Randy York’s N-Sider
In his classic novel Great Expectations, Charles Dickens says: “Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.” What a great mantra for Nebraska men’s basketball right now. Picked to finish last in the Big Ten Conference, fans didn’t know what to think about how the Huskers might look this season. But with six wins in their first seven games, including decisive back-to-back wins at Wake Forest and at home against USC, Nebraska fans – and former players – are seeing early signs of positive evidence.
The result of that evidence is a possible sellout crowd Thursday at 7 p.m. when the Huskers host No. 16 Creighton in a marquee non-conference matchup in season No. 36 – the final one at the Devaney Center.
Since this game will not be carried on television anywhere, less than 1,000 tickets remain and can be purchased for $20 (regular seats) or $10 (standing-room-only). “We’re expecting a sellout and encouraging fans to arrive early so they’re in their seats well before tipoff,” Nebraska Executive Associate AD Marc Boehm said Wednesday. “There’s a lot of excitement for this matchup, and we want to make sure fans plan accordingly.”
Ray Gallegos: One of Nation’s Hottest Shooters
The excitement revolves around a powerful Creighton team coached by a man whose son is a returning first-team All-American and a Nebraska team led by Ray Gallegos, a 6-2 junior guard who might be one of the nation’s hottest shooters following back-to-back 20-point games against Wake Forest and USC. In his first two seasons at Nebraska, Gallegos made 21 3-pointers. In his first seven games this season, he’s bulls-eyed 23 “from downtown”.
Gallegos’ long-range firepower keyed the Huskers’ 63-51 win over USC but let’s not forget the hot hand of Andre Almeida, the 6-11½, 314-pound senior center who has made 24 of his 28 shots in his last five games for a staggering 85.7 percent.
Remember, this is a series in which the home team has prevailed while shooting on its own rims for seven consecutive years, so familiarity and atmosphere could be mutually beneficial. If the game does achieve sellout status, it will be Nebraska’s first non-conference sellout in six years.
Unless you plan to hop on ESPN3.com’s online-only platform, you won’t be able to see what Husker Sports Network announcers Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison have been describing on radio during the Huskers’ impressive 6-1 start. ESPN3.com is a subscription-only, high-speed internet service (http://espn.go.com/watchespn/affList). The game also is available on the WatchESPN app for customers in participating cable systems and can be heard for free on Huskers.com through an app that accommodates iOS or android devices.
Eric Piatkowski Scorched KU in 1994 Sellout
If a sellout becomes reality, it will seem like old times for the second-leading scorer in Nebraska basketball history. Eric Piatkowski will be honored Thursday night for one of his most memorable moments at the Devaney Center, which was sold out on Feb. 23, 1994 when he scored 33 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Huskers’ 96-87 win over No. 10 Kansas.
Interestingly, Tim Miles became the first Husker basketball coach since 1920 to win his first road game when the Huskers scored 51 second-half points to top Wake Forest, 79-63 last week.
Husker fans smart enough to buy a ticket and get inside the Devaney for this game can make a little history of their own Thursday night. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., fans can sign the last steel beam that will be hoisted into Lincoln’s Pinnacle Bank Arena. They also can use their ticket to gain access to the beam on display in the Hendricks Training Complex at halftime.
Fans unable to attend Thursday night’s game can sign the same historic beam Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Iron Horse Park in the Haymarket district. The signing there will coincide with the Haymarket’s First Friday Art Walk.
Devaney Transformation Will Surprise You
“If fans have been waiting to see the transformation at the Devaney, Thursday night would be a good time to help us pack the house and experience our new era,” Boehm said. “We’ve gone to great lengths in remodeling a facility named in honor of Coach Devaney. People are pleasantly surprised when they see our new concourses with bigger rest rooms and better concession facilities.”
The Huskers’ also lauched an energetic drum line for the pregame lineup introduction and have changed up the music and the overall atmosphere to encourage and inspire more fan interaction. “Everything’s new and different – from the Spirit Squad routines to the band’s choice of music,” Boehm said. “We’re getting good feedback on the Red Zone and the music mix, and we would love nothing more than to see our fans snap up every standing-room-only ticket and be so entertained that they don’t even want to sit down.”
Great expectations are part of the pregame lineup introduction, and Tim Miles knows the ultimate rule of competitive entertainment. The evidence will depend on which side of the scoreboard his team finishes in the last game Nebraska and Creighton will ever play at the Devaney.
Important Parking Directions for All Fans
So buy your tickets now, leave home early, arrive at the Devaney early and help Nebraska sell out an historic game. All ticket windows and gates will open at 5:30 p.m.
To avoid traffic delays around the Devaney Center, fans with single-game tickets are strongly encouraged to enter the parking lots along Salt Creek Roadway to avoid excessive waiting. From the North, enter from North Fair Park Drive (29th and Cornhusker) and stay on that road to the public cashier entrance. From the South, the best way to enter the public lots is to stay on Salt Creek Roadway to the public cashiers after 14th Street (the Military Drive entrance is primarily for donor/season ticket parking).
Boehm wants fans in their seats early so they can contribute to the atmosphere and be ready for tip-off when first-year Husker P.A. announcer Doc Wininger says: “Now, gentlemen: LET’S PLAY BASKETBALL!”
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