I was in Lincoln on Saturday and a Lincolnite struck up a conversation with me about college basketball, more specifically on the local spectrum. He was wearing a Husker shirt and watching the Huskers not having a fun camping trip to Rhode Island, he was quite possibly suicidal from the Huskers football loss earlier in the day as well. At this point in the day I am guessing he had at least 16 beers inside of him, but he made some sense.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are the best college basketball team in the state, on paper, he claims. Those two teams from Omaha, Creighton and UNO, are awful match ups for the Huskers, he adds. This guy is saying all the words I have been thinking to myself for a while, oh and this guy when he gets up and goes to the bathroom looks like Bambi trying to walk on a frozen lake. I contact my friends who are both huge into college basketball and present this guys’ ideas as if they are mine, honestly some of them were things I was thinking but afraid of looking stupid if I said them. His random thoughts on how Dude, Where’s My Car is the funniest film all time, those don’t sit well with me.
The main reason Creighton and UNO are terrible match ups for Nebraska: Walter Pitchford vs. (Creighton) Artino/Hegner/Hansen and Walter Pitchford vs (UNO) Rostampour/White/Thurman. Due to lack of options down low, Nebraska is playing a 6’10” shooting guard at center. Their 6’10 “post player” has taken 16 shots on the year and 11 of them have been for three. In his short tenure at Nebraska, he has never looked good defending down low, last year Leslee Smith was counted on a lot to come off the bench and guard the other team’s big men when Pitchford just couldn’t handle it.
If Mike Rostampour and Jake White are both in on this, they are going to eat up Pitchford. Pitchford wont be able to guard them, Terran Petteway, Shavon Shields, and David Rivers are going to have to help out, it’s going to cause issues for the Huskers. All the threes Pitchford takes, they do not open things up in the post, a 6’10” that can hit from three is a huge weapon, but it doesn’t open things up for things to happen if he’s just planting his feet and waiting for someone to pass him the ball the whole time. If he misses, UNO is better at rebounding than Nebraska, if those threes aren’t going it, it will be a disaster for Nebraska. I’ve never said UNO was a better rebounding team than anybody, NEVER!
A big reason UNO was able to pick up a win at Marquette was because of the hot start they had, and they were able to keep that lead. Nebraska has had some slow starts in this young season so far, if they don’t come out and grab a lead early, Nebraska may find themselves in the same situation as Marquette did on Saturday.
Something else that doesn’t work in Nebraska’s favor is the pace. Yes, Nebraska has Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields who can both put up a lot of points. With Pitchford’s current shooting struggles, they don’t really have a 3rd scorer. Most of the teams that beat Nebraska last year could score the ball.
- UMass won 96-90
- UAB won 87-74
- Ohio State won 84-53
- Creighton won 82-67
- Michigan won 79-50
- Cincy won 74-59
- Michigan won 71-70
- Ohio State won 71-67
- Purdue won 70-64
- Iowa won 67-57
- Illinois won 60-49
- Penn State won 58-54
The most points that Nebraska scored in a win: 83 vs. South Carolina State who the Mavericks beat 91-59 and 83-67. Nebraska, doesn’t like the high scoring games. It’s not them, it’s not what they like doing.
I love Tim Miles, I think he’s the biggest advantage for the Nebraska, and I don’t think there is a long list of guys that could have turned Nebraska into a tournament team as quickly as he did. When I lived in Utah we got this Mountain West channel and all the games I got were all of Colorado State’s basketball and football games, and I thought then if Doc Sadler got fired at Nebraska that Tim Miles was the right man for the job. Tim Miles is no idiot, it didn’t take him seven years to graduate high school, he has been the head coach of a transitioning team that beat Marquette and Wisconsin, and he knows what this game means for the Mavericks and what it would do for them.
I don’t want it to seem like I’m the guy that thinks the Mavericks totally have this. I’m not the Husker football fan saying before the (and every) season that they’re going to win the national championship because the 1995 ‘skers were the best football team of all time. A lot can happen. Pitchford can start hitting his shots finally. Rostampour can pick up two quick fouls and the Mavericks could lose their rebounding advantage, especially if Jake White is out. Petteway of Nebraska and White of Omaha are both game time decisions, those are two huge decisions for this.
One large X-Factor in this is CJ Carter. Someone like Carter has been waiting to pick up a win in Lincoln for a long damn time. Per twitter, Tre’Shawn Thurman has also been waiting for something like this for a long time. Carter though, he’s played a college basketball game in Lincoln, and it didn’t go that well for him. 6 points and 4 rebounds on 1-6 shooting against the Husker in 2012. In fact, pre-Marquette win, Carter had struggled against the Power 6 conferences. In 7 games from his freshman to junior year, Carter averaged 7.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.9apg, 30%fg, and 25% on threes. Tonight’s game against Nebraska is Carter’s shot at redemption in front of his fellow Nebraskans.
The Huskers need this game for respect, they know that. Before this game, the locals all had the Nebraska is Going to Steamroll Creighton and UNO feelings. Now things have changed, Nebraska knows they need this game for respect, they were the best show in town and now that’s been taken away from them. By the way, it’s been 15+ years since going into a season that there was a consensus that the Huskers were the best college basketball team in the state. Are they used to all these mixed emotions?
By the way, Mavs fans need a #hashtag for this game. #breakthebank is too cliche. We need something…