had a double-digit lead. They also lost a four-point game at home to Kansas State four days after upsetting then-No. 3 Texas.

"When you're playing for a chance to keep playing in the postseason," Sadler said, "you're going to look back on these games and think about what you could and couldn't do. I don't know that you will right now. But as a player 10 years from now, 15 years from now, it's probably going to hurt worse."


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