Imagining what would have happened had the Huskers played the Mavericks

Nebraska lost to Gardner-Webb yesterday.  Omaha beat Cal State Fullerton for the second time of the season.  Why couldn’t the Mavericks and Huskers have played yesterday instead of those two games?

I get that Nebraska fans feel Omaha should stop complaining about the two schools not playing each other in the last few years.  I also understand that both programs wanting their home games and schedules to align might be difficult some years.  But it sounds like Omaha’s offer to play is always on the table for Nebraska.

You know what may have been a good day that would have made sense to play each other?  The Sunday after finals week.  Just a thought.

The perception by Omaha fans is that Nebraska currently doesn’t want to play Omaha is because Omaha might be just a little bit better than the Huskers right now, and Nebraska wouldn’t want to risk the loss to their little brother.  Omaha may not have the athleticism and quantity of talent that Nebraska has, but they have some match up problems for Nebraska and enough bitter tenacity to give the Huskers everything they’ve got.

Not saying this is actually what’s happening with the Nebraska staff, just saying what fans put into their minds.

Now that Nebraska has lost to a Big South team, maybe facing Omaha might not be all that bad.  But the Husker-Mavericks match up wasn’t scheduled this year…so we’ll just have to imagine what this world would be like if they would have agreed to play yesterday…


Derrin Hansen does his hands in his pockets slow walk into the arena and glares out into the crowd.  Still not sure at what goes through Hansen’s mind when he does this, but in this case I am assuming he is doing whatever he can to raise his maturity level to not punch Herbie Husker in the face.

What is this?  When Hansen reaches the scorers’ table and a student manager provides him with a Diavolo Pizza from Dante Ristorante Pizzeria out of Omaha and two pitchers of beer.  Hansen sets the pizza and beer on the table next to his seat and glares down at Tim Miles.

“I am going to beat you while I am loaded,” Hansen screams across the court to Tim Miles.

Tim Miles’ response is to flash the cross bones in Hansen’s direction.

The crowd goes insanely wild, but collectively as a basketball miracle the fans just start chanting “SCREW THE JAYS.  SCREW THE JAYS.  SCREW THE JAYS.”  It doesn’t make a ton of sense given the situation, but it also makes perfect sense at the same time.

The analysts ask the question: What do the Cornhuskers have to do win this game?  The question alone should be a punch in the gut to a Big 10 team, but it’s actually a serious question in this case.  They need to penetrate and knock down open threes, so all of the Mav fans have a good laugh.

What do the Mavericks have to do to win this game?  Control the pace and get out into transition.  The Mav fans just continue laughing.

Tre’Shawn Thurman takes off his warm ups and walks to center circle to ready himself for the opening tip.  By getting ready, he just flexes the entire time as he walks up to face Ed Morrow.  Nebraska wins the tip.

Nebraska’s first offensive possession is spent with confusion among the players as teammates are asking each other if they are sure they were supposed to be starting tonight.  Some guard for Nebraska, I don’t know, it’s hard to keep track of them at times, tries a pass to Jack McVeigh and Tra-Deon Hollins gets in the middle of the passing lane and rushes down the court in transition.  He tries a fancy pants pass to Marcus Tyus, who wasn’t expecting the pass, so the ball goes out of bounds.

Oh, it’s going to be a sloppy game.  Who would have guessed?

Nebraska’s second offensive possession, the team works the ball into Michael Jacobson.  Jacobson is backing Zach Pirog into the lane.  Jacobson works a series of moves to confuse his defender, and works into in up and under move under for an easy basket.  Oh man, this Jacobson guy is going to kill us down low all night!

Omaha’s second offensive possession, Thurman gets the ball at the top of the lane and is defended by Nebraska’s Ed Morrow.  Thurman makes a jab step to the right, Morrow bites, Thurman moves into a fade away jump shot, and the basket is good.

Next, a pissed off Morrow aggressively attacks Thurman at the basket for a lay up.  Morrow and Thurman could provide to be a very fun match up throughout the game, but one of them is likely to get into foul trouble.  So that’s sad we have to imagine it.

Eventually Nebraska subs in Jordy Tshimanga for Morrow, and all of the Omaha fans cheer in excitement.

Mitch Hahn and Pirog outrun Tshimanga for easy baskets for a few minutes and Omaha goes on a 8-0 run.  Miles calls a time out and an assistant coach tells Tshimanga to fake an injury and head to the locker room for the duration of the game.

Jacobson gets Thurman down on the block and works a few post moves on him and gets another easy basket.  Seriously, how does this Jacobson only have two baskets?  Why don’t the Huskers go into him more frequently?

On the next possession, Thurman tries to get some revenge on Jacobson and moves at him out of control and picks up an offensive foul.

Hansen goes absolutely ballistic at the referee, even though it was a good call.  You have to remember that Hansen has at least one pitcher of beer and half of a pizza down at this point.

Omaha has a 5 point lead at half time.  Nebraska fans are really unsure what to do here.  They end up just bitterly accusing every Omaha fan of being MavSkers, and not being a true fan to anything.  You know, because you cannot just like things in this state without these people accusing you of being a home wrecker.

The Husker fans take a few moments wondering how they missed out on recruiting Tre’Shawn Thurman.  Sure, statistically, he would not of had the same career at Nebraska as he did at UNO, but he would have proven to be a quality Husker.  Omaha fans are wondering how UNO missed out on Michael Jacobson.

There is also some argument and debate trying to figure out which basketball program is doing the other basketball program a favor by playing this game.


Some half time stats:

Nebraska – 

Michael Jacobson – 4 points, 5 rebounds

Ed Morrow – 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 fouls

Jordy Tshimanga – 1 minute

Tai Webster – 8 points, 3 rebounds

And the guy who keeps track of how many times Jack McVeigh is not found wide open by Glynn Watson has broken his clip board and is being seen by a medical professional.

Omaha

Tra-Deon Hollins – 2 points, 3 assists, 2 steals, 4 turnovers?

Zach Jackson – 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 10,000 people asking: who is this guy?

Tre’Shawn Thurman – 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 fouls


The teams come out of for shoot around at half time.  Tai Webster is just pissed.  Pissed!

Derrin Hansen stumbles out of the locker room a little surly.

Trev Alberts is seen on the big screen, and he is met with a mix of boos and cheers.  Shawn Eichorst is seen on the phone attempting to fire whoever is in charge of putting people up on the big screen.  He’s also trying to figure out who is in charge of keeping outside food and drinks from entering the building.  There is a man on the sideline with two pitchers of beer and a pizza!

The first four minutes of the second half are not basketball.  Both teams enter those minutes where they have complete offensive droughts.  Just turnovers and bricked jump shots for four plus minutes.

Miles is standing on the sideline with his arms crossed and a pissed off look on his face.  Hansen is just standing there with his hands in his pockets staring into the abyss.  That’s actually 100% accurate of their body language when their teams go on these offensive droughts.

Nebraska comes out of the media time out by having Tai Webster attack the rim.

Omaha has moved to their three point shooting line up with Thurman-Hahn-JT Gibson-Tyus-Hollins.  So naturally, they come out of the first media time out ready for Thurman to set some screens and Hollins to find open three point shooters.  This is not Omaha’s best defensive line up, so it’s enough to just keep the game close at this point.

We’re going to break into a basketball sports movie montage here –


Nebraska frees up the lane by confusing Omaha’s defense in the post, and Morrow gets a huge dunk.

Hahn makes a corner three after his defender thinks he has to help Jacobson defend an Omaha post player.

Webster breaks past Tyus through an open baseline for an easy lay up.

Hollins steals the ball from Watson and sprints across the court for an easy transition bucket.

Morrow gets an and-one opportunity.  Thurman gets an and-one opportunity.

Miles cracks a joke at a ref and the ref tries to hide his laughter.  This happens at least twice a game.

Hansen screams at an official for a blown call, and he earns a warning.  This happens at least once a game.

Zach Jackson gets McVeigh to jump on a pump fake, and Jackson drives baseline and Isaiah Roby fouls him.  Nebraska fans are still trying to figure out who this Jackson kid is.  He averaged 3.5 points a game last year, how is this possible!?  If this was the Doc Sadler era, it is entirely possible that Jackson would be a Husker.

Anton Gill gets into the lane and…well he does something basketball related, I guess.

A Nebraska fan talks about how at least Nebraska is only losing Tai Webster after this season.  Next year could be the Huskers’ year.  Right?

An Omaha fan complains about how Pinnacle Bank Arena doesn’t sell alcohol at Husker events.  That’s just an Omaha thing.

McVeigh finally hits a three.

Tyus comes off a screen and catches a pass from Hollins and knocks down a three.

Roby drives into the lane, gets the ball knocked out of his hands by Hollins, but the ball still some how ends up in Roby’s hands again and he puts up a shot with the shot clock expiring, and it goes in.

Tyus drives into the lane, misses a lay up.  Thurman gets the offensive rebounds, puts it up and misses, does that a few more times, and then gets an and-one.  Seriously, 4 misses and 5 rebounds in 10 seconds.  Thurman now has a double-double.

We’re looking at a 74-74 game right now, and Omaha calls a time out with 40 seconds left on the shot clock.  Derrin Hansen calls a time out.

Hollins stands at the top of the key dribbling and watching the shot clock dwindle down.  Pirog comes up and sets a screen.  Hollins drives to the basket, and with the attention focused on him and Thurman, Hollins passes the ball to a rolling Pirog who dunks the ball in.

Nebraska calls a timeout with 4 seconds remaining.

Omaha comes out showing a full court press.  Nebraska calls another time out.  Isn’t basketball fun?

Watson inbounds the ball to McVeigh near half court.  He drives enough to get the ball near the three point line, and throws up a three with Jackson right in his face.

And…

 

 

 

 

 

The state of Nebraska basketball parlay bet

So I love talking about college basketball any time of the year.  A buddy of mine finds it incredibly difficult to talk about college basketball until the month of October, which I fully understand and respect.  I am pretty sure he was talking about late October after the MLB has concluded, but this is what you get when you are not specific.  Last season we had a bet, a parlay bet if you will, based on the win totals of the division one men’s basketball teams for Nebraska, Creighton, and Omaha.  I am not completely well versed on all the gambling terms out there, but I think it is a parlay bet.  I love going to the casino and playing blackjack, but I seriously learned what a parlay bet was from watching “Silver Linings Playbook”.  Anyway, even though no one won last year, we fully intend on doing this bet again.

The idea is that we set an agreeable number set as a over/under figure for how many wins each team will have, but we will not include their conference tournaments or any potential post season tournaments.  If we think one of them will go 15-15, we will set the over/under on that team at 14.5 or 15.5.  Each of us then decide between them getting more than 14.5 wins or less than 14.5 wins.  We set a different prediction for each team, and in order for you to win, you have to get all three right.  We’re not betting tens of dollars on this, just a growler of beer at the winner’s choice of brewery.  It is very difficult for me to decide between Nebraska Brewing Company and Benson Brewery.  Nebraska Brewing would make sense though, because that this is about Nebraska.

Since each of the three teams under performed last season, neither of us came even close.  The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday.  See what I did there?  Being that I had no faith in Creighton to do well last season, I had the under on them correctly, as we set the over/under on Creighton at 19.5, I believe.  Nebraska and UNO underperforming, kept me from getting a free growler from Benson Brewery though.  By the way, in the state of Nebraska it is apparently illegal to take an outside growler into a brewery and have them fill it.  My mother-in-law and sister-in-law each got me growlers for Christmas.  One was an Oregon Ducks growler and the other was to some brewery in the state of Washington.  I tried to take the Oregon Ducks growler in some place in Nebraska and was notified that Nebraska is one of two states to have this rule.  Denied.

Anyway, I am open to suggestions on to what to set the over/under on each team this season.  All three teams had trips to Europe, so you have got to be thinking some sort of improvements for each team.


Nebraska

It is almost a gut instinct to set the Huskers at a low win total.  They only had 13 wins in 2014-2015 and most preseason predictions have them finishing 13th in the Big 10 this upcoming season.  They lost Terran Petteway who is now with the Atlanta Hawks, and they have nine new players being thrown into the mix.

The good news for the Huskers is that they only have two true road non-conference games, and one of those games is in Omaha against Creighton.  They lost Petteway, but they still have Shavon Shields.  I never think it is great when your main scorer is a volume scorer like Petteway.  Your first option on offense last season shot 39% from the field, and now your main option on offense shot 44% from the field last season, those few more field goals can make a big difference, especially if your volume scorer is taking poor shots just for the sake of scoring points.  The bad news about Shields is that his field goal percentage has dropped in each of his 3 seasons as a Husker, but I feel like he was playing hurt for much of the 2014-2015 season, am I wrong?  I could be making that up, I thought I remember reading that.

The Huskers’ third option on offense, Walter Pitchford is also gone, and they should be look at this like it is a great thing.  Pitchford’s production dropped from his sophomore season to his junior season, and he did not even look like he was into it most games.  He just looked like a guy that was being forced to go to a chick flick with his wife, because the comic book movie you took her to had terrible dialogue.  He also just seemed unwilling to take the ball into the post and score, which is what you look for in a 6’10” player (not).  So two of your top three scorers shot less than 40% from the field, in a way, you should actually feel pretty good about replacing that with a Kansas transfer and a few highly touted freshman.  I still seriously need someone to explain to me how Pitchford is competing for a roster spot on a NBDL team and Mike Rostampour is not.

I think the Huskers can at least get 7 wins in their non-conference schedule.  Are they better than 7-11 in the Big 10?  As they are picked 13th to win the conference, many people do not think so.  Their season is really going to be dependent on how well their freshmen Glynn Watson and Ed Morrow can adjust to division one, but really we are in an age where most power conference teams are relying on a number for freshmen to step in right away.

I’m still not completely confident in the Huskers, I think we are going to have to set the over/under for the Huskers at 13.5.  I badly want the over on that though, but I understand there is some risk involved.


Creighton

The Bluejays finished 14-19 last season, and they lost 5 contributors from last year’s team, but it was a seriously awkward year for Creighton.  After losing 4 major contributors from 2013-2014, including Doug McDermott, Creighton was left in a bit of a mess.  They had a few injury issues that did not help them try to carve out a starting lineup, with only one player during the season starting in all of the team’s games.

Greg McDermott gets to play transfers Cole Huff (via Nevada) and Maurice Watson (via Boston University) this season, who were both double digit scorers at their previous schools.  These two should more than help replace some of what the team lost.  If anyone has been paying attention, Creighton has freshmen Khyri Thomas and Martin Krampelj sound ready to make an impact right away.  Both players averaged double digits in scoring on the team’s trip to Italy.

Anyway, it seems completely realistic for the Bluejays to improve on 14 wins this upcoming season, but by how much?  They do have two true road games against Oklahoma and Indiana in their non-conference schedule that will be incredibly difficult, and they also have the Huskers in Omaha which seems like an automatic win for the Bluejays anymore.  They also have a tough Arizona State team at home as well.  Every team in the Big East looks to be improving as well, as most of them were down last season, so with 31 games on the regular season schedule I am thinking of setting the over/under for Creighton at 17.5.  It is tough, but I want to take the under on this.


Omaha

A depressing 12 wins last season, I think we had the over/under last season at 16.5 and we both selected the over.  I opened up to you, and you judged me.  There were a number of injuries for the Mavericks, and some games that were lost in the final couple minutes, and the team is returning a lot so one could think the Mavericks will improve upon the 12 wins.  However, the Mavs have what appears to be a more difficult non-conference schedule this upcoming season.

Does this Omaha team remind anyone else of the 2004-2005 Phoenix Suns roster?  White-Amar’e, Thurman-Marion, Hollins-Johnson, Tyus-Richardson, Patterson-Nash?  I say that only ever watching one game of Hollins ever, and that was Omaha Central’s championship game his senior season.  I was only really watching the game to see how Nick Billingsley would do.  Oh, how the world works.

Anyway, if the roster is like the Suns, one could assume that the Mavericks will have a pretty good season in the conference, but likely lose to a North Dakota State or South Dakota State in the semi finals.  They will also more than likely lose in a way that will make you debate the pros and cons of getting in a fight with a referee.  I want to set the over/under at 15.5 for Omaha, and I want that over.


So I am welcome to any thoughts and suggestions if those are appropriate figures.


Also, something completely trivial that I typically send this friend at the start of the college basketball season is a Pre Season All State of Nebraska Division 1 Team.  This is what I set for the team, but I do not feel all that confident about it.  It’s not like this really makes a difference anyway.  Unless a Creighton die hard finds this, then they will bitch about it.  Take that photo of the state of Nebraska being a Husker basketball state downtown and you will for sure find yourself into a condescending man that will lecture you on Creighton versus Nebraska.

1st Team

F Cole Huff, Creighton

F  Shavon Shields, Nebraska

G Isaiah Zierden, Creighton

G Devin Patterson, Omaha

G Maurice Watson, Creighton

2nd Team

F Toby Hegner, Creighton

F Tre’Shawn Thurman, Omaha

F Andrew White, Nebraska

G Marcus Tyus, Omaha

G James Milliken, Creighton

3rd Team

C Geoffrey Groselle, Creighton

F Jake White, Omaha

F Ed Morrow, Nebraska

G Khryi Thomas, Creighton

G Benny Parker, Nebraska