On the heels of an impressive three-game winning streak and now faced with a full week off before the next game, Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler took some time to look at the big picture for his program on Monday.
During his weekly Big 12 Conference coaches' teleconference, Sadler talked about his long-term goals for the Huskers and what it's going to take for them to take the next step toward achieving them.
While obviously conference and national championships are the ultimate goals for any team, Sadler kept his aspirations in perspective, saying he's focused on getting the Huskers to be an annual NCAA Tournament fixture.
"Competing year-in and year-out to make the NCAA Tournament," Sadler said. "I feel like to do that you've got to compete in this league. I think this league speaks for itself over the last 12 years, if you can compete in the Big 12, and if you are one of the five or six teams that do go to the tournament, then you're going to have a chance to be successful in that tournament.
"That's what I want, to be there year-in and year-out, not just one every for or five years."
At 5-4 in the Big 12, Nebraska still has an outside shot at making the Big Dance with seven more conference games remaining on its regular season schedule. However, Sadler said the biggest challenge for the Huskers to make the tournament was simply making it through their league schedule.
If they can continue their recent success and finish with a successful run through the rest of the season and on into the Big 12 tournament, Sadler said the Huskers should have just as good of a chance as anyone to go dancing.
That, however, is a little easier said than done.
"I think the obstacles are the 11 other teams in the league, and I don't see them changing," Sadler said.
As for translating this season into continued success down the road, Sadler said the only way to consistently be a contender in the Big 12 and on the national stage was be successful in recruiting.
"It all comes back to players," he said. "You've got to recruit players that can compete in this league
Historically on this side (North Division) of the league, the home courts are just so difficult for people to go on the road and win. The only way you can do that is to get enough players that can do it. That's the way I look at it. There have been some awfully good coaches come and go, and the only thing that you've got to do is recruit as long as you can and hopefully get players that can compete in this league."
Sadler said one of the biggest setbacks Nebraska has had in recruiting - aside from the obvious issues with getting players squared away academically with the university - has been a lack of high school talent in the state of Nebraska.
Unlike teams like in Texas, California and the like, the Huskers currently don't have a single player from Nebraska on scholarship this season. Sadler said being able to get quality talent from NU's home state would be crucial in getting the Huskers to the next level.
"I think recruiting's difficult no matter who you are or where you're at," Sadler said. "Obviously when you have a state such as Texas, Missouri, even in Kansas and Iowa, there's a lot of states that everyone says the university of is the best job. But unfortunately, I've been going on my third year, and we don't have a scholarship player on our team from the state of Nebraska. So that makes it difficult.
"There's nothing more that you would like than to have, I'm not going to say all 13, but I'd like to have five or six (from Nebraska). Hopefully that'll happen sooner than later."
***With a full week off before their next game, Sadler said the Huskers would use their break to rest up and try to get healthy enough to make a strong run through the end of the season.
Following it's upset win over Texas on Saturday, Nebraska didn't practice Sunday or Monday, and Sadler said the team will do "very, very little" on Tuesday before returning to its normal practice schedule on Wednesday.
"I think for a lot of reasons it's good for us," Sadler said. "Being the size of a basketball team that we are, you definitely get banged up during the year. It's going to be a good time to get our batteries recharged
Hopefully get enough rest in us to finish out the last seven games."
***Sadler was asked if he was surprised that senior guard Ade Dagunduro shot and made his clutch 3-pointer with 50.1 seconds remaining to help Nebraska knock off Texas.
Coming into the game, Dagunduro had made just two 3-pointers since the start of Big 12 play, and Saturday was his first attempt in the previous three games.
"If you look back at the season last year, Ade's one of our better shooters," Sadler said. "He just hasn't shot it as much because he's playing more inside because of our need. I think that's the kind of team that we have. I would just assume that Ade would shoot the 3-point shot like anybody on our team."
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