For Doc Sadler, the finality was not only decisive, but also ill-timed.
After the coach received a two-year contract extension with Nebraska heading into the postseason (and later, the Big Ten), Sadler's squad played its worst game of the season. Nebraska was ousted in the first round of the NIT, falling 76-49 at Wichita State.
Not a good way to bow out. Matchups against Missouri Valley teams are always magnified considering the state of Nebraska's other Division I program, Creighton, is a member of that conference, which received just one NCAA Tournament bid this season and did not advance its regular-season champion.
"Their team played like it was a one-and-done deal. My team didn't," Sadler said.
So ended a 19-13 season for the Huskers, who appeared as if they were threatening for an NCAA Tournament berth when they upset Texas on Feb. 19.
After that win, however, Nebraska dropped five of its last six, including the first-round blowout in the NIT. Some criticism arose over the decision to extend Sadler's contract considering the coach has not directed an NCAA run in his five years at Nebraska.
Some chatter developed regarding the possibility Sadler could go elsewhere. In particular, he was linked to the opening at Texas Tech, where he once served as an assistant.
The new deal extends through June 2016 for Sadler, whose Nebraska record stands at 89-70, with a 30-50 mark in the Big 12.
"I think the one thing that goes largely unnoticed is that Doc does it the right way," Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne said on his weekly radio show. "In basketball, I don't want to accuse people of cheating, but there are lots of things where you cut a few corners, there's a few gray areas. Doc, as far as I know, has never done that. You get a guy that works hard, knows the game and won't cut corners, you better stick with that guy."
As Nebraska moves into the Big Ten next season, it does so with a wealth of frontcourt players returning. Center Jorge Brian Diaz was the most productive, though he still tended to disappear at times underneath.
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