A Senior Day Double-Header, oh my

Saturday, the Mavericks will have two separate senior days for men’s and women’s basketball.  Both games we get to say goodbye to some truly great players.  Whether it is on or off the court, these six seniors are going to go on to do tremendous things.

Kyler Erickson

Not going to get too much into Erickson as we went through this last season.

Before being sidelined with an injury, he was expected to see a loss in playing time due to the returns of JT Gibson and Marcus Tyus, and the addition of Daniel Norl.  The Mavericks really could have used Erickson’s energy in a few games where they seemed completely flat, as well as his scrappy defense.  Mavs also missed his ability to take changes and get up and turn that momentum into nuclear energy.

Tra-Deon Hollins

Possibly, the most all-around basketball player that the Mavericks have ever had.  His court awareness on defense and his ability to steal the ball in passing lanes, and on double teams changed the way offenses played against Omaha.  It only took Hollins a year and a half to break the school record for career steals.  He ranks in the top-10 in all time career assists and has the most career assists since the transition.

Hollins’ game against South Dakota State in Baxter Arena his junior year will go down as one of the greatest single game performances in Maverick history.  The Jackrabbits were the top team in the Summit League at the time, and Hollins scored 28 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, dished 8 assists, recorded 4 steals, and had a huge block in the final seconds to help secure a 96-92 Maverick win.

He led the NCAA in steals in his junior year, and is currently 3nd in the NCAA in steals per game his senior year.  His 93 steals on the season is tied for the most total on the year so far.  Hollins is also currently tied in 3rd in Division 1 in assists per game, and is tied in 4th in total assists.

Hollins has potential to play basketball in Europe or the NBDL, but it is unclear if either of those possibilities truly interest him.  Either way, Hollins is going to find himself in a fantastic situation and be very successful.

Marcus Tyus

One of the most efficient and explosive players the Mavericks have ever had.  When you first see Tyus, it is probably easy to think he is just a one dimensional player that hangs out behind the 3 point line and waits for guys to pass to him.  He is far more than that.  Tyus is great at finding space and blowing by his defender to get to the basket for points in the paint, and he has a deadly mid-range game as well.

All the time in athletics, we see players get injured and end up seeing the unexpected teammate come in and fill the shoes to be a catalyst for the team’s confidence in that time of need.  Tyus’ coming out party, may have been in his sophomore season when senior Justin Simmons sat down with an injury just one minute into the game against South Carolina State.  Tyus was only averaging 7 points per game on the season at that point, but he came in when the Mavericks needed him most and scored 24 points off the bench on 8-of-13 shooting.

There is no doubt that the Mavericks missed Tyus in 2015-2016.  Without his shooting, the Mavericks were one of the worst three point shooting teams in the Summit League last year, but are 1st in three point field goal percentage in conference play in 2016-2017.  The Mavericks struggled to score the ball at times with him on the bench as a senior.  There was no player more important to their offense in 2016-2017…maybe his back court senior teammate Hollins.  They probably tie actually.

Over time, Tyus has improved as a defender, and part of that came with having a bigger players on the court so he wasn’t always forced to defend guys that were 4+ inches taller than him.

He’s proven to be one of the best scoring guards in the history of the Mavericks.  With at least 2 games to go in his senior season, Tyus is 2 three point field goals away from tying the 5th most threes in a season by a Maverick, this is the most threes made by a Maverick in a season since transition.  He’s also 38 points away from being in the top 10 all time for Mavericks in scoring.


Michaela Dapprich

Your first thoughts when you heard Michaela Dapprich was transferring to UNO from Wichita State were most likely positive.  Probably the same excitement you get every time Christopher Nolan released a trailer for a new Batman film.

A Missouri Valley Conference Honorable Mention Player wants to come play basketball at UNO?  Sweet.

It was like over night there was hope that Mikaela Shaw and Remy Davenport would have a consistent third threat on offense.  In 2013-2014, the Mavericks had Paige Frauendorfer, Jamie Nash, and Carolyn Blair-Mobley as a dangerous Big 3.  Now, Maverick fans had a feeling that we could have that same type of threat in 2016-2017.

It seemed to take Dapprich a bit to find her stride with the Mavericks.  She struggled as the Mavericks struggled with their difficult non-conference schedule, but came around to find consistency on offense when the team got to conference play, in a competitive year for the Summit League.

In conference play, Dapprich is currently 6th in points per game, 5th in 3 point field goals made and 3 point field goal percentage, and 5th in overall field goal percentage.

You would never expect her teammate Mikaela Shaw to take a possession off, but you could feel comfortable as a Maverick fan that if Shaw was struggling, that Dapprich could take over.  Dapprich is also not afraid of the big shot and looks to score in clutch moments when the Mavericks need the ball the most.

The only thing you regret about Michaela Dapprich joining the Mavericks is that it makes you really wish we had more time with her.

Abi Lujan

Lujan is one of those special players that does not need stats to make a difference in a basketball game.  Her will and hustle is enough to swing possessions in the Mavericks favor.  When the Mavericks needed a spark off the bench in her senior season, Lujan was not shy to provide such a spark.  She was one of the best Mavericks in her junior and senior years with the team at boxing out and taking away rebounds when needed.

Mikaela Shaw

Plain and simple, the Mavericks will never have a player like Shaw ever again.  As a true all around talent, she will leave a legacy at UNO as arguably the greatest women’s basketball the university has ever seen.

Shaw came to Omaha during a difficult time for the Mavericks.  They were already in transition and moving through a coaching change in her freshman season with an entirely new roster.  She has seen a revolving door of teammates on her rosters and she remained with the program.

Her freshman season was filled with moments that had you thinking she was going to be an all time great.

A rare talent on offense, Shaw has probably spent some time at every single position for the Mavericks.  She’s one of the best players you’ve probably ever seen at picking her spots and playing with or without the ball.  Watching her on offense is similar to watching Batman in The Dark Knight secretly tying up all of the SWAT team members so he can push them over the ledge to go get a one-on-one with the Joker.  She systematically runs through every member of the defense to find her spots for open shots.

Shaw will leave UNO as the greatest.


A nerdy thing I like to do is keep track of the career and class rankings for the era after transitioning.  Though a young history, here are where these seniors rank respectively.

Points

2nd Marcus Tyus                1272

7th Tra-Deon Hollins       753

20th Kyler Erickson           198

Rebounds

7th Marcus Tyus                  313

9th Tra-Deon Hollins        283

20th Kyler Erickson              97

Assists

1st Tra-Deon Hollins         385

6th Marcus Tyus                  158

14th Kyler Erickson              43

Steals

1st Tra-Deon Hollins         220

4th Marcus Tyus                  117

18th Kyler Erickson             24

Blocks

9th Tra-Deon Hollins          20

15th Marcus Tyus                   12

21st Kyler Erickson                 5

3 Point Field Goals

1st Marcus Tyus                     161

8th Tra-Deon Hollins            54

15th Kyler Erickson                27

 


Points

1st Mikaela Shaw                   1731

7th Michaela Dapprich          376

22nd Abi Lujan                         182

Rebounds

1st Mikaela Shaw                    880

4th Abi Lujan                           290

17th Michaela Dapprich        119

Assists

2nd Mikaela Shaw                   303

10th Abi Lujan                            59

13th Michaela Dapprich          49

Steals

2nd Mikaela Shaw                   136

9th Abi Lujan                              42

12th Michaela Dapprich          37

Blocks

4th Mikaela Shaw                      49

9th Abi Lujan                               14

12th Michaela Dapprich           11

3 Point Field Goals

7th Michaela Dapprich             49

9th Mikaela Shaw                       42

17th Abi Lujan                              19

 

The laziest of Summit League semi final previews

I’m just, eh, I just want to, ugh… Okay, I am bitter right now.  I guess the Summit League tournament will still go on?


IPFW and North Dakota State

The last time IPFW and North Dakota State met, the Bison held the ‘Dons to a season low 46 points and 28% from the field.  The Bison were also without their leading scorer, Paul Miller.

The Mastodons may have the advantage of an extra day of rest, but the Bison are not a great match up for IPFW.  For the best IPFW offensive players, North Dakota State has a great defender to counter that player.  Joe Reed will be defended by Chris Kading or Dexter Werner for a bulk of the time, both players come off the bench, so Reed may need to take advantage of his time with them on the bench.  John Konchar will have to deal with AJ Jacobson and also Dexter Werner at any given moment.  Konchar did not play that great offensively against the Bison in their two meetings.  In Fargo, he shot 1-of-5 from the floor and in Fort Wayne he shot 2-of-6 from the floor but he had 19 freaking rebounds.  Max Landis will also be guarded by Kory Brown, who is one of the better wing defenders in the Summit League.  Landis shot 2-0f-10 in the loss in Fargo and 5-of-15 from the floor in the ‘Dons win in Fort Wayne.

The ‘Dons do have the extra day of rest, but the Bison have a slightly deeper team to throw at IPFW.  Seriously, only 6 players on IPFW actually get any real minutes.  The Bison also played one of the slowest games in the last decade last night against IUPUI.  A game so ugly it can only be described as the any given parody Andy Dick character of basketball games.  The Bison defense held the Jaguars to shoot under 30% from the field last night.  They also held South Dakota State under 30% from the floor earlier in the year.  So I guess that probably means they have a good defense or something.  Numbers are hard.  Once the blog gets Rylan Murry to be the Blog Math Guy, that’s when this can really get rolling.

Anyway, this game should be a great watch and should really go down to the wire.  If it does get down to the wire, North Dakota State is not a good free throw shooting team.  They shoot 68% from the free throw line, which is last in the Summit League.


 

South Dakota State and Denver

South Dakota State playing Denver is actually pretty scary.  Scott Nagy has called out his team a few times this season for not showing any toughness, and the only player on the entire team that showed any toughness Saturday night against Oral Roberts was Mike Daum.  The three senior leaders of the Jackrabbits combined for 5-of-20 from the floor against Oral Roberts and each had difficulty guarding freshmen guards of Oral Roberts.

The Jackrabbits have to go from a fast paced team to a team like Denver…and while South Dakota State swept Denver this season, they struggled in each game against the Pioneers this season.  Deondre Parks and George Marshall both struggled in each game against Denver, and the Pioneers had the game close in down the stretch in each meeting.  They both struggled Saturday against Oral Roberts, and they can really win this tournament with both players cold.

“The other guys” for South Dakota State need to step up for the Jackrabbits to avoid an upset against the Piooners.  Denver doesn’t have the length to guard Mike Daum from…anywhere, nor any length to bother Ian Theisen in the post.  South Dakota State has the defense to disrupt the Princeton offense, but if Denver is still on fire after their game against Omaha, the Pioneers are an extremely tough out for anyone.  Denver has also shot 50% or better in their last 3 games…one of those games was against the tough defense of before mentioned North Dakota State.

Denver’s freshmen have gotten better and better as the season has gone on, and they have really exceeded expectations as a team.  This is actually exactly what Joe Scott said would happen with this team.  The Pioneers also played in a weekend classic to open up the season playing 3 games in 3 days, where they beat Santa Clara and Lipscomb on days 2 and 3; so they are capable to continue playing their game day-after-day.

With an RPI hovering around 200, and probably little chance at a post season tourney, there is almost no pressure on the Pioneers.  If they win, they get to keep going, and yay.  If they lose, they had a season much better than expected and have a lot to build on for next season.  The Jackrabbits have a lot of pressure to win this game.  It is basically a home game, they need to prove their toughness to their coach, and they are losing a lot off their team heading into next season.  The expectation for this team was to win the Summit League regular season, and the conference tournament, anything less than that is a failure for them this season.


Just something quick on the Omaha women against South Dakota State

It’s obviously going to be tough for the Omaha women playing against South Dakota State in the semi final.  The Mavericks played them tough and impressed some people with their play against the Jackrabbits the first time the two teams met.

Talk about a team that exceeded expectations.  Some people just started looking ahead to 2016-2017 after the Mavericks lost an exhibition game at home, but now in March they have a winning record and are playing in the conference semi final after upsetting the 3 seed in the tournament.

They never backed down against IUPUI in what was a close game almost the entire time.  There was a moment when Mikaela Shaw hit a three to put the Mavericks at 57 points and ahead by 9 points, which was finally the defining moment to put the Mavericks ahead for sure, and the smile on Shaw’s face really was an accumulation of all the moments of where this team envisioned themselves to finally be after the entire transition period. With a win in the damn post season.

This team could seriously be in the top 3 in the conference next season.  I ignorantly say this as I am not sure what other teams have coming in; but they only graduate one player and have a former Missouri Valley Conference Honorable Mention player to add, along with some other fine pieces.  The team they are playing today, only graduates two players and returns 4 players that score in double figures…so this game this afternoon could be a trailer for what could become the conference championship next season.

 

The Bluejays are coming to Mavtown to face an improving Mav team

Scheduling is incredibly difficult in college basketball, and that I guess is why the Creighton Bluejays (4-6) will be playing at the Omaha Mavericks (7-3) on Sunday in women’s basketball.  I will not be able to watch, listen, or attend this game because of a Christmas party.  I will be able to attend the UNO-Arizona State hockey game before, so I would like to point out that I will have attended more Arizona State athletic events this year than Creighton events.

Now, I assume most local casual basketball fans pay attention to women’s college basketball as much as people who love cop movies pay attention to the 2nd to 7th Police Academy films…so allow me to set a little dinner tray for you here…I say a dinner tray because there wont be much talk about Creighton (as a team).

This is probably from one of the Police Academy films. Who the heck knows.
This is probably from one of the Police Academy films. Who the heck knows.

Creighton fans, and by Creighton fans I mean the people who pretend to love the entire athletic program of Creighton University, even though they only attend fun sounding men’s basketball games and have season baseball tickets just so they can get College World Series tickets easier, will probably just assume that Creighton won this game the second it was scheduled.  They may pick up the Omaha World Herald preview of this game and see that Omaha only has one player that scores in double figures and say “oh the Jays are going to run that tiny might as well be D2 school out of the gym.  All they have to do is stop that one player, and it is over.  The Jays will also stop that player because I said so.”

I would like to think that the Jays have a couple coaches and administrators that will be using up their promotional dollars from Uber to travel to Baxter Arena so the whole team can carpool a few rides up Dodge Street for free.  The Jays come into the Baxter on a 4 game losing streak, but 3 of those 4 games were on the road and the home game was to some low major team from the state of South Dakota… This streak has also been without the returning Big East Player of the Year, Marissa Janning, who has been out with an injury.  This game will not be as easy for Creighton to win as Jays people* think.

*I decided to categorize Omahans that pretend to enjoy Creighton athletics as Creighton/Jays people instead of fans.

The crowd could get pretty big for this game.  The game is after a hockey game, so I assume there will be some hockey fans that will go hang out at Dudley’s and get in a really good mood before coming back to the Baxter to watch some basketball.  Dudley’s has a Bloody Mary bar on Sundays, right?   Some department of something at UNO sent out some free tickets for some alumni for filling out some survey to this game.  I really just wanted to say “some” a lot there, and I have no explanation as to why.  There will be Creighton people that will attend, as long as they can get through what they perceive as the harsh ghettos of Omaha to find the Baxter Arena.  An 8 pm start time on a Sunday is as odd as a collegiate hockey game on a Sunday, but several people should be done with work for the year so it might as well be a Saturday to most people.  There should be some movie goers that will be in the middle of a Star Wars hangover that may need to go straight from Aksarben Cinema to the Baxter to cure that hangover.  The Creighton-UNO women’s basketball game can be their personal pizza and Dr. Pepper.  String along a few people that still don’t understand you can buy tickets online and will get to the cinema and realize the earliest showing that is not sold out is 4 hours away…ah what the hell is going on at that arena over there?  Women’s college basketball games appear to be only taking about an hour and a half to finish now, so it is not like it is that late anyway.

I am sure there will be that Creighton group that thinks they cannot attend this game because they cannot help that UNO program build and do not want to help them pad their attendance.  Sad/Fun note:  The Mav women’s basketball team averaged the lowest attendance in all of division one last season with an average of 190 per game and a total of 2,850 on the season.  This season through 5 games, the Mav women are averaging about 615 people per game and already have a total attendance of 3,079.  That’s fine Jays people, don’t come if you don’t want to…don’t support your athletic program “on the road” when you can.  Don’t worry about padded attendance stats, you’re not the same people that bragged up one of the biggest home attendances in college volleyball after Nebraska made the CenturyLink Center their second home.

Even though the Mavs are coming off of an over time loss in a game that they led by 24 points, the Mavs are no joke.  The 3rd quarter is a little scary for them as it is the only quarter that they are being outscored by their opponents for some reason.

Again, one might look at this team and see they only have one player that is a double digit scorer and think they are just a one player team.  That is not true, but by the way, that one player is amazing.  With seven playable newcomers, I really did not have high expectations before the beginning of the year.  I thought this season was going to be like a television show in its first season that had some good characters, but was still trying to figure itself out and set up plot lines for the next season.  Mikaela Shaw was going to be the main character with everyone else getting a little screen time to develop their stories for future seasons, and they were going to set everything up for the introduction of the new character named Dapprich that will get plenty of screen time in the second season.  I just thought, if they could get through this season with a minimal amount of departures, then the next season would be something you cannot wait to binge watch on Netflix a few times.  With 7 wins already, the Mavs appear to be ahead of schedule. There is still some figuring out, but you can tell the team grows more and more every game.  That probably sounds really general, but watch the freshman on the team from game to game.  You can actually see Hogue, Vidal, and Brecht piece everything together game after game.

I thought with all the new faces and youth that Brittany Lange may have challenges again this season trying to set a lineup again.  Due to injuries and with trying to figure out what worked best last season, the Mavericks had already used 4 different starting lineups through 10 games last season.  This season, they have only used 2 different starting lineups, and that was just to start Marissa Preston over Amber Vidal.

You could tell Lange and staff were really excited about this recruiting class, and you should be able to see why.  The Mavs have a complete ensemble of characters that each bring something to the table.  First off, there is Shaw who you have just come to expect will come out with a 45 point, 18 rebound, 7 assist game at some point.  Not only does Shaw currently lead the Summit in points per game, but she is tied for 5th in the league with her own teammate, Vidal, in assists per game.  Shaw can pass out of double teams to Remy Davenport and Ellie Brecht who can each hit threes and mid range jumpers, or to Vanessa Barajas who appears more comfortable on offense and cutting to the basket for easy buckets, or to Caroline Hogue to pull off a post move down low…the Mavs appear to have more options offensively this season.

Teams cannot just go into the lane on the Mavericks either.  Barajas and Hogue are the number one and number two shot blockers in the Summit League.  I hope this develops to a rivalry between the two, trying to outdo each other for more blocks…similar to Antonio Banderas being obsessed with being “number one” in Assassins**.  The two of them combine for 4.4 blocks per game so far and the next closest team in the Summit averages 3.8 blocks per game.  Sara Echelberry is also starting to get a little time at the center spot and has 4 blocks in 8 games so far.  The Mavs get to add a transfer from Texas Tech to the center spot next season…and Westside graduate Jay Bridgeman…how crazy is that post player depth going to be?

**If you are unaware of what Assassins is…it is the 7 hitter hitter in the lineup of 90s Stallone movies that were all completely average in their respectful slot in the lineup…Rocky 5, Oscar, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Demolition Man, Cliffhanger, The Specialist, Judge Dredd, Assassins, Day Light, Cop Land…  This is the San Diego Padres of movie lineups.  I believe these are all films that college students watch when they are in the mood for a bad movie and to laugh that someone made these movies with the intent of making a serious movie.  I sadly have a Because You Watched Assassins list.

How crazy is the depth going to be next season if they can keep the group together?  I’ve come to just accept that at least one player will transfer or get just a job in the off season and leave team with every college basketball team every single year.  Figuring out minutes may actually be more of a challenge next season, as the team will be adding a serious scoring threat in Michaela Dapprich to play along side this cast of characters.

 

Omaha played Mizzou last night, and I still hate Mizzou

Man, I freaking hate the University of Missouri athletics.  It is the Nebraska football fan in me, dang it I hate the booger eater Chase Daniel.  They are the one athletic program, that if they have a game on television, I will tune in just at the prospect of watching them lose a game.  One of my wife’s best friends and high school teammate played softball at Alabama and I jokingly give her crap about Alabama, but we gain a bond that cannot be explained whenever Bama plays Mizzou in softball.  Actually, it can be explained, I just love watching Mizzou lose things, and she likes the 2 days a year that I kind of pretend to like Alabama.

Combine my Nebraska fan hood with my roots of my family being planted all around the state of Iowa.  I have learned over the years that Iowans hate all states that border them.  Actually, I have never gotten into a conversation with an Iowan about people from the state of Illinois, but I just assume they hate them too.  Myself, I do really like Kansas City.  I am a Royals fan, I enjoy the downtown area, I liked the Power and Light district maybe a little too much in my early twenties; but even Kansas City has to claim some of the state of Kansas to balance itself out.

I have a theory that places can not have great quality Mexican restaurants and have great Italian restaurants at the same time, it is typically one or the other.  My friends in New York City miss Mexican food and my friends in Texas completely miss Italian food.  Missouri though, I assume has both equally terrible Mexican and Italian restaurants.  BBQ is so great they seem to think they need to combine it with everything.  Oh, instead of marinara sauce, we put in some honey barbecue sauce into the angel hair pasta…trust us, it’s good.  Instead of using a Tex Mex mix for our taco meat we used some pulled pork for these tacos…actually that doesn’t sound that bad.  Our sweet and sour chicken comes with barbecue sauce instead of sweet and sour sauce…so you mean it is chicken nuggets with barbecue sauce?  No, get out of here you crazy liberal hippy.

Wait, where the hell am I here? I was feeling good about the Mavs going into this game.  Tre’Shawn Thurman and Tra-Deon Hollins were both on a roll, and obviously Devin Patterson was as well.  I cooled the pint glasses in the freezer for the Nebraska Brewing Company beers.  I made my wife some guacamole…my wife just spent the last 3 months writing a grant that may have taken 5 years off of her life and now she has to grade 60 or so 5 page papers…so you’re welcome UNO students for putting her in a good mood before grading your papers that I assume most of you procrastinated until the night before.  Oh, I also learned that my wife has trained me like a puppy.  Every time I get up to pour myself a drink; whether it is a beer; water; or a mixed drink; my wife will ask me to pour her a drink the second I sit down.  Then I have to get back up and pour her a drink, but now I have reached a conditioned point to where I will ask her if she wants a drink before I sit down.  Any woman that uses this trick…well played.

Missouri was a young team…it just seemed like this was going to be the Mavs’ night, but by the end of the game I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest and being set on fire.  Maybe the Mavs would have won this game if Montana State on Sunday was a home game, and they did not have as much traveling under their belts.  Not that I am bitter or anything.  They won…seemed like part of the plan was to force Tre’Shawn Thurman out of the game and to force the Mavs to take jump shots, and they did a good job of that in the first half.

This is probably the Tigers' new alternate logo.
This is probably the Tigers’ new alternate logo.

The SEC commentators called the Mavs a great defensive team, which is great because this is the first time I have heard anyone say the Mavericks are a good defensive team since the transition.  They said some really nice things about Derrin Hansen and the Omaha basketball program, which I feel indifferent about because I hate the SEC.  This was also the most time I ever spent watching the SEC Network.  At the beginning of the game they called UNO “the Mavericks of Omaha” and my wife made fun of them like they were trying too hard to make the game seem like some old western film.  She really wanted me to add this in here…she’s cute.  The other night she suggested that the NBA give goody baskets of treats to the first team to beat the Golden State Warriors.  I am still pretty proud of that comment.

Tra-Deon Hollins is at a point to where when I watch I am just expecting a near triple-double, like, I know the night is coming that he gets a triple-double.  Just like whenever I watch the UNO women’s team, I know a 45 point, 17 rebound, 7 assist performance could be coming from Mikaela Shaw.  It is coming and I cannot miss it.  Hollins did not have his best game, he missed a few close lay ups, but so did everyone else in the game, and he only had 3 steals.  Yep, just said a guy “only had 3 steals.”

The first half of this game was odd.  The Mavericks looked like they had problems getting the ball inside and there was no real flow to the Mavs offense.  The Mavs did not get to the free throw line for the first 15 1/2 minutes of the game.  The only points in the paint in the first half I completely recall were from Kyler Erickson, Tra-Deon Hollins, and Daniel Meyer.  Erickson played great in the first half.  Lots of energy, and he kept beating his man off the dribble and keeping his player in front of him on defense.  By the way, Nebraska and Creighton played each other…Omaha played Mizzou…and it’s like no one cares that UNK is 4-3 right now.

Jake White was playing great in the second half, he scored 12 straight points for the Mavericks and the really classy Mizzou fans were chanting “Jake White Trash.”  Way to go Mizzou fans, way to step out of your comfort zone there.  Jake White appears to play better when he is pissed…when the reason for him being pissed is not foul trouble.  Can we get Ben Kozitske and Marcus Tyus to talk smack to White in timeouts?  Just say terrible things about him and his family and cuss him out…then watch Jake White go off for 40 points, all while he is glaring at Kozitske and Tyus.  Jake White could really be the best big man in the Summit League right now…go ahead look around and argue who else is better.

Serious question, how long does it take to recover from elbow tendinitis…and did I spell tendinitis correctly?  The team needs JT Gibson back for another 3 point shooter on the court.  The Mavs were 5-22 from three last night.  I know it is ridiculous to talk stats in December as there are so many outliers, but the Mavs are 307th in the country in three point field goal percentage.  The best three point shooter on the team is Jake White, and it probably wouldn’t be the best to just stick him on the outside as he’s incredibly efficient in the post.  The Mavs’ three point shooting is there pair of 8s against three clubs showing after the river.  I have a gambling program, and I have talked about beer in this post…it’s amazing I lasted as long as I did in the state of Utah.

The Mavs do have a counter to the bad three point shooting.  The free throws.  In the year of the free throw, the Mavs have become a much better free throw shooting team.  Again, really dumb to talk stats in the first half of December…The Mavs are currently 32nd in the country in the free throw percentage, and of the teams in front of them, the only two teams that attempt more per game are Xavier and Tennessee Tech…that’s my way of saying the Mavs attempt a lot of free throws and make a high percentage of them.

They were not joking when they said the non-conference schedule was tough.  Not just the competition, but the traveling the Mavs have had so far.  To Colorado, come back to Omaha, then back to Colorado, then to Minnesota, then back to Omaha, then to Montana, then back to Omaha, then to Missouri, then back to Omaha, then to Arizona…it goes on.  Derrin Hansen said he really liked this team going into conference play if they are healthy.  He said that before they really put the redshirt on Tyus, and before Gibson’s tendinitis…and there are still a few more weeks to go.  Hopefully Gibson can come back in time for Western Illinois and IUPUI for some more depth.

Notes: Mavs rebounded really well against the Roos

It was one of the most stressful games I have seen in a while, but the Mavericks got the win, so I cannot complain.  There were some teaching moments, and there was also some great aggressive plays from the Mavericks.  I was kind of upset in the first game that the score board did not tell you how many points and fouls the players had.  I am super glad this got fixed.  The battery on my phone was getting pissed at me for having to look it up every couple minutes.

Basketball was fun last night.
The worst picture ever, but basketball was fun last night.
  • The Shock Top stand is not open on weeknight games I guess.  I just wanted Twisted Pretzel.
  • Kareem Richardson just always looks like he is ready to leave as quickly as possible.  He’s done a great job at UMKC though.  I doubt he is in Kansas City too much longer.
  • The first time I saw Shayok Shayok, he is was 6’6″, and now he is listed at 6’9″.  Why can’t I grow like that?
  • My favorite thing about the MavX ap is that it tells you the menus of all the concession stands in the Baxter Arena.  My wife is an extremely healthy eater, so usually when we go to sporting events we spend a half hour walking around the entire arena finding her something healthy to eat.  The ap cuts down on this time, and that has pretty much made my year.
  • Tra-Deon Hollins court awareness is just unreal.  I feel like he is in training to be The Flash.  In the Flash, they just shoot arrows and other objects at him to see if he can catch everything.  Hollins has a way of making it appear as if the opposing team is just throwing the ball at him to see if he can catch it.
  • Jake White appeared that he had something to prove against UMKC.   Not that it ever looks like he’s ready to put on an open mic stand up comedy routine, but he looked like he knew he had a task to stay out on the court and to not let UMKC get any offensive boards.  He was fighting out there.  The Mavs let up a few key offensive boards, but it is going to happen no matter what you do sometimes.  The Mavs only gave up 9 offensive rebounds this game, and Jake White had a big role in keeping the ‘Roos off the glass.
  • LaVell Boyd and Martez Harrison might one of the three best back courts the Mavs play this year.
  • Another guy who looks as serious as the Terminator trying to hunt down Sarah Connor is Tim Smallwood.  He’s the Timinator.  He’s constantly ready put up a three, and he chases after his misses, and he’s hustled his ass off the last two games after not getting much time against Santa Barbara.  That is exactly what you want out of a senior guard.  His near coast to coast drive was something we did not see much out of him last season.
  • I know that UMKC made quite a bit a threes in the game, the Kangaroos did find some wide open looks from the perimeter, but the Mavs did contest a lot of those shots.  Just being that the Mavs are forcing so many threes, you can tell that teams are maybe a bit nervous about having to get through Devin Patterson and Tra-Deon Hollins…The Devil’s Gate.  The ‘Roos had some threes from big guys, there are not many bigs in The Summit that can hit multiple threes a game.
  • I felt like I was watching the pre-LeBron James Miami Heat play the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals in the second half.  The Heat that year just put the ball in Dwayne Wade’s hands and kept having him drive to the basket because of the all the fouls.  Why do I feel like this?  The ‘Roos had 37 fouls in the game.  The Mavericks were 36-48 from the free throw line.  When the Mavs came down the court down 83-80, I was thinking it would almost be dumb to shoot a three.  It seemed like the Mavericks were stuck at 5 of 18 on threes for the past 15 minutes, and I was looking at the fouls and just saying that: I would bet money here that UMKC will make a dumb foul here.
  • We need to keep getting more excited for Zach Jackson.  Out of the three freshmen on this year’s team, he had the least known about him coming into the year.  He makes a few odd decisions, but for the most part he plays great, and what college freshman doesn’t make a couple questionable decision in his first three college basketball games.  There are seniors out there making poor decisions on the court.  Near the end of the game, there was an overthrown pass to him that went out of bounce and some guy near me was pissed that he didn’t try and save the ball.  Really, had he thrown the ball back it could have gone to an opposing player and UMKC would have been off to the races at the end of the game and anything could have happened.  Jackson is a high IQ player, the Mavs need that for a guy that is filling in.  I made this point earlier, the Mavs are asking less out of their newcomers compared to other Summit League teams.  Others are asking newcomers to be stars right away, the Mavs are asking the newcomers to be role players…this has to be something that will pay off.
  • Growing increasingly nervous about this team’s three point shooting as we head to The Summit League, but the Mavericks advantage is going to be Patterson and Hollins breaking down the defense and getting into the lane.  The Summit does not have a bunch of post players, White and Thurman could be 2 of the top 5 post players in the Summit League.
  • This game needed a little cowbell toward the end of the game.
  • Tre’Shawn Thurman literally wiped the floor tonight.  He was playing like he was in a video game, and his player rating kept rising because of his great play.  He’s added some moves, he was feeling it, and was incredibly focused.  He just looked more relaxed at the free throw line tonight, which I thought showed with 7 of 9 from the line.  Thurman has the highest ceiling of any Maverick that we have seen in a while.  When people walk into the Baxter Arena, they immediately take notice of the muscle he put on.
  • Kelley Wollak did a great job as the MC in timeouts.  I feel bad with her being on crutches out there though.  I was a little bummed that Mikaela Shaw could not be in Omaha and Grand Forks at the same time.  It feels like it could have been a Bill Brasky level of story that Mav fans could have screamed at a bar in the future.  ONE TIME MIKAELA SHAW RAN FROM GRAND FORKS TO OMAHA SO SHE COULD GIVE OUT A FREE OIL CHANGE AND THEN SHE RAN BACK TO GRAND FORKS TO DROP 19 ON NORTH DAKOTA….TO MIKAELA SHAW!!!!
  • Every win is needed, but this was a much needed win for the Mavericks.  UMKC is an improved team, and going on a three game road swing after going 1-2 would have been…I think my brain just tried to escape my head.
  • Who else sat there entire time asking: Why is UMKC in the WAC?

Elsewhere in The Summit

Western Illinois beat Illinois-Chicago 84-57.  Jabari Sandifer had 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists.  JC Fuller had 19 points and 9 rebounds.  Garret Covington had 17 points and 3 rebounds.  The Leathernecks are making us all look like idiots.

 

Notes of me watching the UNO Women’s game online

I was not able to go to the Women’s basketball game today.  I don’t have to explain myself to you!  I watched this game instead of going to watch the Husker football game, so lay off.   I got the Mav tv on the Omavs website, and I decided to take some notes during the game.

  • In the pregame, Brittany Lange stated that a bulk of her post players are sitting out this year, so finding a rotation at the 5 could be difficult.  Caroline Hogue missed a month of practice, and if finally starting to get into things.  Sara Echelberry is a good choice at the 5 with her height, but she has more of the skills of playing the 3 or the 4.
  • As someone that is the same age as Lange, she totally passes the Someone I Could Get a Beer With test that people apparently base their voting decisions on.  If Lange (and Hansen) wanted to just grab a beer at Benson Brewery and hang out, I would so be there.  Mainly because I have a billion questions of Lange.
  • I thought you could get away games on this Mav tv deal.  This is a bummer.
  • My wife is watching Gossip Girl in the other room.  I’ve watched a total of 10 minutes of that entire show.  I feel like I could make a 8 minute montage of Blake Lively sobbing horribly based on the snippets that I have watched.
  • A double dribble was called?  Is that a new rule?
  • It looks like the West side of the court is still cursed.  Every shot is a brick.  Brick Yard Brewing needs to have a stand in Baxter Arena.
  • The right plug in my headphones does not work.  I’ve gone through 3 pairs of headphones this year.  Don’t ever let me buy you headphones.
  • We’re hitting some threes!
  • Amber Vidal and Bobbi Beckwith are really active at the top of the zone.  Central Florida is having a bit of an issue getting the ball past the two of them.
  • As I say that, a UCF player makes a cut right by the two of them and gets a two point basket.
  • So many Remy Davenport threes.
  • I am a big Vidal fan.  This could be a really odd comparison, but her handle of the ball and movement to the basket reminds me a lot of NBA’s Rod Strickland.  Super weird, right?
  • Remy Davenport looks more serious and more confident than last year.  She looks ready.
  • Look at how much deeper this team is.  They only graduate one player, someone might transfer out, but hopefully not half of the team… If they can keep a bulk of this team together and add the three players sitting out this year, they are can be a very tough out for teams next year.  Dare I say, a top 3 team in the Summit?  I’m seriously just throwing out a number, because I do not know much about the other teams in the Summit other than South Dakota State.
  • The Mavericks’ plays along the top of the key with the passes are really good.  Vidal and Beckwith are finding Davenport and Brecht open with ease.
  • Jonathan Green just asked if this would be the last media time out, and he got a hard NO from a woman’s voice.
  • UCF is making it a close game here in the final four minutes.  Please don’t make me break my computer on the second day of me owning it.
  • Rylan Murry liked one of my tweets.  I am pretty upset with him on his plug of Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries.
  • You can sense the nervousness in Jon Green’s voice that he is seriously terrified that he may have cursed the sealing the win.
  • Why can the men not bring the ball up to half court like the women?  I’m seriously going to break this thing and it’s stupid super sensitive mouse touchiness.
  • I like Caroline Hogue.  I liked her the second I saw the words “record” and “blocks” on the press release of her signing with Omaha.
  • Over the summer, when I was looking at the roster of new players, I was very afraid of how Lange might do rotations and figure out minutes for all the players.  I know it is just one game, but this looks pretty good so far.
  • 10-of-39 threes for the team.  I know it’s not a great percentage, but when was the last time the Lady Mavs hit ten threes?
  • 17-22 from the free throw line, I like that.
  • I think the girl that told Green NO on the final media time out just had a had a conversation with him over the commercial audio that they would go to one more break and where she would put the audio file of the game.  I love mess ups like this in broadcasts.  I just sit at the edge of my seat like: oh my gosh, someone cuss someone else out…please!
  • The three freshman that played on the team combined for 28 of the team’s 75 points.  Those three are going to be handfuls for the Summit over the next few years.
  • A buddy and I, have an over/under bet for women’s basketball.  We had a pretty low number of wins for UNO’s basketball team because of uncertainties that we had, but I selected the over.  I’m liking my chances for a free Growler of beer.
  • The woman told Green to have a great rest of the end of his day.  Hopefully he can get home and watch his precious football (and volleyball).

 

Some observations from the Mavericks’ Midnight Madness

Twice this week I was up past midnight watching sports.  Tuesday night for the World Series, and last night for the Oregon Ducks-Arizona State game.  Today could be rough, but I am still on a Baxter Arena high, so there is that.  Here are some random observations from last night’s Midnight Madness event.

  • Mikaela Shaw informed us that the student section for basketball games will be right behind the visitor’s bench.  I love that, great move.
  • Are the curtains going to be down for most of the sections during basketball games?  Like, I get it.  But what if a visiting team’s fans wants to come in and buy out one of those sections?  We wont turn them down, right?
  • The taco cannon shot a taco right next to me.  I was 2 seats away from a free taco.  I have also realized that I will probably never recognize the person holding and shooting the cannon as a person.  I just see a taco cannon and I do not recognize a person, I just see a taco cannon that is floating around on it’s own shooting out bliss wrapped in tortillas.
  • I saw Rylan Murry walking around and I really wanted to scream “Skinny Love!” into his direction and then run away like I’m a 4th grade girl.
  • The women’s scrimmage was nice.  None of the women had their numbers on the back of their jersey, so every time a new player touched the ball I would have to ask who the heck that was, since there are so many new players.
  • In the Summit League teleconference, Brittany Lange talked about how impressed she was in newcomers Ellie Brecht and Amber Vidal, and they do look very impressive.  Vidal’s point guard skills are fantastic.  Really excited to see her run the team’s offense.  Like, I want to create her as a player in NBA 2k16 and have her run my team.
  • All the women’s team appears to show a lot potential.  The hype in their recruits might be real.  This team could be stacked next year too if they keep everyone together and add in their transfers in 2016-2017.  Incredibly curious how the minutes get divided up though.
  • I am glad that Rodney Rogan is not a professional referee.
  • I was sitting on the side where the men’s team was warming up, so I was watching them warm up instead of the women.
    • The freshman that I have heard the least about, Zach Jackson, looks like he could be a really good player.  I do not think that he missed a shot in warm ups, or even in the team’s scrimmage.  Seriously look up any photo of him though, he might be incapable of smiling.  Looks like he has some pretty good ball handling too, but let’s get a real game under our belts and see whats up.
    • Can we give Zach Pirog the nick name of “The Mile High”?  I watched Zach Pirog take the ball coast to coast and get a dunk, so my life is complete.
    • I was actually really impressed with Ben Kositzke.  I know it is all based on an open scrimmage and warm ups, but he was showing some good stuff:  hitting some jumpers, keeping guys out of the low block, putting on a couple post moves.  Also, I am a Millard South guy, so to be impressed with a Millard West guy should mean something.
    • Speaking of Millard South, Kyler Erickson had a crossover that changed my life.  By the way, when I was in high school I badly wanted to make fake letter jackets that said Millard East.  I would wear it all over town and convince people there was a Millard East High School that was just atrocious and undersized in basketball and football.
    • Daniel Meyer looks like he has bulked up, like he just goes to the rocky mountains and lifts boulders and pushes cars up mountains just for the thrill.  All in blue jeans too.  I also watched him take the ball coast to coast.  Scrimmages, man.
    • Jake White just looks overall healthier, a healthy Jake White could really be a an All Conference player.
    • Marcus Tyus got to play, his knee looks fine.  Boo ya!
    • Tra-Deon Hollins is going to bring great defense, sweet dunks, and another great passer to his team…not a bad thing to have at all.
    • Randy Reed was hitting the three on command in warm ups, and handling the ball in the scrimmage really nice.  Granted, it’s not like Devin Patterson and Hollins were trying to poke the ball away from him constantly, but I can be optimistic about things.  Randy Reed can fly too, he might be a super hero.
  • The shooting competition was pretty fun, but for some reason the basket on the side where the visiting team’s bench is lost every single time.  Jake White couldn’t miss on the other end, but then couldn’t make it on that end.  I am convinced that side is cursed.  The Mavs are going to lose the first half of every game.  By the way, I have been a Celtics fan my whole life.  Even through the Rick Pitino era, so I sometimes scare easily with basketball.
  • The student that shot for free tuition made the lay up and free throw pretty easily, but the three pointer was rough.  Josh White shagged the ball for him for a little bit.  Josh White might be the best passer in Maverick history.  I call for Josh White shagging the ball for every shooting challenge this season.
  • Tre’Shawn Thurman did not have a great dunk competition.  It made me sad.  Tra-Deon Hollins won it (see previous tweets).  By the way, Omaha Central has 4 players from their 2013 state championship team in division one.
Quite possibly the greatest photo ever.
Quite possibly the greatest photo ever.  Photo by Mark Kuhlmann

Two weeks until college basketball.  Two of the longest weeks of the year.  It will be like when you drive from Denver to Omaha and it all goes pretty quickly until you get to Grand Island and time slows down because it hates you.