Tim Miles and what went wrong with Nebrasketball

icedragon

Walk On
Mar 17, 2004
429
0
16
Tim Miles and the Rules of Nebrasketball by M. W. Ackerman
I have wanted to write the piece for quite some time, but the time never seemed right. I felt if I said something it might be seen as an attack, an unnecessary and unfair criticism, on Miles so I held my tongue. But now that Tim has been fired, a firing that at the beginning of the season was unforeseen, I want to take a few minutes to review what went wrong and why Tim could not figure out the puzzle that is Nebrasketball. This will not be a hit piece on him as a person, Tim is fine human being, someone I would love to be neighbors with, but this is about a review of his decision making as the leader of Nebrasketball.
Let me say right off the bat I was not sold as Tim Miles as the solution to the Nebrasketball puzzle. I remember watching the press conference of his introduction and he was talking about recruiting and his plan was to get guy from the Mid-west with the same mind set. No problem if you gotta get the guy’s you think will fit best in your system, but then he made an off handed comment about the west-coast, something insulting about them. Well, being a guy from the west coast, I took exception to that remark and was a little stand offish, my attitude was “let’s just wait and see what this guy is about before I jump on the band wagon.” With that as the backdrop I waited to see what would materialize and I never saw materialize the things I needed to see, but what I did see troubled me.
The first thing I saw after this was the way he responded to the player misbehavior. I am thinking specially about Corey Hilliard Jr. Hilliard was dismissed from the team because of a false robbery charge. Source close to Hilliard would later confirm that it was much a due about nothing. Hilliard was accused of grabbing a phone out of a woman hand, that is not robbery, which is why the charges were dropped, but it cost Corey his scholarship at Nebraska. Miles did not stand by his player. Miles wanting to send the message that he will not put up with monkey business and that he ran a tight ship asked him to leave. It appeared to be a completely unfair punishment. No violation, No Crime, but a negative consequence none the less. That was troubling and a problem. If he was “Tight ship Tim” that is ok, but Miles was not willing to work with the guy at all nor give him the benefit of the doubt. Now maybe you might be thinking hey, Hilliard was not one of his recruits and he was not that good and he wanted to send a message. So it does not matter. OK. Let’s take a look at another case. The Case of Deveall Biggs.
Biggs came to Nebraska after stint at community college and got into some legal trouble, in large part because he was board and because of family drama, this set the tone for the relationship. Then He had some trouble making meeting and with the team, which appeared to be minor issue. But Tim, running a tight ship would have none of it and eventually kick him off the team. Well Biggs went Texas Southern University and was a vital cog in them making the Post season while Nebraska sat on the sideline for the second time in 3 year. Not only did the decision to kick him off the team cost Nebraska a shot at post season, it probably cost Biggs and Pettaway and maybe Smith a Shot at the NBA. It seem like that decision was not necessary and due to a lack of patience, can you imagine that team with Biggs on it the next year the post season was a lock. That is Nebrasketball exposing your bad decision and coming back to bite you in the rear.

Speaking of Post season. Tim Miles never grasped the paradigm change that took place when Nebraska built Pinnacle Bank Arena. While it had never happened before. It is now expected that Nebraska make post season every year. With the advent of the CBI, CIT and Las Vegas 16 is was expected that Nebraska jump up and grab one of those slots in order to satisfy it fan base. Tim Miles was remarkably relaxed on this point. In his first year he actually passed up a chance to play in the CBI and said “We don’t want to be the first Big 10 team to play in the CBI. Why the #%!! Not ??? Since when did Nebraska become so good to pass on post season play??? Well let’s test that theory by who actually has gone on to play in the CBI Creighton, Oregon, Loyala-Chicago, Nevada and the first Big 10 team to play in the CBI Purdue. While that tournament host a lot of teams you’ve never heard of like, Costal Carolina, Utah Valley and Campbell, it also host team that are good and in need have experience. All of the team mentioned have gone one to improve their profile and there program in the process. Purdue has become a power house in the Big 10 in part because the humbled themselves and played in a lesser tournament, because it is a champion maker. This was just a terrible decision by Tim Miles. If he plays in the 2 CBI tournaments that Nebraska qualified for, He would still be our coach. 5 post season appearance in 7 years is something we could live with, 3 post season appearance is not acceptable. The cost of the PBA requires post season games ANY post season games.
Next. There is the issue with scheduling, if I were giving a grade I would have given him a C. He did an ok job with scheduling, but his selection of in-season tournament left something to be desired. Only one time did Miles pick the mid-season tournament for us that match our ability and the talent in the field that was 2018-2019 season, We had a legitimate shot at winning the whole thing and any team we played would have been a good match-up, but the other years there were time I was left scratching my head asking why we played in this tournament, it just gave us a loss for no reason. Did we really stand a chance? This was especially true in 2016-2017 when we played in the Wooden Challenge and Played Dayton, UCLA and Virginia Tech. Look at those names and those games that was our postseason right there? When you combine that with the massive over scheduling that took place that year 5 post season quality games then combine it with the Garner-Webb loss all before the start of Big 10 play, that is recipe for disaster.
This next criticism I am going to lump three issues in to one. I will call it Tim in ability to handle adversity on the court. The in ability to win on the road most season, the inability to make in game adjustments, the inability to bounce back after a loss, the lack of ability to have a team that played controlled, discipline ball, and the in ability to handle success. There were major losses on the road. How many times did teams get there first win against a ranked team when they played us? Not something to be known for. How many team came in and beat us on our home court because they were underestimated or unprepared after a loss, Incarnate word, Garner-Webb and Samford, ring and bells. The number are ugly. When Miles got behind he was not able to make the adjustment during the games. How many times when you looked at the half time score and know the game was over? My point exactly. Most of his teams played undisciplined basketball. I remember watching a game again Penn St and seeing the sloppy uncontrolled play and wondering do they practice. The team played out of control most of the time. The would go down and take a quick shot or make a sloppy pass instead of working the clock for a better shot. Many of the games were lost because they did not control the pace of the game. That is not to say that Tim could not put out a disciplined product. This year’s team, which lost to TCU in the NIT, was disciplined. It is that discipline that kept them in the game even though they were overmatched and out gunned. But the lack of consistency throughout his tenure was the problem.

Well I think Tim Miles did a good job a recruiting, the talent he brought in was the best in 20 years and was very social media savvy. He just could not figure out Nebrasketball. Many people have tried and failed, the bodies are piling up. Tim will go on somewhere else and probably have a good career. But he ran in to the rules of Nebrasketball. 1. Nebrasketball well expose any weakness you have. 2. Any bad decision you make will come in and bite you in the rear in ways you cannot imagine. Because it is Nebrasketball: eternal optimism that constantly disappoints.
 

TwinDegrees2

All-American
Aug 8, 2009
4,228
4
38
Hoiburg ain't the answer either. My opinion, and mine alone is a team under Freddie will be mid-pack at best.
 

huskerfan66

Head Coach
Dec 8, 2004
11,491
5,225
113
Tim Miles and the Rules of Nebrasketball by M. W. Ackerman
I have wanted to write the piece for quite some time, but the time never seemed right. I felt if I said something it might be seen as an attack, an unnecessary and unfair criticism, on Miles so I held my tongue. But now that Tim has been fired, a firing that at the beginning of the season was unforeseen, I want to take a few minutes to review what went wrong and why Tim could not figure out the puzzle that is Nebrasketball. This will not be a hit piece on him as a person, Tim is fine human being, someone I would love to be neighbors with, but this is about a review of his decision making as the leader of Nebrasketball.
Let me say right off the bat I was not sold as Tim Miles as the solution to the Nebrasketball puzzle. I remember watching the press conference of his introduction and he was talking about recruiting and his plan was to get guy from the Mid-west with the same mind set. No problem if you gotta get the guy’s you think will fit best in your system, but then he made an off handed comment about the west-coast, something insulting about them. Well, being a guy from the west coast, I took exception to that remark and was a little stand offish, my attitude was “let’s just wait and see what this guy is about before I jump on the band wagon.” With that as the backdrop I waited to see what would materialize and I never saw materialize the things I needed to see, but what I did see troubled me.
The first thing I saw after this was the way he responded to the player misbehavior. I am thinking specially about Corey Hilliard Jr. Hilliard was dismissed from the team because of a false robbery charge. Source close to Hilliard would later confirm that it was much a due about nothing. Hilliard was accused of grabbing a phone out of a woman hand, that is not robbery, which is why the charges were dropped, but it cost Corey his scholarship at Nebraska. Miles did not stand by his player. Miles wanting to send the message that he will not put up with monkey business and that he ran a tight ship asked him to leave. It appeared to be a completely unfair punishment. No violation, No Crime, but a negative consequence none the less. That was troubling and a problem. If he was “Tight ship Tim” that is ok, but Miles was not willing to work with the guy at all nor give him the benefit of the doubt. Now maybe you might be thinking hey, Hilliard was not one of his recruits and he was not that good and he wanted to send a message. So it does not matter. OK. Let’s take a look at another case. The Case of Deveall Biggs.
Biggs came to Nebraska after stint at community college and got into some legal trouble, in large part because he was board and because of family drama, this set the tone for the relationship. Then He had some trouble making meeting and with the team, which appeared to be minor issue. But Tim, running a tight ship would have none of it and eventually kick him off the team. Well Biggs went Texas Southern University and was a vital cog in them making the Post season while Nebraska sat on the sideline for the second time in 3 year. Not only did the decision to kick him off the team cost Nebraska a shot at post season, it probably cost Biggs and Pettaway and maybe Smith a Shot at the NBA. It seem like that decision was not necessary and due to a lack of patience, can you imagine that team with Biggs on it the next year the post season was a lock. That is Nebrasketball exposing your bad decision and coming back to bite you in the rear.

Speaking of Post season. Tim Miles never grasped the paradigm change that took place when Nebraska built Pinnacle Bank Arena. While it had never happened before. It is now expected that Nebraska make post season every year. With the advent of the CBI, CIT and Las Vegas 16 is was expected that Nebraska jump up and grab one of those slots in order to satisfy it fan base. Tim Miles was remarkably relaxed on this point. In his first year he actually passed up a chance to play in the CBI and said “We don’t want to be the first Big 10 team to play in the CBI. Why the #%!! Not ??? Since when did Nebraska become so good to pass on post season play??? Well let’s test that theory by who actually has gone on to play in the CBI Creighton, Oregon, Loyala-Chicago, Nevada and the first Big 10 team to play in the CBI Purdue. While that tournament host a lot of teams you’ve never heard of like, Costal Carolina, Utah Valley and Campbell, it also host team that are good and in need have experience. All of the team mentioned have gone one to improve their profile and there program in the process. Purdue has become a power house in the Big 10 in part because the humbled themselves and played in a lesser tournament, because it is a champion maker. This was just a terrible decision by Tim Miles. If he plays in the 2 CBI tournaments that Nebraska qualified for, He would still be our coach. 5 post season appearance in 7 years is something we could live with, 3 post season appearance is not acceptable. The cost of the PBA requires post season games ANY post season games.
Next. There is the issue with scheduling, if I were giving a grade I would have given him a C. He did an ok job with scheduling, but his selection of in-season tournament left something to be desired. Only one time did Miles pick the mid-season tournament for us that match our ability and the talent in the field that was 2018-2019 season, We had a legitimate shot at winning the whole thing and any team we played would have been a good match-up, but the other years there were time I was left scratching my head asking why we played in this tournament, it just gave us a loss for no reason. Did we really stand a chance? This was especially true in 2016-2017 when we played in the Wooden Challenge and Played Dayton, UCLA and Virginia Tech. Look at those names and those games that was our postseason right there? When you combine that with the massive over scheduling that took place that year 5 post season quality games then combine it with the Garner-Webb loss all before the start of Big 10 play, that is recipe for disaster.
This next criticism I am going to lump three issues in to one. I will call it Tim in ability to handle adversity on the court. The in ability to win on the road most season, the inability to make in game adjustments, the inability to bounce back after a loss, the lack of ability to have a team that played controlled, discipline ball, and the in ability to handle success. There were major losses on the road. How many times did teams get there first win against a ranked team when they played us? Not something to be known for. How many team came in and beat us on our home court because they were underestimated or unprepared after a loss, Incarnate word, Garner-Webb and Samford, ring and bells. The number are ugly. When Miles got behind he was not able to make the adjustment during the games. How many times when you looked at the half time score and know the game was over? My point exactly. Most of his teams played undisciplined basketball. I remember watching a game again Penn St and seeing the sloppy uncontrolled play and wondering do they practice. The team played out of control most of the time. The would go down and take a quick shot or make a sloppy pass instead of working the clock for a better shot. Many of the games were lost because they did not control the pace of the game. That is not to say that Tim could not put out a disciplined product. This year’s team, which lost to TCU in the NIT, was disciplined. It is that discipline that kept them in the game even though they were overmatched and out gunned. But the lack of consistency throughout his tenure was the problem.

Well I think Tim Miles did a good job a recruiting, the talent he brought in was the best in 20 years and was very social media savvy. He just could not figure out Nebrasketball. Many people have tried and failed, the bodies are piling up. Tim will go on somewhere else and probably have a good career. But he ran in to the rules of Nebrasketball. 1. Nebrasketball well expose any weakness you have. 2. Any bad decision you make will come in and bite you in the rear in ways you cannot imagine. Because it is Nebrasketball: eternal optimism that constantly disappoints.
Agree with several of the observations and points but not all of them.
 

IowaHuskr

Graduate Assistant
Gold Member
Jul 13, 2001
5,032
6,282
113
Hoiburg ain't the answer either. My opinion, and mine alone is a team under Freddie will be mid-pack at best.
I would be curious to hear who would be a lot better answer. And there are a many years when mid-pack is relatively speaking quite an improvement over what the end results have been.
 

rudynu1

Walk On
Gold Member
Jan 24, 2004
413
91
28
Lots of feelings wrapped up in this post, OP. I point to on the court issues in what did Tim in. He was an above average defensive coach. His inability to teach players offensive basketball is what did him in. You watch top 25 programs and not one team looks to the sideline on every possession for a play call. They let transition basketball principles guide them into game flow possessions.

Which leads us to one of the best in the business at coaching offensive basketball. Hoiberg has proven his recruiting ability, Both at recruiting coaching talent and basketball talent. I’ll be giving a standing ovation at the first transition offense sets we’ve seen in 10 years. Can’t wait.
 
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