The match up we’ve all been waiting for: Iowa Wesleyan

Okay, so that Air Force loss is depressing.  If the Mavs drop 3 in a row with the 3rd being to Iowa Wesleyan, I may just punch a hole in a wall like Andy Bernard when Jim Halpert hides his ringing phone.

Per Gary Sharp’s radio call on Monday, Jake White could be back tonight for Iowa Wesleyan and if he won’t be back, then he’ll for sure be back for when the Mavs play UMKC.  By the way, if you haven’t heard Gary Sharp say the word “Kangaroos”, then you will need to listen to the game.  It’s entertaining enough just hearing him say it.

If not Jake White is not back, I’m sure Iowa Wesleyan won’t be much an issue.  I mean, I’m sure they’re a great team in the…they’re in college, right?  Last year the Mavs beat Iowa Wesleyan by 50.  The Mavs with the most minutes against Iowa Wesleyan last year: Jalen Bradley and Simon Krych.  I’m not sure if you’re aware, but they’re no longer with us.  No starter played more than 14 minutes in that game.

So yeah, this is kind of like an exhibition, so it’s going to be a chance for opportunities to see what some of the younger guys can do.  I just hope some guys that don’t regularly get playing time realize if they go to some school like Iowa Wesleyan that there would be statues built of them, to honor them as the greatest players in the history of the school.  So this would be a good opportunity for Jake White to come back and get his feet wet.  Is that a pun?

So yeah, freshmen Devin Newsome and Daniel Meyer should get those Simon Krych and Jalen Bradley minutes tonight.  Randy Reed and Tim Smallwood should be able to get more shot attempts.  Rylan Murry should have the green light to shoot from wherever he wants.  It’s like you’re living in a fairy tale.  I’m not saying that to try and put these dudes down, I’m saying that because I think we need to see what they can do.  Derrin Hansen said before the season that they could have some issues in the beginning trying to figure out the bench minutes, so here is the chance for these guys to show off.

A random thought:  It took Creighton two overtimes to beat South Dakota.  I’m not sure how to feel about that.  Is South Dakota that improved under Craig Smith?  Or is scheduling UNO still “not the right time?”

Just a few pre-game notes for this game against Iowa Wesleyan

  • Wesleyan’s biggest starter is 6’6″ and he averages 1.5ppg
  • They do have a 6’2″ freshman guard who averages 11ppg
  • Chris Martin, who starts for Wesleyan went to high school in Bellevue
  • UNO’s returners last year vs. Iowa Wesleyan
    • CJ Carter:  5 pts, 3 rebs, 5 asts, 2-2 fg
    • Devin Patterson:  7 pts, 3 rebs, 2 asts, 3-6 fg
    • Mike Rostampour:  13 pts, 8 rebs, 2 asts, 1 stl, 2 blks, 5-5 fg
    • Marcus Tyus:  5 pts, 2 blks, 2-3 fg
  • UNO’s bench last year outscored the starters 45-41

Some notes about D-1 Stats charts (I think I’m the only one that keeps track)

  • Mike Rostampour needs 9 points to pass Caleb Steffensmeier for 9th most career points since transition
  • Tre’Shawn Thurman needs 9 points to pass John Ring for 17th most career points since transition
  • Mike Rostampour needs to out rebound CJ Carter by 2 rebounds to pass him for 4th most career rebounds since transition
  • Tre’Shawn Thurman already has the most blocks by a freshman in a game or a season since transition (there were really only 3 freshman before this year to get significant playing time: CJ Carter, Marcus Tyus, Mitchell Farr)



A few Nevada post game notes/pregame Kansas State notes

Post game notes for UNO-Nevada

  • I watched Nevada’s Michael Perez in shoot around before the game, I seriously thought he had to be a walk on with that form on his shot.  I think he went 1-15 in warm ups…ended up going 4-12 with 0-5 behind the arch.
  • Player of the game?
    • Mike Rostampour – 17 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal
    • Tre’Shawn Thurman – 18 points, 3 rebounds, 5 blocks
    • Devin Patterson – 10 points, 9 assists, 5 steals
  • Thurman’s 5 blocks are the most by any Mav since transition, he really got to show off his skills in this game
  • Everyone sitting around me kept saying “Thurman is just a freshman, I can’t believe we got him!”
  • Jake White suited up, was in for warm up drills, hopefully he is back soon
  • When Jake White returns, does UNO go with a starting 5 of Rostampour, White, Tyus, Carter, Patterson OR Rostampour, White, Thurman, Carter, Patterson?
  • Can Thurman play the 3?  He handles the ball well and seems to be able to do a little bit of everything…just looking ahead into the future (obviously a lot can happen with players coming and going) but could the Mavs have a starting front court of Meyer or Pirog/Murry/Thurman in 2017 & 2018?
  • Tim Smallwood scored 9 points, he looked comfortable out there, hopefully he’s going to become more consistent and be a huge weapon off the bench
  • Daniel Meyer can move really well without the ball
  • Devin Newsome guards the ball really well
  • What’s a better 3 headed monster?  Rostampour/White/Thurman or Rostampour/Karhoff/Hagerbaumer

A few pre game notes for UNO-Kansas State

  • I honestly don’t know much about Kansas State because Frank Martin is my least favorite coach in college basketball and Bruce Weber is my 2nd least favorite coach
  • There is not much height to the Wildcats, in their rotation they have: Thomas Gipson a 6’7″ senior (13.7ppg/4.7rpg) and Wesley Iwundu a 6’7″ sophomore (6.6ppg/4.8rpg) in the starting line up and Stephen Hurt a 6’11” junior (6.2ppg/4.3rpg) off the bench,
  • Iwundu’s 4.8 rebounds per game is the most on the team
  • Against a somewhat similar opponent, Kansas State did beat UMKC 83-73 and outrebound the Kangaroos 29-22.  Thomas Gipson had 21 points and 9 rebounds in that game.
  • This will be Kansas State’s first home game since UMKC, they’re 2-0 at home and coming off a tournament in Maui in which they went 1-2 with a win over Purdue and losses to # 3 Arizona and a 70-47 loss to Pittsburgh
  • Marcus Tyus is shooting 13-16 over the last 3 games.  He has shot 53% from the floor and 47% from three point range in 8 careers games vs. Power 6 teams.
  • Devin Patterson has averaged 18.5ppg, 5.3rpg, 4.0apg, 2.0spg, and shot 47% from the floor in 4 career games vs Power 6 teams.

By the way, I consider the Power 6 to be: ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Big East, SEC, and Pac 12.



So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

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…

Mavericks win could start something here

I’ve never been so bummed from a UNO basketball win.  Why am I so bummed?  I’m glad I asked myself.

I’m currently working a seasonal job at Omaha Steaks for a little extra money to help pay for all the traveling my wife and I did this past year.  The only schedule I could choose that would work out with my full time job is going to force me to miss out on a few UNO games.  I may or may not get off from Omaha Steaks early enough on Tuesday to catch the game on ESPN 3, which I’m clearly hoping for getting off work early.

Anyway, Tuesday night my friend calls me when I’m done at Omaha Steaks and offers me two free tickets to go to the Nebraska football game.  I’ve been living in Nebraska for 27 out of 28 years of my life and I have never been to a Nebraska football game, so I say hell yes without even thinking.  I quickly remember that UNO basketball is on television on Saturday.  I come up with this plan to check the UNO stats on my phone during the Husker game and then head to a bar to watch the second half of UNO-Marquette.

I’m standing there watching the Minnesota Gophers come back on Nebraska, there was a play in the 2nd half when the Huskers are 2nd and 1 and they call a 7 step drop back pass for Tommie Armstrong who gets sacked and it’s now 3rd and 9, they don’t convert the 4th and right there I figured to myself that Minnesota had enough momentum to win this game.  So that’s when I start looking up the UNO stats and I see UNO is up by 5 with a little to go in the first half.  I’m just standing there thinking to myself – Shit, I’m missing what could come out to be the biggest win in UNO’s short D1 history.  All so I could be standing at this embarrassment of a Nebraska football game and wonder if I should ever come back as there could now be a slight possibility that I am the Nebraska football bad luck guy.  You don’t want to be that guy.

So the Nebraska  game ends and my friends and I head out of Memorial Stadium, which is the quietest I have ever seen 90,000 people.  It was like walking out of a funeral, a funeral that no one had respect for the dead since they dressed in red Husker jackets and one guy was even dressed as a pirate, but still the quiet feel of a funeral.  We get to a bar, we ask for them to turn to the UNO game, the hipster bartender asks “Who?”  The Marquette game is what we have to claim.  The bartender searches the television and the bar doesn’t have the channel.  So yes, instead of getting to watch UNO’s win over Marquette I had to sit in a bar and watch the stats go by.  That is why I am bummed.

Before the start of the season I didn’t really think Marquette would be that good of a team.  They have no size, a first year coach, not much depth, and not a great deal of experience.  So early on I thought that UNO had a chance, even if they were picked as a 17 point underdog.  When I saw Jake White was going to be out, I thought the chances for a UNO win dropped.  I thought it took away a lot of UNO’s experience and size.  But freshmen forwards Tre’Shawn Thurman and Rylan Murry stepped up in his absence.  At Seattle, Thurman got his first start and had 10 points and 8 rebounds, Murry came off the bench for 10 points and three rebounds.  At Marquette, Thurman had 12 and 7 while Murry had 10 and 2.  Two freshmen came in played big in when UNO really needed it.  They combined for 9-11 from the floor in an environment they had ever reason to combine for 3-11.  These two guys are going to be sick in a few years.  I hear sick is a good thing now.

Marquette isn’t at their best right now, but it’s still Marquette and it was in Milwaukee.  Marquette is a big name, they consistently play in the tournament, and Dwayne Freaking Wade played at Marquette.  I hope Gabrielle Union gave him crap for it.  Also UNO’s older cousin down the street plays in the same conference, so it makes a statement that maybe UNO could hang with Creighton finally.  Also, with UNO topping a big name it makes the upcoming UNO-Nebraska matchup far more interesting to people around Nebraska.  Early on the locals thought Nebraska would just steam roll the Mavericks, that thought isn’t on people’s minds right now.  The Huskers slow starts in an exhibition game and then against Central Arkansas has taken away some confidence Nebrasketball fans.  Also, with a little momentum behind the Mavericks, they’re not looking to top their program’s biggest win just a few days later for an even bigger win.

I don’t think there was much excitement about UNO-Nebraska a few years ago when the teams met up in Lincoln.  UNO was pretty fresh into D1 and Nebraskans didn’t know how good Tim Miles was really was at that point, nor did they have high expectations in his first season.  Nebraska also has Terrran Petteway and Walter Pitchford redshirting.  This game, Petteway could be playing on a bad ankle and the Huskers tallest player, Pitchford, has no desire to play in the paint.  Mike Rostampour is going to eat that up.  UNO also just shot 57% on the road against a Big East team and Nebraska is coming off 36% shooting against an Atlantic 10 team, ad they also shot 15% from downtown.  UNO also has an experienced back court that each had 22+ points in each of their wins.

This stretch of games could be some of the most important stretch UNO has ever had as far as marketing their program.  A win at Marquette, an exciting match up at Nebraska, a home game against a somewhat big name Nevada, and an away game at Kansas State – who compares pretty well to Marquette in terms of size and experience.  If UNO can get a couple more wins in this stretch, the seats are going to get a little more full in Ralston.  I may not be able to buy 9 dollar seats and then sit wherever the hell I want due to an empty arena.  The Mavericks are making some noise, it’s starting to getting louder in Omaha.

Post game UCA Notes/pregame Seattle notes

Central Arkansas Post Game Notes:

  • Player of the game is seriously up for debate, could be either:
    • CJ Carter: 22 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 6-11 FG, 4 threes
    • Devin Patterson: 22 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 8-12 FG, 2 threes
    • Mike Rostampour: 13 points, 14 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
    • Jake White: 9 points, 11 rebounds (9 offensive)
  • Devin Patterson was and is apparently playing with a broken big toe
  • UNO had more offensive rebounds (26) than UCA had total (25)
  • Jake White left the game limping and came back out on crutches, but is apparently OK
  • Rostampour & White are going to give teams fits in the post, by far the best rebounders UNO has had
  • Tyus’ shot didn’t seem to have the same arch as normal, maybe having some issues?
  • Carter, Patterson, & Rostampour all played 30 minutes or more, White probably could have gone for more than 30 minutes had he not left the game…but Randy Reed & Tre’Shawn Thurman look like they will for sure be the top bench guys as of now
  • None of the freshman seemed nervous, which is great
    • Maybe Rylan Murry did at first but then he was taking threes with confidence
    • Thurman looked ready right away
    • Devin Newsome looked comfortable running the floor
    • Daniel Meyer didn’t get much playing time, but when he got in he didn’t look nervous at all and had a good post move from what I remember
  • As a Millard South guy, it was great to see Kyler Erickson get out on the court
  • The team’s new intro video was great, showed off the campus a bit, just looked great

Seattle U Pregame notes

I feel like it should be worth noting that the UNO Mavericks will be playing more games in Key Arena than the NBA this year.  I hate being the dude that says that playing later on the west coast is a disadvantage for the Mavericks, but you know what, it really could be.  My wife is from Washington state, and the area is incredibly beautiful, but it rains constantly and is obviously two hours behind.  Every time I’m there it takes me a couple days to adjust to the time change.  I’m sure a D1 athlete gets enough adrenaline to where it doesn’t really affect them, but wouldn’t it be an issue for a bench guy that uses that adrenaline to sit for 10+ minutes before entering the game?  In reality, college students are probably pretty used to being up late.  If I were traveling to see the game, I would probably fall asleep at half time…and I love college basketball.  As a traveler, I wouldn’t look forward to flying from Omaha to Seattle and then to Milwaukee all in the same week, combined with having to work my ass off, but yeah I am kind of lazy.  Here are some game notes just based on lazy observation:

  • Seattle lost their first game at home to Texas State 62-53
  • Former Omaha Bryan player/current Texas State guard Ethan Montalvo (who UNO offered) played 11 minutes, missed a three pointer
  • Hopefully Jake White is healthy and ready to go, well hopefully everyone is healthy and ready to go but the entire team didn’t limp off the court on Sunday
  • UNO beat Seattle last year in Omaha 76-69 and it was one of the more chippy games I attended last year, in that game:
    • CJ Carter – 17/2/3
    • Devin Patterson – 12/2/2
    • Mike Rostampour fouled out in 15 minutes and had 3 points & 3 rebounds
    • Marcus Tyus – 4/6/4
  • For Seattle, these dudes had:
    • Jack Crook – 4/6/2
    • Jarell Flora – 5/4
    • Deshawn Sunderhaus – 7/5/2
    • Isiah Umipig – 35/3/4
  • Feels like the main threat from Seattle is Isiah Umipig, as noted he had 35 points against the Mavs last season…he averaged 19.5 last season and had 23 in the Redhawks’ opening game this season
  • Looking at the two teams on paper, UNO definitely looks like the better team but curious if playing on a Wednesday night on the west coast could cause issues of for the Mavericks
  • Since going D1 UNO is 1-4 playing in Pacific (& Hawaii) time…but are a better team as compared to when they first started, they went 1-2 last season beating Nevada and losing to UNLV & Hawaii but were competitive in both games

Game 1: Central Arkansas (kind of a preview)

The last season of transition is about to start against Central Arkansas.  There are still some questions about the Mavs, Derrin Hansen said he wasn’t exactly sure what’s going to happen with the bench, but hopefully guys will come in and prove themselves to make the process a little more simple.

UNO’s future non-conference opponents went 7-3 on the first two days of the college basketball new year.  Central Arkansas lost to Creighton 104-77 and was out rebounded 45-28.  Creighton is a bigger team this year compared to UNO, actually I doubt UNO has ever had a larger roster than Creighton.

UNO’s Height:  Meyer-6’9″, White-6’8″, Rostampour-6’8″, Thurman-6’7″, Murry-6’7″

Creighton’s Height:  Groselle-7’0″, Artino-6’11”, Hegner-6’9″, Hanson-6’9″, Gilmore-6’7″

Why am I comparing their height?  I don’t know, maybe it’s because the closer you are to the basket the easier it is to score?  Or maybe because Central Arkansas has 6’11” and 6’10” juniors in the starting lineup.  They only combined for 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks against Creighton…playing against height in the past has been difficult for the Mavericks and I’m not sure if these two post players will pose problems for UNO.

Central Arkansas only returns one player from their roster last year.  New Head Coach Russ Pennell just started completely over for a team that is ineligible for post season due to low APR.  They have no seniors, 3 juniors eligible to play, a couple sophomores and 7 freshman.  So on paper it doesn’t look that great for them, but UNO also has a cast of new faces, and in the history of college athletics they’ve never played a game on paper…well I guess I haven’t officially looked that up, but it sounds right.

Central Arkansas did shoot well from 3, they shot 45% against Creighton.  They had 4 players in double figures with freshman Jordan Howard leading the way with 19 points.  Michael Mulligan, another freshman, had 18 points and 7 rebounds, and another freshman Mathieu Kamba scored 11.  Which kind of made me wonder what kind of numbers UNO freshman Daniel Meyer, Rylan Murry, Tre’Shawn Thurman, and Devin Newsome could put up if they got a bulk of the minutes but I do doubt they will get the same minutes the Central Arkansas freshman are getting.

UNO did beat Central Arkansas in Arkansas last year 104-88, but hey remember when it was stated that Central Arkansas is only returning one player and UNO is only returning 4 that actually played last year?  So what’s the point of guessing the possibilities of an outcome today based on last year’s game.  In fact, I don’t even think UCA’s returning player got in that game.

So basically based on very little, I want to give UNO a 10 point edge, but I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as I want it to be and could take a while for UNO to get a lead and actually be ahead.  Very excited to see how the returning players mesh with the new UNO cast.