LINCOLN — Nebraska basketball coach Tim Miles' displeasure with his team's lack of effort in Wednesday's 26-point loss at Ohio State hadn't waned by Friday afternoon.
He interrupted a question about hustle with this: “You can verify you saw a hustle play? I couldn't find one.”
How does Miles coach more hustle?
“I don't think I can say that in public and still keep my job,” he said. “You have to encourage your guys to play harder.
“Sometimes getting guys to play harder is finding new and innovative ways to antagonize your players. We'll work on that about 2 o'clock today.”
Senior forward Brandon Ubel met the media Friday wearing a shirt with the words “Husker Boot Camp.” An omen, perhaps?
“I didn't even think about that,” he said, “but possibly.”
Practice was closed Friday, but the players said beforehand they were ready to take what was to come after the Ohio State disappointment.
“We were all disappointed, especially when we watched the film yesterday,” Ubel said. “Just the lack of energy, and the fact that they beat us to about every loose ball. It just seemed like we were in slow motion.
“It's not something just Coach wants to change. We all saw that and realize we need to change.”
The next chance for Nebraska (9-5, 0-1) to change is Sunday at home against Wisconsin (10-4, 1-0). The Badgers won their Big Ten opener at home Thursday against Penn State 60-51.
Two members of NU's regular eight-man playing rotation could miss Sunday's game. Miles said guard Mike Peltz (knee) is doubtful and center Andre Almeida (sprained ankle) is questionable.
Almeida's injury likely will create more playing time for freshman center Sergej Vucetic.
The 7-foot-1, 236-pounder from Serbia had played only two minutes until Wednesday night. He got just two minutes against the Buckeyes, but hit both field-goal tries in that time.
“What I like about Sergej is he has stuck with it,” Miles said. “He's not moping around and hanging his head. He's trying to get better every day.”
What has limited Vucetic's time up to now, Miles said, is lack of strength.
“It's hard to operate at that size, and there's not a whole bunch of quickness with a European kid that size,” he said. “So how are you effective? When you are strong enough to hold your own, and he's not there yet.”
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