AtC Newsletter: Riding the Red Zone

Photo by Pat Radigan

You don’t make eye contact after a dunk because it’s enjoyable, it’s part of the mental game of basketball. Last night, Nebraska used more than posterizing dunks to win that game, and it helped the Huskers pull an upset.

By Pat Radigan

This week, we tweeted from the Corn Fed Sports account about how we were pushing the reset button with our website and how this project is set up.

It may not look like much is different.. yet.

We’re getting there, though, and this weekend will be a huge opportunity for us to get back into the business of covering Husker sports in a way many others don’t even consider. So while we figure out a few details, and get ready to pull back the curtain even further in the week to come, we’ve brought back the Around the Corn newsletter before a busy weekend in Lincoln.

Get caught up.

Back in
Business

We’re excited to show you all what we’re bringing to the table in 2018, but first, the sports have to happen.
Brace yourself for a busy weekend.


What’s Going On

Women’s Basketball

Nebraska at
No. 25 Rutgers

1/21/18 | 5 p.m.

Piscataway, N.J.

Wrestling

No. 18 Nebraska at
No. 20 Northwestern

1/19/17 | 7 p.m.

Evanston, Ill.

No. 18 Nebraska vs.
No. 16 Rutgers

1/21/18 | 1 p.m.

Devaney Center

Men’s Gymnastics

No. 1 Nebraska vs.
No. 3 Ohio State

1/20/18 | 7 p.m.

Devaney Center

Women’s Gymnastics

No. 12 Nebraska vs.
Rutgers

1/20/18 | 7 p.m.

Devaney Center

Swimming and Diving

Nebraska vs.
Illinois

1/20/18 | 11 a.m.

Devaney Natatorium

Track and Field

Mark Colligan
Memorial

1/20/18 | 11:30 a.m.

Devaney Center

Men’s Tennis

Nebraska vs.
Creighton

1/20/18 | 5 p.m.

Dillon Tennis Center

Rifle

No. 12 Nebraska vs.
NC State

1/20/18 | 2 p.m.

Annapolis, Md.

Big Red Two-Fer

I get it: Gymnastics isn’t necessarily at the top of most sports fans watch lists.

But this Saturday, Husker fans have a unique chance to get an introduction to a new sports.

Both Nebraska gymnastics squads open their 2018 home slate with a combined meet at 7 p.m. at the Devaney Center. The top-ranked Husker men’s gym team takes on No. 3 Ohio State, while the NU women (ranked No. 12) will play host to Rutgers. And while the mere feat of setting up eight skills in Devaney at the same time is impressive enough, just wait until they start using them.

You’ll see both sides hit the vault, and show more athleticism in eight seconds than most of us will in our lives. You’ll see the Husker women come face-to-face with raw nerves and take on #BeamSwag as they do back flips on a 4-inch beam. You’ll see the NU men fly into the air, flip and contort their bodies, only to come tearing back toward the high bar after jaw-dropping release moves.

This isn’t a hype track, it’s the truth. If you enjoy sports for the athleticism and wow factor, you won’t want to miss this meet.

Senior Day Swim

We’ve always been proponents of the Devaney Nat, this time is different though: THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE.

Saturday is Senior Day for the Nebraska swim and dive team, where the Huskers will host Illinois in a Big Ten matchup at 11 a.m. Before the meet, seniors Jordan Ehly, Francesca Giganti and Katt Sickle will be honored, but that’s not the point. It’s not about showing up for a half-assed round of applause prior to competition.

Want a good way to honor the seniors? Show up and cheer. Not just calm clapping and celebrating winners, I’m talking full on “scream-until-your-stomach-hurts” during the final 50 yards of each race. Then come back next year, and bring your friends.

You don’t know anyone on the team? You don’t really follow swimming or know how Nebraska’s doing? It doesn’t matter. Sometimes sports are about just being in the moment, and enjoying what’s in front of your eyes, instead of what’s on your radio or Twitter feed.

Come to the natatorium tomorrow, and maybe you’ll find that out for yourself.

Beating the Bluejays: 2k18

The hour is upon us: Nebraska has its first chance at Creighton during the new year.

And again, I know not a ton of Husker fans put men’s tennis on their list of priorities. But maybe you should.

On one hand, you have a chance to see Creighton lose at something. On the other hand, you have athletes from around the world competing at a level that only a few will ever achieve. It’s fast paced, there’s a level of direct competition that’s just fun to watch and in the first match of the year I saw two different players successfully hit shots from between their legs.

The fun starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday night, and admission is free at the Dillon Tennis Center. You really don’t have an excuse.

Your Featured Presentation…

The Art of Crowd

Why Student Sections Matter

Last night we saw something amazing at Pinnacle Bank Arena, and it wasn’t about anything that happened on the court.
It’s about what didn’t happen.

Moritz Wagner, who came into the contest tied for 12th in the Big Ten at 14.9 points per game, made only one shot all game. That basket was a dunk to open the scoring for Michigan in the second half, but instead of jump-starting Wagner after taking (and missing) just one shot in the first half, the student fans in the Red Zone made sure Wagner stayed inside his own head and off the stat sheet.

By the end of the game, the student section was chanting Wagner’s name so loudly you couldn’t help but hear it on the broadcast. At courtside, it was deafening at times.

And it was brilliant.

Now, here at CFS we’ve always held firm to NOT buy into the concept of grades, ‘breakdowns’ and tactical suggestions. That’s because as much as we try, we’ll never be nearly athletic or coordinated enough to ever really even consider evaluating the performance of Division I athletes.

But when it comes to being an insufferable basketball fan, THAT is an area I have some expertise. Rather than insert my own self-aggrandizing tale about being in my high school’s student section, I’ll get to the good stuff.

IF ANYONE FROM THE RED ZONE IS READING THIS, at least consider the following suggestions…

1) Mario Themed Chants — Each night, pick a starter from the opposing team, someone who doesn’t score a ton, but who plays plenty. Then, get a cutout of a random character from Mario, and start early with letting them hear it with their ‘new name.’ It may seem stupid, but imagine being in a loud, intense arena and having hundreds of students call you Luigi for a reason you’ll never quite understand.

In the few moments you get on the bench, you sit there wondering what’s going on, and why they are doing this, and the whole time you’re supposed to be thinking about the game and recovering, you’re wondering why the dude four rows behind you has a cutout of an Italian plumber from a Nintendo video game, and what you may have in common with this mustached man.
The Princess Peach night would be especially fun.

2) Dribbling Sound Effects — Again, it may sound simple and silly, but bear with me. This game has a set of simple rules, and when everyone gets on board it creates an effect that can make defense even more of a mindmeld for opposing teams.

  • Every time the opposing team dribbles, the crowd says “boing”
  • Every time the opposing team passes the ball, the crowd says “pass”
  • Same thing with shots, each time the visitors shoot, the crowd says “SHOOT” but does this one louder than the others
  • When a player is holding the ball, you start with a low “oooooooh” and let the cacophony grow into a screaming din of “OOOOOH” as the ball handler looks for an option to pass
  • If they miss, or turn it over, you get to go nuts and take all the credit; even though you did nothing, it makes opposing players that much more upset to pat yourself on the back for things like missed shots and errant passes
  • 3) Free Throw Mind Games — It’s easy to assume the best way to distract an opposing player from shooting free throws is a lot of noise. It works a lot of the time too. But if you look at Cameron and the other signature college basketball venues, the trick is engaging the mind of whoever is at the foul line.

    There’s the dancing man trick, while other students sit by and idly watch. There are more straightforward concepts like backwards countdowns and singing songs. Some have even tried silence before a solitary piercing noise (I’d suggest a mimicked horse neigh from a farm kid).

    Whatever you do, the key is mixing it up. When the game is on the line in the final minute, nothing works like the sound of 15,000 fans screaming their minds out, but in the first half the energy may not be there. Winning the mental battle against opposing free throw shooters is much more like playing chess than checkers.

    —–

    I understand some of you may think all of that sounds crazy. At least keep this in mind…

    What made Thursday’s student section special wasn’t that a small section had a creative cheer, or that funny signs and cutouts made it on TV. It was that all the students were on the same page, and when they saw a way they could impact the game, and the focus of an opposing player, they only got louder.

    “Even I was chanting Wagner,” said NU coach Tim Miles.

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