LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Ian McKeithen was on his way to Doane’s game at Northwestern on Saturday when his phone buzzed. On the other end was a member of Fred Hoiberg’s staff at Nebraska. The Huskers were wanting to schedule a game with Doane, an NAIA school located 35 miles from Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“Any time you can give these kids a good experience like that, you have to say yes,” McKeithen said. The Doane head coach shared the news with his team after its 98-84 loss in Orange County, Iowa.
“He was excited to tell us,” junior guard Joe Burt said. “It was out of the blue.”
Doane was available on Thursday, which was Nebraska’s preferred date. However, the Tigers will be playing against the in-state opponent less than 24 hours after a road conference game. Doane is scheduled to face Mount Marty on Wednesday.
“This is actually the lighter part of our schedule,” senior guard Anthony Laravie said. “Its been a crazy season for us.”
Doane owns a 5-8 record this season, while the Huskers are 3-3. Nebraska was seeking to add a game during an 11-day layoff before Big Ten play. The Huskers were unable to face Florida A&M on December 6th, due to a positive COVID-19 case within the Rattlers program.
In order to play, Doane is required to clear increased COVID-19 protocols. The Tigers travel to Lincoln daily to get tested, which is a routine they started on Sunday. Doane players, coaches, and support staff will test again Thursday morning at remain at Pinnacle Bank Arena throughout the day.
“They’re a good team,” Burt said. “We’re going to have to knock down some shots. I know a lot of people will be tuning in and watching.”
Thursday’s game, which will be available on BTN+, is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. in Lincoln. Nebraska and Doane played an exhibition in 2019. Thursday’s match-up will be the first regular-season game between the in-state schools since 1900.
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