Washington vs. Nebraska @ Omaha | December 7 | 4PM | ESPN3
[12.06.12: CLARIFICATION: Nebraska's Bob Devany Center is being renovated to accommodate the volleyball program. The NU Coliseum will no longer be used for home matches.]
The Nebraska Cornhuskers couldn’t play in their own gym this weekend if they wanted to.
The historic NU Coliseum is undergoing renovation, preparing to become what coach John Cook calls a state-of-the-art facility.
|Washington won't have its Dawg Pound in Omaha|
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann
Instead, the Huskers will join Washington, Oregon and BYU Friday afternoon about an hour up the road from Nebraska’s Lincoln campus for the NCAA Sweet 16 Omaha Regional in Century Link Arena.
The Arena hold 17,000; organizers expect a crowd in excess of 10,000, most of them wearing Nebraska red.
“We’ll have a lot of Husker fans,” says Cook.
“It’s a home game, but it’s not,” says Washington coach Jim McLaughlin. “The crowd will be good. That will be an advantage for them. The biggest thing is, they don’t have to get on a plane and travel. They get that extra day of practice.”
But, says, McLaughlin, there’s no getting around the fact that Nebraska’s players aren’t as familiar with Century Link as they are their own gym.
“It’s not the arena that they train in,” he says, “and it’s not the arena they play in.
“It’s state-dependent remembering. Home court advantages come from conditions that are very consistent.”
And what are those conditions? Lighting. Temperature. The way the ball bounces. The distance from the crowd. The locker rooms.
“It won’t be completely normal,” says McLaughlin.
For the most part, Cook agrees. His is the only regional that is not being played on a college campus.
“I’ve complained about it,” Cook admits. “The question is: Texas hosts the regional in their home gym. Purdue is on their campus. We’re driving an hour away in a big arena to host it. This is one of the things I’ve talked to my administration about.”
In fact, Cook hopes this is one of the last times his team will play a postseason match in Omaha.
“It would be nice to be on our own campus. That’s what we’ll go for in the future. Every time we host a Final Four or a Regional, it’s been in Omaha. So, we’ve had to go up there quite a bit.
“It’s a home match in that we’ll have a big crowd there that will support us. But, still, we’re not on campus.”