CHICAGO — Tim Miles walked into his postgame news conference after Nebraska's loss to Wisconsin at the Big Ten Tournament and delivered a quote that sums up Husker hoops the past few seasons almost too perfectly.
"I know Bill's gonna make a statement in about 45 minutes. I don't know what it is," Miles said in reference to his job status and what Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos planned to do. "I'm sure it's going to say he's just going to wait and see with postseason or whatever."
That's the head coach of the men's basketball program, with his job hanging in the balance, not fully knowing what a statement from his athletic director would say while the AD was in California.
Does it get more Nebrasketball than that?
Turns out the statement from the university was rather innocuous. About a half-hour later, the Nebraska athletic department sent an email that essentially said there would be another statement at a later date.
“We will await Sunday’s announcement to see if we receive an invitation to participate in the NIT," Moos said in the statement. "Once our season is completed, my evaluation of our men’s basketball program will draw to a close.”
Moos has been consistent in his messaging since he came to Lincoln, saying no coaching decisions in any sport would be made until after the season was completed. Nebraska will almost certainly make a postseason tournament of some kind, and it will likely be the NIT, so common sense would dictate that any action with regard to Miles will take place after Nebraska plays its final game.
Still, it was a bizarre situation reminiscent of what happened two seasons ago when Nebraska lost to Penn State at the Big Ten Tournament in Washington, D.C., and then-athletic director Sean Eichorst used Twitter to say Miles would be back for the next season.
Eichorst didn't comment again for nearly two months.
So Miles and the Huskers hang in limbo, not totally sure if they will play more games, not sure if they will still be employed by NU. Miles said he spoke to Moos briefly Wednesday after the Rutgers game. Moos sent a congratulatory text after Nebraska beat Maryland.
Miles, for one, seemed at peace with whatever transpires.
"I've accepted the fact that I've ran my race," he said.
Miles' players stepped up to support their coach in a quiet locker room after the game.
"I think he should be back," said junior forward Isaiah Roby, who figures to be a critical piece of next season's team. "Me and Miles have had a relationship for a long time now. I've known him since my sophomore year of high school.
"So I feel like he's a really good coach, and a good guy."
Roby told a story from the aftermath of Nebraska's miracle comeback against Iowa that sparked the team's run in Chicago. The team came into the locker room, Roby said, and Miles was overcome with emotion.
"He was in there bawling," Roby said. "And it was just awesome to see because we know that he cares for us. I think he should be back."
Senior point guard Glynn Watson stuck with Miles for four seasons and knows him perhaps as well as anyone associated with Husker hoops.
"He fights for the guys no matter what's going on, through the ups and downs, and I've been with him through the ups and downs," Watson said. "I think he's a great guy off the court and on the court. It might not always seem like that to the fans or whoever, but he is. And I think he should be able to stay."
In the emotions of a difficult loss, it would be easy for feelings to get muddled. But Nebraska's players were clear: They support their embattled leader.
"It's cool," Miles said of the support. "Because we've had kids transfer and leave, and for these guys to stick it out and still just play the way they did means a lot, on a personal level."