‘Common sense’ prevails with postponement of Nebraska-Iowa in the Big Ten tourney; teams will play Friday
OMAHA — Nebraska and Iowa were going to play late into the night.
Now the Huskers and Hawkeyes will offer fans a little baseball with their Friday brunch.
With storms racing toward the Omaha metro area on Thursday night, Nebraska, Iowa and the Big Ten decided to postpone the day’s final Big Ten Tournament game at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
Nebraska and Iowa will meet Friday morning one hour after the completion of Maryland and Ohio State. That game, which was suspended in the eighth inning on Thursday, will resume at 10 a.m.
The Nebraska-Iowa winner will take the rest of Friday off. The loser will play Minnesota later in the day at 7:30 p.m.
Darin Erstad was not fazed by the schedule change when talking to reporters shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday. The Nebraska coach didn’t think his players would be fazed, either.
The Huskers, after all, have experienced several schedule changes related to weather this year.
“This group has been numb to this stuff,” Erstad said. “When they tell you to play, you got to be ready to play. That’s the nature of this game, and our guys are well prepared for that, especially this group. I have zero concerns about them being ready to play.”
Thursday’s game was originally scheduled to begin at 9 p.m., nearly 21 hours after the fifth-seeded Huskers beat fourth-seeded Minnesota 8-2. But a small line of storms made its way through Omaha at about 5 p.m., delaying the start of the Maryland-Ohio State game by 95 minutes.
The Terrapins and Buckeyes entered a delay in the eighth inning -- shortly after 9 p.m.
Erstad said both coaches -- he and Iowa coach Rick Heller -- were involved in a final decision. In addition to storms, the Big Ten was running up against the clock. Games cannot start later than 11 p.m.
By not starting a game and stopping, the Huskers and Hawkeyes will be able to preserve their starting pitchers (senior Nate Fisher will pitch for NU).
“I’m all about the integrity of the game,” Erstad said. “When you play a game, you should be there to play the whole thing and not piece together. I understand if there’s time constraints, you have to fit it in, you have to play when you have to play. But I think common sense prevailed here and I’m very pleased with the decision.”
Iowa (31-22) took two of three from the Huskers (29-20) during the regular season.
Friday’s start time, likely late morning, will likely be viewed as more fan-friendly, so the Huskers are hoping for a big gathering.
“I don’t know if vacation days have to be taken, but let’s go get those vacation days taken,” Erstad said. “It can be an awesome environment. Two teams playing pretty well.”
Fans who had tickets to Thursday’s Husker game can use those tickets for entry into Friday’s game.