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With a No. 4-seed women’s team and a No. 11-seed men’s team in the 2014 NCAA Basketball Championships, Nebraska is one of 25 schools that can claim two teams competing in this year’s NCAA Tournament. For fun, we took the seeds of both qualifying teams in both tournaments and added them together to see which schools would rank the best among all double-qualifying schools. Using the combined totals, we offer up a couple of interesting facts – 1) Nebraska’s two programs together are a Sweet 16 combo deal in comparisons among all 25 double-qualifying NCAA schools; and 2) Nebraska is the only school among the 2014 NCAA qualifiers to claim a conference coach of the year on both sides.
Tim Miles and Connie Yori were both choices among their respective peers to earn 2014 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year honors. The best news? Miles and Yori respect each other, follow each other’s teams and feed off each other’s humor. Each values the other in terms of leadership, style, and conditioning. Each has come a long way from last fall’s Big Ten Media Day in Chicago when Miles quipped that both were ranked 12th in the preseason – Miles’ team in the conference and Yori’s team in the country. Self-deprecating and targeted humor continued at a donor luncheon when they followed each other to the podium to see who could get the biggest laugh.
Comedic, Caring Miles a Perfect Fit for Nebraska
Count Yori, the 2010 National Coach of the Year, an inspired member of the Tim Miles Fan Club. “What I don’t like about Tim is nothing. What I like about him is everything,” she told me Thursday afternoon prior to the Huskers’ team flight to Los Angeles for Saturday’s Regional matchup with Fresno State. “I think he is so perfect for Nebraska. He really gets what our fans need and he understands what it takes to be a great coach. He’s a good X’s and O’s guy; he’s got great feel with the people; and he’s good with the fans. And he’s going to prove that he and his staff are great recruiters.”
Yori believes Miles “doesn’t take himself too seriously, and I probably need to be a little better in that area,” she said. “Tim has fun and those are all good qualities. Not many people have the full package of all those qualities. Tim has what you want in a coach at this level and we’re fortunate to have him. He’s made fun of me but in a good way."
Miles Finds Unique Way to Cheer Up Coach Yori
Miles brought in a laminated picture of Yori after she fainted during a late-season game. “It was a picture that was in the newspaper, so he colored my shoes red and wrote: ‘Dorothy wants her shoes back!’ and then laminated it,” Yori said. “I looked like the Wicked Witch of the East with the ruby red shoes. He was like, ‘Is this a little too soon?’ and I was like ‘No I’ve been making fun of myself for the last two weeks.’ To reach out and do something like that when he’s busy himself, that’s kind of cool.” In my mind, it’s kind of cool because any time one head coach can have fun with another by calling her Dorothy, you know there’s some sort of link between a classic movie-line – “There’s No Place Like Home” – to a university’s favorite expression – “There’s No Place Like Nebraska.”
“Tim’s whole staff is that way – they’re all just really good guys,” Yori said. “They come into our office quite frequently – more than we go in theirs. I mean, I always feel a little weird going over there because I’m sure they’re busy. But they come in our office and say hi and just talk, not for long stretches, but just to check in on us.”
Big Ten Coaches of the Year Similarities
Miles and Yori are intense, committed, devoted to defense, and coach the game with the kinds of smiles that coaches have when they’re equally equipped with enthusiasm, emotion and competitive fire. They prioritize the listening and conditioning of their players. They believe passion and positivity are cornerstones for confidence, and they go out of their way to thank their loyal fan bases for every ounce of support.
The Big Dance is a big deal for both Nebraska programs, which embrace standards that go beyond basketball. Nebraska, for instance, is one of 21 teams in the 64-team NCAA women’s tournament with a 100-percent graduation rate. In six NCAA Tournament appearances under Coach Yori, the Huskers have been 100 percent in that category all six times. Not bad for Yori, who has taken two teams to the Sweet 16.
Nebraska Women NCAA Record: 7-11
While Nebraska’s men are looking for their first NCAA win, the Husker women have qualified for 12 NCAA Tournaments and have a 7-11 all-time record, including a 5-5 mark under Yori. The Husker men have not played in the NCAA Tournament since 1998. This year marks the second time in history that NU's men’s and women’s teams have qualified for the NCAA Tournament in the same year. Even though this will be the men’s first appearance in 16 years, the Husker women went on to play in NCAA Tournaments in 1999, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
25 Double Basketball Qualifiers for 2014
NCAA Men’s, Women’s Tournaments:
1) Duke: Men (3) Women (2) = 5
2) Louisville: Men (4) Women (3) = 7
3-4) Baylor: Men (6) Women (2) = 8
3-4) Connecticut: Men (7) Women (1) = 8
5-6) Michigan State: Men (4) Women (5) = 9
5-6) Syracuse: Men (3) Women (6) = 9
7-8) North Carolina: Men (6) Women (4) = 10
7-8) Iowa State: Men (3) Women (7) = 10
9) Kentucky: Men (8) Women (3) = 11
10-13) Tennessee: Men (11) Women (1) = 12
10-13) Stanford: Men (10) Women (2) = 12
10-13) Florida: Men (1) Women (11) = 12
10-13) Texas: Men (7) Women (5) = 12
14-15) Gonzaga: Men (8) Women (6) = 14
14-15) Oklahoma State: Men (9) Women (5) = 14
16-17) Nebraska: Men (11) Women (4) = 15
16-17) Wichita State: Men (1) Women (14) = 15
18-20) NC State: Men (12) Women (5) = 17
18-20) Iowa: Men (11) Women (6) = 17
18-20) Dayton: Men (11) Women (6) = 17
21) Arizona State: Men (10) Women (9) = 19
22) St. Joseph’s: Men (10) Women (9) = 19
23) Oklahoma: Men (9) Women (10) = 19
24) BYU: Men (10) Women (12) = 22
25) Albany: Men (16) Women (15) = 31
(Tournament seeding in parentheses)
The Big 12 has five double-qualifying schools, followed by the ACC with four, and the Big Ten and the SEC with three each. The American Athletic Conference, Pac-12, West Coast Conference and Atlantic 10 each have two qualifying teams. The American East has one (Albany).
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