LINCOLN, NEB. Nebraska basketball coach Danny Nee turned lobbyist this week, touting sophomore point guard Tyronn Lue for first-team all-Big 12 honors.
"I don't think I've ever coached a better player," 11th-year NU coach Nee told the Omaha World-Herald. "If there have been better players at Nebraska, you could count them on a couple of fingers. He's that level a player. He's a great offensive player, a very good defensive player and his speed and acceleration are at a very high level."
Lue will be matched against KU's Jacque Vaughn today. Tip for KU-Nebraska is 2:45 p.m. at Devaney Center.
Lue scored 30 points in NU's 74-69 overtime road win over Iowa State eight days ago and scored 26 points in an overtime loss at Kansas on Feb. 1.
Lue averages 18.9 points and 4.2 assists per game for NU, 16-12 overall and 7-8 in the Big 12.
If Lue earns first-team all-conference honors, he would be only the third Nebraskan since World War II to do so as a sophomore. The others were Jerry Fort in 1974 and Dave Hoppen in 1984.
Consensus is NU must win today and win at least one game in the Big 12 Tournament to land an NCAA bid. It'd be tough to imagine the Huskers notching an NCAA Tournament slot with a losing record in conference play.
Of course, NU could win the Big 12 Tournament and land the conference's automatic berth.
"It's going to take a minor miracle for anyone to beat Kansas at Kemper," Texas coach Tom Penders said.
Once again, folks are talking about whether Nee should be fired as NU coach. In 11 years, Nee took Nebraska to four straight NCAA Tournaments, but the last two years has taken the Huskers to the NIT.
Nee recently handed Omaha columnist Tom Shatel a sheet showing the top 10 winningest football schools from 1986-87 through 1995-96 and a list of the last 10 football national champs. The sheet listed the schools' success in making postseason basketball tournaments.
NU's eight tourney appearances was tied for third with Alabama (Michigan and Oklahoma had 10 each) and second among the national champions behind Georgia Tech (9).
Not bad for a football school.
Nee and KU's Roy Williams will model ties today that will be sold to benefit "Coaches against Cancer."