Tyus versus Bradley: A match up we never expected

Thursday night will mark, probably, the last time that Marcus Tyus and Jalen Bradley face off against each other, a match up Maverick fans never expected to see.

Seeing Marcus Bradley and Jalen Bradley in Omaha gear for the first time gave me a mix of emotions.

The first time I saw Tyus in person, he was coming off the bench to play a Western Illinois squad in the Ralston Arena.  He came into the game, and it appeared as if someone replaced the muscle in his arms with paper mache.  He didn’t scored any points and had only had 1 rebound, and I just found myself wondering why the hell the Mavericks were not redshirting this kid for his own benefit, and for the benefit of the program having him another year when they officially had a chance at making the post season.  The Mavs decision to not redshirt Tyus was apparently made the day before the 2012-2013 season started.

I questioned what this skinny guy from Minnesota could do.  I remember searching the ends of the internet to find any information I could on this freshman, and there was nothing.  This was a time, where it was easy to question why a kid would want to come play basketball at a school transitioning to division one.  There was nothing out there, almost as if he never existed.

That same season, we saw another freshman of that recruiting class, Jalen Bradley, sitting at the end of the bench who was redshirting.  As a fellow Nebraskan, it was easy to know where to go to get the details on Bradley.  It was known that he was a great shooter, and probably needed to work on his defense and point guard skills.  The fans that showed up to games in 2012-2013 could watch Bradley come out before the beginning of warm ups, and watch him drain half court shots as easy as free throws.

Omaha was the only school to give Bradley a division one offer at the time, and I’m not sure how much stock you want to put in Omaha’s division one status at the time.  As far as I can tell, Omaha was also the only division one offer for Marcus Tyus.

The question I had back then was: why are the Mavericks redshirting this one kid who appears to have the exact same positives and negatives of this other kid?

This may sound as if I was resentful toward Tyus over Bradley as a freshman.  I was not.  Both players were part of maybe UNO’s best recruiting class, but perhaps the 2015 recruiting class will prove to be a bigger asset to the program.  With the Mavericks coming closer to post season eligibility with each passing season, it was understandable that the recruiting would improve year-after-year.

With the recruiting continuing to improve, I never imagined either Tyus or Bradley to become starters for the Mavericks.  I was always under the impression that they would have been the high energy and highly efficient guys first off the bench when the transition period was over.

The first impression of Tyus wasn’t great, but after time you could see there was a spark to his game.  At first, he may have seemed as just a shooter.  There was an efficiency to his game, something that many Mavericks at the division one level had not had.

He handles the ball with ease, and moves around screens into open shots or open lanes to get wherever he wants on the basketball court.  Tyus even rarely makes a pass that has you wondering what he could have possibly been thinking in that scenario, unlike many other stars that have come through the Maverick program.

In Tyus’ sophomore season, he saw a slight increase of minutes in the line up due to injuries to senior Justin Simmons.  At the time, it became maybe questionable as to why Tyus was getting the start over senior Alex Phillips.  Tyus’ efficiency on the offensive end could have been the deciding factor as to why he got the starting job.

From his freshman to his sophomore season, Tyus’ points per game average increased by 3.4 points per game, and his minutes only increased by 1.5 minutes per game.

While Tyus was seeing success, Jalen Bradley was struggling to see the court as a Maverick. Bradley only played 9 minutes per game as a freshman, which were mostly garbage time minutes, and his lone season as a Maverick was cut short due to an injury.  Still, when Bradley saw the court, he was never timid to score.  He averaged nearly 5 points per game in his limited time, shot 50 percent from the field, and 40 percent on threes.

With the addition of Devin Patterson, I’m sure Bradley felt he may never see the court with the Mavericks, and that maybe there was no role for him in Omaha.

Bradley’s transfer for more playing time was understandable, but when Tyus went down with an injury toward the end of 2014-2015, Bradley’s presence on the basketball court would have been much appreciated.

With the loss of Tyus, and having no Bradley, the Mavericks were left without an efficient guard who could knock down threes with ease.  Can you imagine Omaha with Jalen Bradley on the court in 2015-2016 without Marcus Tyus?  The Mavericks would have had a knock down shooter.  He would of had the bigger role he was seeking.

Even without an injury to Tyus, Bradley would’ve eventually found a role with the Mavericks by his junior season.  Both the Omaha and Oral Roberts coaching staffs have given him a high amount of praise for how hard of a worker he is in the gym and in the weight room.  He may have had even the same role at Omaha as he currently does at Oral Roberts, but obviously the cast of Omaha could be different at this point had he stayed.

But Bradley did leave, he averaged over 17 points per game in junior college, and picked up interest that led him to being a Golden Eagle, so we’ll never know what could have been.

I am not sure if there are any ill feelings from Bradley toward Tyus for being part of the reason he didn’t get a lot of playing time in Omaha, but in their first meeting as opponents, Bradley helped the Golden Eagles cruise to a victory and had 24 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and only had 1 turnover while Tyus dealt with foul problems and only had 10 points.

According to the commentators, Bradley had his parents in attendance in Tulsa…and also according to them, you always play better in front of your family.  Bradley will surely have his Nebraskan family seeing him in Omaha Thursday night, and they will definitely show up to see the senior play in Vermillion, where his sister also plays basketball.

Back in 2012, we never envisioned a day that we would see Bradley and Tyus going up against each other.  As Mav fans, this might be awkward for us.  Rooting on Tyus to defend Bradley well, but still kind of okay with Bradley having a good game.

 

 

 

The basketball wild cards of the Summit League

With players coming and going, roles need to be filled on teams, and some players just respond quicker than others.  North Dakota State’s AJ Jacobson clearly had a big year as a redshirt freshman, which was a huge help to the Bison as they lost three key seniors from their 2014 championship team.  IUPUI’s Marcellus Barksdale went from averaging 0.3 points per game as a freshman in 2012-13 to averaging 8.6 points per game in his sophomore season, and now is considered an All Conference candidate by many.  South Dakota State’s Keaton Moffitt transferred from a division 2 program to be a top guy off the bench for the Jackrabbits.  Omaha’s Mike Rostampour made an immediate impact with Omaha in his junior season after transferring from division 2.

With the Bison and Jackrabbits as the two favorites to repeat as the two top teams in the Summit League, the league seems to look like it will be in a pretty tight battle for who is 3rd to 8th (or 9th) in the conference standings at the end of the year.  So who are some of the potential wild cards in the Summit League that can set their team apart in 2015-2016?


 

Denver

EVERYONE ON THE ROSTER NOT NAMED MARCUS BYRD, NATE ENGESSER, OR BRYANT RUCKER

Here is a statistic that may jump out at you.  Denver returns the second fewest amount of division one starts on their roster in the Summit League, behind IPFW.  They are a young team, though so was North Dakota State last season, with 6 freshman and 4 sophomores on the roster, so I am incredibly curious who can make up for the losses of Cam Griffin, Brett Olson, and Jalen Love.

The team virtually has no post game, but it is not really something that is incredibly needed in the Princeton offense.  Barry Collier ran the Princeton offense really well without a competent big man at Nebraska.  That was a really bad joke.  Could sophomore Daniel Amigo make a big jump if he is healthy?  He started in all 15 of the games he played in during his freshman year averaging 5.7 points per game, and had three double digit scoring performance, but they were all in blow outs.

Daniel Amigo is super serial.
Daniel Amigo is super serial.

IPFW

JOHN KONCHAR – 6’4″, rFR

Could Konchar be a big time player as a freshman.  He redshirted in his first season with the ‘Dons, I assume because of the 4 upperclassmen guards that were on the roster last season.  Konchar averaged 29 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 2.5 blocks per game in his senior season in high school in Chicago.  Holy crap!  He did see action in IPFW’s preseason game last season, but he only had 3 points in 15 minutes, but hey it was a preseason game.

RACHINE TALLA – 6’9″, SO

Talla is seriously the biggest question mark for IPFW.  He redshirted at USC Upstate his freshman season, and then only played in 2 games in junior college because Mississippi is the worst place on earth.  So how much of an impact can a guy be who has basically not played a competitive game of basketball in 3 years.


IUPUI

JORDAN PICKETT – 6’0″, SO

Pickett transferred to IUPUI after only playing in five games at Loyola before suffering a season ending injury in 2013-2014.  The Jaguars do not have much of a back court, they have a lot of 6’5″ guards, but can the bigger players deal with all of the smaller shooting guards the Summit League has to offer.  Pickett is likely to have a big role for the Jaguars in 2015-2016.  In the Jaguars’ red-white scrimmage last season, which was basically IUPUI vs their players who were forced to redshirt due to transferring, Pickett was able to score 11 points against…the Jaguars.

NICK OSBORNE- 6’8″, JR

One of three transfers from Loyola on the roster.  Osborne is expected to make an immediate impact with the Jaguars, as they have not had much talent in the post in a few years.  Osborne averaged 5.4 ppg and 4 rpg, and shot 50% from the field in his sophomore season at Loyola.  He did average 3 fouls per game, so curious to see how much time he will spend on the bench due to foul trouble in the Summit League.

How much of a difference can Nick Osborne make with the Jaguars.
How much of a difference can Nick Osborne make with the Jaguars.

NORTH DAKOTA STATE 

They lost Taylor Braun, Marshall Bjorklund, and TrayVonn Wright a year ago, and they ended up repeating as Summit League Champions with a 1st year coach.  I think they will be fine…

One could ask; who is going to be make up for the 19 points per game that they lost in Lawrence Alexander?  Can Kory Brown, Carlin Dupree, Paul Miller, and junior college transfer sophomore Malik Clements make up that 19 points a game in the back court?  Yes, they probably can.


OMAHA

JAKE WHITE- 6’8″, SR

Can Jake White be the best post player in the Summit League? Can he?
Can Jake White be the best post player in the Summit League? Can he?

Last year we were teased with White.  With 10 rebounds in his first half as a Maverick, we were thinking our front court would be unstoppable with him and Mike Rostampour.  Then a few minutes into the second half, White hurt his knee, and then for almost a month we kept being told: not this game, but next game probably…  If you look around the post players at the Summit League, White is capable of being the best post player in the League, but he has to stay healthy.  When White transferred, Derrin Hansen stated that White would be the best post player in the Summit.

DANIEL MEYER – 6’9″, SO

Meyer only played 4.5 minutes per game in his freshman season with the Mavericks, but with Mike Rostampour and Rylan Murry (i cried a tear) no longer on the roster, Meyer should expect more playing time in his sophomore season, I mean, right?  It sounded as if he did really well in Italy, but it did not sound like the teams the Mavs played against had many players taller than 6’5″…but I did not look at official rosters, just shady looking websites that did not look fully updated.  When Meyer did play last season, I was never terrified that he was going to ruin everything.  He seemed to move pretty well without the ball, set good screens, and had a nice touch.  He even looked like he could be as good as a passer out of the post as John Karhoff, but we will have to wait and see.


ORAL ROBERTS

ALBERT OWENS- 6’9″ SO

With the graduation of Denell Henderson, Owens will competing for the starting center position with junior college transfer Tre Vance.  Owens did average 3.8 ppg and 2.4 rpg, but he never really received any significant playing time in any of the Golden Eagles’ big games.  Yet, if you look around at some of the conference predictions, Owens is expected to be a big key factor to ORU’s success.  You know, assuming they have some success this season.

Owens had great size listed at 6'9" and 260lbs.
Owens has great size listed at 6’9″ and 260lbs.

JALEN BRADLEY- 6’0″ JR

Bradley is familiar with the Summit League, as he originally played for the Mavericks, but he only played in a total of 26 minutes against the Summit League due to injuries in 2013-2014.  Bradley went on to junior college for his sophomore season, where he averaged 17 points per game.  Everyone knew Bradley could shoot at Omaha, I remember watching him shoot from half court in warm ups and making it regularly, but we did question if he could defend or play the point guard position. While he was at Omaha, they were deep with guards with: CJ Carter, Marcus Tyus, Alex Phillips, Caleb Steffensmeier, Devin Patterson, and Justin Simmons.  The Mavericks could have used him in his sophomore season as that energy guy off the bench, and that would likely still be his role, but ORU fans are expecting him (and 6’3″ Div 2/Fresno State transfer Aaron Anderson) to fill a void left in Korey Billbury and Bobby Word.  That is a lot to ask.


SOUTH DAKOTA

TREY NORRIS – 6’0″ SR

Norris started in all 28 games he played in for the Coyotes in his sophomore season, but then was sent to the bench in his junior season as Craig Smith took over at South Dakota.  Can he be counted on to be the starter again and help lead the Coyotes to another winning record?

TYLER FLACK – 6’7″ JR

Sat out 2014-2015 with an injury.  He started 19 out of 29 games his freshman season and 27 out of 30 games in his sophomore season.  As a sophomore, he averaged 8.5 ppg and 4.7 rpg, he also shot 55% from the floor.  Is he going to be the same after a serious injury, and will Smith have big plans for Flack?

Can Tyler Flack be Tyler Flack again?
Can Tyler Flack be Tyler Flack again?

Here is a glaring stat for South Dakota.  I was looking at the South Dakota State fan forum, wishing I had it in me to do some trolling, and the Jackrabbits are pretty stoked that they return so much of their scoring.  The Jackrabbits return 74% of their scoring, which is second in the conference behind Western Illinois who returns 89% of their scoring, but that is Western Illinois… Anyway, South Dakota lost the most scoring in the Summit losing 54% of their scoring.  So they are going to need Flack and Norris to return to 2013-2014 form.


SOUTH DAKOTA STATE

CONNOR DEVINE/IAN THEISEN

Did I mention that South Dakota State is returning 74% of their scoring?  I think I just did that.  Most of that is the loss of Cody Larson.  The Jackrabbits arguably have the best guard trio in the Summit League with George Marshall, Deondre Parks, and Jake Bittle, but they are left with little in the post after the loss of Larson, and they are young in the post.  Devine and Theisen shared the time behind Cody Larson in the post last season, can they and freshman Nebraska natives Michael Daum and Adam Dykman make up for that loss in Larson?


WESTERN ILLINOIS

When you only when 8 games, you lose 13 of your last 14 games, one of your wins is a 2 point win at home against Devin Patterson-less Omaha team, and 15 of your 20 losses are by 10 points or more, there is not much confidence riding in your team going into the next season.  So basically everyone on your roster not named Garrett Covington is a wild card.

The Leathernecks did have some injury issues in 2014-2015, and they have the 2nd most returning division one starts on their roster in the Summit League behind North Dakota State, and as previously mentioned, they do return 89% of their scoring.

 

 

2015-2016 opponent preview, Game 5: Minnesota Gophers

I am sitting here looking at the basketball schedule and many things go through my mind as I see the Minnesota Gophers.

  • Minnesota is only about 6 hours away
  • The state of Minnesota is known for Juicy Lucys, and no one here in Omaha has really perfected it
  • The Mavericks played the Gophers pretty close when these two teams met in 2013
  • The Mavericks have 3 players from the state of Minnesota
  • Could this game be on the Big 10 Network?
  • Am I the only one who thinks Richard Pitino is a little overrated?
  • Do we have a shot here?
  • This will be the Gophers first game back after a trip to Puerto Rico
  • UNO Hockey plays Ohio State the same day basketball plays Minnesota, and possibly at the same time?
  • Minnesota has not lost a true home game against a Mid Major team since 2006…they were really bad in 2006-2007
  • Does the internet have enough Minnesota Gophers/Caddyshack memes?

The first thing I want to ask myself when I see this schedule is: Should I make the trip?

As noted above, Minnesota is not a difficult drive unless the weather is not cooperating.  I debate several times a year for a reason to go up to Minneapolis.  While it is only a 6 hour drive, probably less even, it would feel even longer as I would sit in excitement like I am Buddy the Elf impatiently waiting for Christmas.  I would be thinking of that first sweet bite of bliss as I bite into a Jucy Lucy burger, and the idea that the Mavericks could potentially pull off this upset.

This thing is seriously life changing.
This thing is seriously life changing.

A few scheduling conflicts that come to my mind are; the Nebraska-Iowa football game; and the UNO hockey game against Ohio State.  Since the game time of the Mavericks at Minnesota has yet to be posted*, it is tricky to determine if I could make the trip, listen to the football game on the radio during the drive and watch the hockey game from Minnesota or listen to it on the radio on the drive back.  So many burning questions that need to be answered.


Could this game be on the Big 10 Network?*

The last time the Mavericks and Gophers faced off, the game was played on BTN.  My wife and I had a few friends over, for something actually completely unrelated, so I definitely had the game going on in the background.  Turning on the game we thought the game could get ugly, but it was ugly for Minnesota in the beginning.  A friend of mine, who did not and still does not pay attention to the Mavericks, but he is a big college basketball fan (he is a Husker fan, it’s cool).  He was completely impressed with the shooting of the Mavericks.

At first, I thought the game could get out of hand, as Justin Simmons was slowed by injury.  My friend and I were completely surprised by the shooting of Alex Phillips that game.  Every time the Mavericks needed a 3, Phillips showed no fear taking it.  With no prior experience watching the Mavericks, my friend thought Phillips was the star of the team.  Phillips (along with Caleb Steffensmeier and Matt Hagerbaumer) really brought energy and experience off the bench for that Mavericks team.  The Mavericks do not have that same dynamic this season, but hopefully seniors Randy Reed and Tim Smallwood could bring the experience, and new guards Tra-Deon Hollins and JT Gibson can bring the energy.

Marcus Tyus had 11 points and 5 rebounds against the Gophers in 2013-2014
Marcus Tyus had 11 points and 5 rebounds against the Gophers in 2013-2014

I just realized how I got off track here.  Anyway, the game was on BTN, there was drama to that game, could the network pick up the Mavericks-Gophers again for a live broadcast?

*So I looked it up after typing all of this out.  The game time is currently not posted on omavs.com, but the game is listed as a 2 pm start time on ESPN3 on the Gophers’ website.  With that in mind, 2 pm brings up a few different scenarios of stuff to do.  

If DJs Dugout or Dudley’s Pizza could stream the game, this could create a watch party at either place, and create for great pre gaming for the hockey game against Ohio State…nice.  

Or yes, one could drive to Minnesota listening to the Husker game on the radio, go to the basketball game, and then hopefully watch or listen to the hockey game on the radio.  That is a big day.

OR, your significant other could throw a big wrench in your plans and tell you that you have to put up Christmas decorations all day and you have an event with your in-laws because you did something with your family on Thanksgiving.


Do the Mavericks have a chance?

So after checking out what most Big 10 beat writers had to say, almost every single one had Minnesota ranked 11th in the Big 10 in the incredibly worthless “Way too early rankings.”  Much of this is based on the fact that the Gophers had big expectations for 2014-2015, but instead they came in 10th and failed to make the post season.  With that in mind, the Gophers lost their two leading scorers, most of their experience, and they will be a pretty young team this season with 6 freshman and 4 sophomores.  They also have two juniors that transferred into the program but will be sitting out during the 2015-2016 season.

The Gophers do not have much talent in their post game, as the two juniors that are sitting out after transferring are basically a bulk of their talent in the post.  The Gophers do have 6’9″ senior Joey King, who could pose a threat to the Mavericks, but King does play more like a guard with literally half of his field goals made in 2014-2015 being three point field goals.  King only averaged 3 rebounds per game in his junior season, and has only had a total of 11 games with 5 or more rebounds in his entire three year career between Minnesota and Drake.  While King is mostly a threat on offense, and the Gophers lack an inside presence, the Mavericks could feel comfortable with forwards Jake White and Tre’Shawn Thurman to guard King on the outside, as both appear comfortable stepping out and playing defense.

The biggest threat the Gophers have is 6’5″ senior Carlos Morris, who can do a little bit of everything, averaging 11 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg, and 2 spg in his junior season while shooting 45% from the field and 36% on threes.  The scariest thing to think about is who the Mavericks will use to guard Morris.  Could Minnesota go with Morris at the 4 with their lack of size?  If so, look to Thurman and/or Randy Reed to try and contain Morris in this one.

While Minnesota had a decent recruiting class and signed two talented point guards, their young guards are going to have to go up against seniors Devin Patterson, Marcus Tyus, and Smallwood; as well as junior Tra-Deon Hollins.  Patterson loves these games against the bigger schools.  A stat that I love to bring up is that in 5 career games against Power 6 teams, Patterson has averaged 16.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.6 spg, and shot 55 % from the field and 35% on threes.  Tyus has shot 52% from the field and 48% on threes in 9 career games against Power 6 teams.

Please note that if these figures seem off as compared to earlier posts (assuming you have actually read any of these posts), it is because I realized I forgot to include Kansas State into those figures earlier.

Not to mention the Mavericks were scaring the crap out of Gopher fans for about 30 minutes of the game the last time these two teams played.  That Maverick team had a little bit of a different look, but actually so do the Gophers with only one player (King) that played in that game.  Patterson and Tyus combined for 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists in that game.

With the Mavericks having seniors Jake White and Marcus Tyus*, along with freshman JT Gibson, looking to have big games in front of their home state fans, the Mavericks will more than likely be looking to work harder to push on for a win against the Gophers.  Out of the three games the Mavericks have this season against power conference teams, this could be the Mavericks best chance at getting an upset.  I say that without even really getting into Missouri yet.  This is what is making it difficult to pass up a chance to make the drive to see the Mavericks take on Minnesota.

Mav freshman was the 2014-2015 Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year for basketball
Mav freshman was the 2014-2015 Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year for basketball

I just realized that I am not even 100% sure that Marcus Tyus will be back and ready at this point.  I just kind of assumed, because there was actually (minimal) debate of him playing in Italy.

I am not saying it is a guarantee that the Mavericks will win this game.  I am not Paul Finebaum claiming that the SEC football teams will go 56-0 in non-conference play because God spent days 8 to 13 creating what we now know as SEC football.  I am saying the game should at least be entertaining, and that the Mavericks do have a chance to win this game if they play big.  Seriously though, imagine how crazy the UNO Maverick Maniacs would be at a Ohio State-Omaha hockey game hours after a Omaha win at Minnesota.  We are talking villagers storming Dr. Frankenstein’s house crazy.

 

All I want for my birthday is for the Mavs to end this losing streak

Thursday morning I will leave for a wedding in Mexico, the wedding happens to be on my birthday, so it will probably be the coolest place that I have ever spent my birthday.  I am a big sports fan, but I am also not such a crazed sports fan to where I will have my phone out the entire time checking college basketball scores.  Mostly because of signal on my cell, but also out of respect for the people getting married…  I just hope to come back to find out that the UNO Mavericks have picked up a win.  I am sure the room I am in will have wireless and I can check the score there, but who knows.

I do not ever want to be negative with any of this, but it is hard to find many positives for a team that is on a five game losing streak and just lost to the preseason last place team with UNO having a historic scoring performance from their senior captain.  So here are some positives…

Denver is also struggling.  A team picked second in the preseason rankings (see how preseason rankings are worthless) finds themselves at 6th in the conference at 2-3 with losses to South Dakota State, also IUPUI, and they are responsible for IPFW’s only win.  IPFW was the voted as the preseason champion.

Another positive, CJ Carter and Marcus Tyus are playing awesome right now.  CJ Carter scored 45 points on only 25 field goal attempts in his last game.  How many NBA players have you seen that needed to take 39 shots in order to get to 45?  Tyus, also went 7 of 10 in the Mavs last game.  He is also rebounding and passing the ball better this season, he really has become a more consistent player this season.  UNO did shoot 50% plus in their two losses, so naturally you want to blame defense, rebounding, turnovers, all the good stuff.  Before Oral Roberts and IUPUI, UNO was 6-0 when shooting above 44% and 0-9 when shooting under 44%, not counting Iowa Wesleyan. #themoreuno

UNO has no games this work week.  Denver plays Oral Roberts on Wednesday night, so UNO has more time to prepare for this game.  That can not be a negative.  Okay, now I do not know where to go from here.

If you were listening to the broadcast on the radio, Gary Sharp mentioned that teams are playing the Mavs to get better, it seems like some players are having out of body experiences and shooting much better against Omaha.  Ouch, considering Denver already shoots 49% on the year as a team and leads the Summit, so are you telling me they are going to be better than that?

Denver runs a Princeton offense, similar to Air Force, ehhhh, and is led by their two senior wings Brett Olson (shoots 51%) and Cam Griffin (shoots 54%).  Let me throw something at you.  Brett Olson stands at 6’5″ and Cam Griffin is 6’3″.  Denver is not really that big of a team, they do not have a talented big guy like Air Force did with Marek Olesinksi.  Marcus Byrd is probably their most talented guy that is 6’7″ or taller who averages 9 and 4 and shoots 52% from the field and 49% on threes.  So three of their top players shoot higher than 50%, well this already sounds fun.

Why mention this?  The perimeter defense that I have spoken of as being a big issue for UNO.  In 2012-2013, I thought the Mavs biggest weakness was in the post, and then it got better in 2013-2014 with the addition to Mike Rostampour to the lineup, but now it is a strength of the team with Jake White and Tre’Shawn Thurman also in the post.  Now the Mavs are having trouble guarding wing players.  Opposing teams’ starters that are 6’7″ or taller are shooting 46% from the field against the Mavs, guards that are 6’2″ or shorter are also shooting 46% from the field against the Mavs, and players that are 6’3″ to 6’6″ (and I will throw in Nebraska’s Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields into this category, just because) are shooting 50% from the field.

Maybe that does not sound like a significant thing, but when you are in a league filled with 6’3″ to 6’6″ wing players that can shoot the ball, it is a problem.  There are not a lot of great talented big guys in the league.  Hell, UNO is in last place and after IPFW’s Steve Forbes and South Dakota State’s Cody Larson, UNO probably has the next best 3 big men in the league of Mike Rostampour, Jake White, and Tre’Shawn Thurman.  Korey Billbury and Obi Emegano combined for 20-32 from the field against the Mavs, and statistically they are not quite as good as shooters as Cam Griffin and Brett Olson.  I do not even want to get into IUPUI.

I am pretty interested to see what Mike Rostampour will do in this game against Denver.  In no way do I think 5 rebounds in two games is okay with Mike Rostampour.  The last time he only had 3 rebounds in one game, he came back the next game with 11 points and 11 rebounds against Marquette.  The only time he had less rebounds over a two game stretch, he had 4 combined rebounds in 2 games against South Carolina State and Drake last season, he came back with a performance of 19 points, 9 rebounds, on 7-11 shooting with 2 threes at South Carolina State.  I would be incredibly surprised if Rostampour has three bad rebounding games in a row.

I love Carter and Tyus, but at 6’1″, I wish one of them could play the point guard position for the stretches of the game that Devin Patterson is on the bench.  You are never quite sure what is going to happen when the Mavs go to the bench.  It is like you are putting in a new Weezer CD, you know there will be part of a song that is pretty good, but the rest of the CD, you are not entirely sure what you are getting yourself into.  I thought of this, I used to be a big Weezer fan, but I have not given that band one dollar since that Maladroit album.

When Matt Hagerbaumer, Alex Phillips, and Caleb Steffensmeier came off the bench last season, you knew exactly what you were getting.  Defense and rebounding from Hagerbaumer, and some sweet dunks when he got the opportunity.  Defense and shooting from Alex Phillips, maybe one poor decision from time to time, but nothing too extreme.  Defense, ball control, and if you needed a comeback or a dagger three from Steffensmeier, he would give it to you.  All three of those guys would get you high percentage shots.

We know we are going to get a boat load of offensive rebounds from Jake White, but offensively he has been hard to figure out so far.  You are not really sure what you are going to get out of the bench on a consistent basis from anyone else on the bench.  He is only shooting 37% from the field, but that is with some nagging injuries.  Maybe Randy Reed can get us 10 and 7 this game, but then 2 and 1 the other game.  Tim Smallwood and Rylan Murry can get us a couple threes this game, but then both seem to be too shy from deep the next game.  This is why I wish Carter or Tyus could play the point, I think they are both capable of it, it just does not seem to happen often.  With one of them at the point, the Mavs could have 3 starters on the court with 2 bench players at any given time as opposed to 1 starter with 4 bench players, which seems to be leading to problems lately.

A general perception that I have right now is that the team loses a lot of defensive intensity when Mike Rostampour is on the bench.  Which it would probably be impossible to have the intensity go up with him on the bench, but it is quite noticeable how much the team is affected when Rostampour is on the bench resting or is in foul trouble.  Might I recommend a little more Daniel Meyer when Rostampour is in foul trouble?  Tre’Shawn Thurman is awesome, but he is not the definition down low banger like Rostampour, Jake White is also not exactly in that category either, but Meyer is really the only player that would fall into that category after Rostampour.  I do not see what is wrong with a Meyer-White-Thurman front court for a small stretch.  Maybe it is not the ideal lineup against Denver, but against a slightly bigger South Dakota State or IPFW, it seems pretty reasonable.

I do think we need to stop looking at this season as We Beat Marquette and we need to start look at it as We Lost to Seattle, UMKC, Chicago State, and IUPUI.