NEBRASKA AT OHIO STATE
6 p.m. Thursday • Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio • ESPN • 1110 AM KFAB
LINCOLN — For anyone thinking Nebraska men's basketball coach Tim Miles was joking about banning his team from its luxury locker room after the loss to Iowa, proof came Monday in the bags that lined the outer hallway.
Players will have access to workout gear, the weight room and medical/therapy equipment as needed, Miles said. Student managers collected clothing and placed it in labeled bags on the floor.
But the lounge and locker room, with all their high-dollar accoutrements, are locked.
"They'll need to dress and shower somewhere else," Miles said.
It's a reminder to his players — and an indefinite one — that the effort and attention to detail in the 74-46 home setback to Iowa were unacceptable.
"Something's got to give," Miles said. "If they aren't in their normal environment, maybe they'll have time to think about what's really important to them — and how important Nebraska basketball is and your opportunity to play and the privilege to play."
Miles has tried similar motivational tactics in his 20 years as head coach.
"I've done cruel and unusual things at other places," he said with some sarcasm. "I just don't remember what they were."
At North Dakota State, where the locker room was "20 by 6," he said, it was more punishment to stay in there than come out.
In this instance, Miles said, "Compared to our effort, the punishment is less than punitive."
Blowout losses sometimes can be blamed on a generation that grew up playing video games. "It's easy to quit and hit reset," Miles said, instead of gutting out difficult circumstances to the end of a competition.
But seeing that response from his players as Iowa had its way with them sent his blood pressure rising.
"I don't care if we're not going to the NCAA unless a miracle happens. I don't care where we're going. That's unacceptable," Miles said. "Your ability to bounce back and keep fighting to the end has got to be something that's a staple in your life."
Mid-February can be the dog days of a long basketball season. Miles said he sometimes sees that, but has trouble fathoming a dwindling desire to compete.
"I'm always surprised how much motivation and inspiring you need to do in the latter months of the season," he said. "You'd think when you get toward the end that people are jacked up for the Big Ten tournament or excited for the potential.
"But you really need to inspire guys."
TBL: LOCKDOWN A GOOD MOVE?
Get "The Bottom
Line" host Mike'l Severe's thoughts on coach Tim Miles' decision to ban players from the Husker men's basketball locker room. Omaha.com/bigred