With a month to go before the start of the NCAA Tournament, Huskies coach Mike Brey is already feeling the buzz around the program.
“It’s been great for us,” Brey said.
“There’s a lot of energy.
We’re getting excited, we’re excited, and we’re all going to do it for the Huskies.”
It has been a month of excitement, and a lot more energy, in the Husky basketball arena as they look to make their third NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004.
They’ll have a chance to do so against their archrival, Kentucky, this Sunday in the first round of the tournament, but the focus of the season is on this season.
“We’ve had a lot on our minds, a lot going on, a little bit of excitement,” said forward Jalen Brunson, who has been one of the main story lines of the Huskie basketball season.
Brunson and the rest of the offense are still learning how to play together, and how to operate together, but this is a team that’s going to be competing for a championship.
“This is our first time in a long time to have a team of this caliber,” Brely said.
And it’s not just that this is the third consecutive year that the Huskies are making the tournament.
“That’s a testament to the work they’ve put in, the work that they’ve done over the course of this season,” Breer added.
And even though it’s a different team, there is one common thread.
“The guys are all committed to winning,” Brunson said.
So how does that apply to the NCAA tournament?
“I think that’s something that’s been going on throughout this year,” Breed said.
“(Our players) know we’re going to come out here and do everything we can to win a national championship.
And I think that goes hand in hand with the effort, the determination, the competitiveness.”
“It is a labor of love,” Brunton said.
The Huskies aren’t just competing against Kentucky, but also in their home state of Minnesota.
And that’s where Brunson will be working on his shooting form.
“I just feel like my game is getting better,” Brunsson said of his form.
Brunsion also has some help from his shooting coach, Jason Tatum.
“He’s been doing a great job of making me shoot better,” he said.
Brunsson and Tatum are on board with the idea of keeping Brunson on the floor.
“Jalen has a lot to prove,” Tatum said.
That’s something Brunson can’t wait to see.
“To see what I’m going to bring to the table,” Brunsson said.
He knows that Brunson’s experience will be beneficial.
“They’re going into this tournament and they’re going in there knowing what we’ve got going on and knowing what they’ve got to go through to get to this point,” Brunston said.
But Brunson knows that winning is more than just having a good basketball season, and he knows that there’s more to winning than the win itself.
“A lot of times people talk about winning, but it’s just about the way that you win,” Brunner said.
As much as they’ll be playing for a national title, Brunson also knows that this team has the potential to win it all.
“You know what?
I just think it’s more than that, and I think we have a lot in our locker room that’s working toward it,” Bruntons mother, Lori Brunson added.
“And I think if they’re able to do that, I think they’re gonna do that.
So I’m just trying to help them do that.”
Brunson had a rough stretch in the second half of the regular season.
He had seven points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals in that span.
But he also suffered a serious knee injury that kept him out of the first two games of the conference tournament.
So when the Huskers played Kentucky in the Sweet 16 last Saturday, Brunsons mother was worried.
“When I got the news that he had that knee injury, it’s like I lost my mind,” she said.
There was so much in the room that was just so excited for him.
He couldn’t believe it.
“If I could do anything to help this team win, I’d do anything,” Brunsson said.
This is all in Brunsons best interest.
“All I know is if I can help this young man, that young man has to win, and if he doesn’t win, we have to win,” he added.
The key for Brunson is making the most of his shot.
“Just having a big, long jumper, and trying to take advantage of every situation that we can, especially the three-point line,” Brunted