When I was a freshman in college, I was commuting to school. It was no big deal, minus the part where I lived around 25 miles from campus and there was literally nothing between me and Omaha. Now, this might surprise you, but I was an idiot kid who had very little money and believed that it was totally cool seeing how many miles you could get out of every gas tank while driving an Oldsmobile that probably weighed three times as much as it should. Pair that with my constant ability to be late for class and the reality that, no, UNO does not have available parking - or did not at the time - and I was in for a helluva game for that 1:00 class.
Anyhow, I vividly remember trying to get to class for like, a Gen Chem test or whatever, and I’m running late and I see that the gas gauge is clearly on ‘E’ somewhere around the county line. No problem, I only have to get about 13 more miles, park, and then can get gas after class. Well, what a thrilling drive that was. You just never know how accurate that GM gas gauge is, and if we’re being honest, driving like a maniac and accelerating to death (and sometimes throwing it into neutral down hills because friends, I was an idiot) was not helping things.
So I finally am on campus, and for those of you who have been to UNO, I was on the main stretch behind the old Engineering building and I thought I had made it. I probably subconsciously understood that no, this was always going to end poorly, but class, you know? My car started doing that ‘eh, I’m outta gas friend’ thing a while back, but I was making it. I did not make it. I was stuck there in the middle of midday traffic, blocking what was legitimately the most trafficked in campus road, and there was nothing I could do about it. I was just stuck. There were no fumes, there was no restarting the car, nothing.
Fortunately, a nice campus security guard helped push my car about a block and a half to a parking spot we could get into and took me to get gas. He was super cool about the whole thing, but we both knew this was because the situation was untenable and my plan was never going to actually work.
I tell you this admittedly longwinded story to illustrate how I feel about the end of the line for the 2018-19 Nebrasketball season. Look, it has been a riot to watch Glynn Watson Jr., James Palmer Jr., and Isaiah Roby will this team to wins over the past few weeks. It was great to watch the Iowa comeback, fun to see Nebraska go toe-to-toe with Maryland after beating Rutgers. It was cool to know that Wisconsin was going to have to fight to win. But we all knew how this would end.
I will be honest, I wrote this piece originally focused on just the end of the basketball season, with lots of intentions of writing more about Tim Miles in the coming days, but with the news that AD Bill Moos has made his not-very-surprising call to move on, I think this fits well into the theme of the day. Tim Miles will finish his Nebraska career at 116-114 (52-76) which is why he is being let go today, but he will also be the reason Nebraska basketball can continue to hope for better days.
Over the past two years, it was obvious that this tenure was probably just a lot of fumes with the feeling like maybe - maybe - you’ll get your destination if you just play your cards right. It never materialized that way. Too many transfers. Not enough sustained offensive approach. Bad losses. It’s all unfortunate because with Tim Miles, you always felt he was almost there - getting stuck at a robust career 399 wins somehow seems appropriate in that even that marker was a point just out of reach for this team. Even this run of wins and losses made you think that maybe this thing can get turned around. But, that just never materialized. Miles will most likely be employed again in the near future, and I wish him the best but for now, the trip is over. Miles and his Nebraska tenure ran out of gas and we’re now on to the next thing.