Some random ideas for teams UNO could schedule in 2017-2018

It’s that time of year that the only sport we have to watch is mid-season MLB.  It’s terrible.  It’s the worst time of year.  This time of year is the opposite of the holidays.  I went outside yesterday.  I don’t hate the MLB, but you can tell that American society cannot handle it when ESPN doesn’t know what to do with itself so they just experiment with drone racing and gluttony contests.

Don’t worry, college sports are around the corner.  The schedule for the Mavericks’ basketball team should be coming out soon, and we know they will be playing at Rice, but who else could get scheduled while the athletic department scrambles to make money and probably forces the basketball team to play 10 non-conference road games.

Creighton

They’re in Omaha.  It’s not that far from UNO.  They only have like 6,000 students or anything, so they probably are not all that good.

Drake

It’s a short drive to Des Moines, and Drake is…well…they have a new coach!

Florida Gulf Coast University

New Omaha Maverick Evan Tricker is from Florida, and a trip close to home and a chance to play in front of friends and family could have been part of the pitch to get him to move to the Midwest.  I cannot think of many reasons as to why someone would want to relocate from Florida to Nebraska.  It’s the fried grilled cheese sandwiches and bread pockets of beef and cheese, isn’t it?

A home-and-home series with Dunk City, you would be into that.

Houston

Maybe, the Mavericks could stop over and play the University of Houston while on their trip to play Rice.  I’ve got a friend that lives in Houston.  Let’s all make the trip.  We can all stay in his one bedroom apartment.  He claims to have moved into the “Yuppie neighborhood.” Let’s fill his 500 square foot apartment like a clown car.

Michigan (the state)

The Mavericks have traveled in the past to the state of Michigan to face Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, and Oakland.  Let’s go after just about anyone else in that state.  Why?  Because the Mavericks have access to buses and a ton of recycling units all around campus.  If you’re thinking we load up a bus with all the cans we can find and attempt the Michigan Bottle Deposit Scam – you’re right.

Nebraska

They’re in the same state as Omaha.  Tim Miles may not be on the hot seat, but there is a candle sitting on the floor under his seat ready to be lit…so I doubt the Huskers are willing to schedule the Mavericks in 2017.

This could actually just be a terrible game if it happened in 2017.  How?  No one knows.

Oregon

Apparently Dana Altman doesn’t like playing his friends, and it never appeared as if Altman and Derrin Hansen hated each other, so maybe he could just see it as helping UNO out by handing them a check for coming to Eugene.  The Ducks also have former UNO coach Kevin McKenna and former UNO player Tony Stubblefield on the coaching staff.

Portland

Perhaps while in Oregon, the Mavericks could fly in or out of Portland and play the Portland Pilots so they can get an autograph from Terry Porter before he loses his job.

Someone in the state of Tennessee

There are a handful of universities in state of Tennessee, and I am sure senior Daniel Norl would love a trip home.  Vanderbilt could hand the Mavericks some money, and while in the Volunteer State the Mavericks could also visit Belmont, Lipscomb, Tennessee State, or even Tennessee.  Austin Peay even has Domas Budrys who played high school basketball in Lincoln after transferring from Lithuania.

Valparaiso

First of all, why is their nickname “Valpo” and not “Valpa” which sounds like a terrible wrap you would buy at some trendy health restaurant?

Second of all, I seriously never knew that they were the Crusaders.  I’ve never once heard anyone say “Valpo Crusaders,” it is always just “Valpo.”

Third of all, the Crus…Valpo got the invite over the Mavericks and a few other candidates to join the Missouri Valley.  Part of the invitation should be facing every team on the possible list for a little drama.

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…

 

 

 

 

 

I have no business listing off potential softball coaching candidates

I think the retirement of Jeanne Scarpello shocked a lot of Maverick faithful last week.  It was pretty unexpected considering the Mavericks just got through transition and have a bright future in softball, but per the release is stepping away to spend more time with family and you have to respect that.  Coaching softball takes up an incredible amount of my wife’s time and she is only coaching a few months of the year and not having to do all of the recruiting, off season work outs, and fall ball.  Well high school softball in Nebraska is played in the fall, but you get the idea.

I am not sure if Cory Petermann (I just realized that I want to scream “HEY PETER-MAN (Office Space),” will be able to be promoted to head coach or not.  I really hope that if a new coach is hired that they keep Petermann on the staff.  He’s been with the Mavericks for so long and has done so much to make the softball program one of the most successful athletic programs (that is still competing).

I’m not sure about other Mav fans feel, but I am fully confident in the hiring abilities of Trev Alberts and staff.  Dean Blais has taken Hockey to the Frozen Four.  Jason Mims built a program from scratch, his team was ranked in the top 25 for a short while in just the program’s 5th year of existing, and his recruits seem to get better and better each and every single season…which is actually to be expected, but still, it could have ended up much worse.  Chance Lindley was doing a stellar job with the women’s basketball team before unexpectedly in something that was just odd.  Alberts dropped the interim tag off of Brittany Lange, who is really kind of quietly building that basketball program into a competitor and gets better and better every year.  They’re going to be competing in the preseason WNIT in 2016 and they’re starting out at Colorado State, and that team could beat really Colorado State, who made the 2016 NCAA tournament, and possibly face off against Washington in the second round.  Excuse me, I have to go make make sure all of my bills get paid by my SouthWest Airlines Chase card so I can secure enough points for a free flight to Seattle in November…

Anyway, the Mavericks are looking for a softball coach.  I am sure that the process has already started, and we should hear who the newest head coach to Maverick athletics is in the coming weeks, but here are a list of random names that could be out there as potential candidates.  Do I have any business throwing out any names or have any insider info for this?  Certainly, no.  But when a football program like USC (which sucks) is looking for a new coach, some idiot online lists off a bunch of names that where only half of the list is actually being considered by USC and another portion of the list may just want to hear what USC has to say.  It’s just something kind of fun to talk about and contemplate as fans.

I’m content with being the idiot here.  Whatever coach does take over softball at UNO is getting a program that will be returning four All Conference players, and a part of an improving athletic department that is in the middle of upgrading their facilities and has mentioned the potential of a new softball (and baseball) stadium.


Tony Baldwin – Georgia Assistant

I’ve listed Baldwin here for no real reason for other than that I may have been Georgia’s Good Luck Guy.   It’s not a responsibility that I wanted, but it just happened.  Whenever I caught a Georgia softball game on ESPN3, or actual television, they completely dominated their opponent.  The Bulldogs were up 3-1 on Auburn when I was watching in the Women’s College World Series, and then I went for a walk and they ended up losing 3-4.

Baldwin is originally from the state of Indiana and played college baseball at Butler.  He has spent 2 season as an assistant at Georgia, he was an assistant baseball coach at Michigan State before taking on the job at Georgia.  He was mostly responsible for hitting and infielding for the Bulldogs, and in his first season at Georgia the team was 13th in the nation in batting average at .343, and they scored over 7 runs a game.

Jimmy Kolaitis – Oregon Assistant

Seriously, I have no business compiling this list.

Omaha is probably a far stretch for a guy that is an an assistant softball coach in the PAC 12, but going from a big name program to head coaching at a smaller program all to get a job as a head coach at a big name program again seems to be a likely road for many coaches.

Kolaitis was an assistant coach at South Alabama before taking the job at Oregon.  While at Oregon he has been in charge of coaching hitting, and the Ducks have one of the better offenses in college softball.  My wife is a huge Oregon Duck fan (seriously, this list is so biased) so I had to watch a number of Oregon softball games over the last 2 years, and their hitting is…dare I say it…”sick.”  Last season they had 8 of the 9 players in their lineup hitting above .300, which is “sick.”

Diane Miller – Nebraska Assistant

Miller has been an assistant for the Huskers since 2008, after coaching at Colorado State and has been primarily in charge of coaching hitting and the catchers.  With slight uncertainty where the Mavericks are going at the Catcher position after 4 years of Campbell Ditto behind the plate, it would be beneficial having Miller coach up catchers, especially in the beginning.

Miller has coached the Huskers to break more than 30 offensive records since becoming an assistant at Nebraska.  In her time in Lincoln, the Huskers have hit at an average of .295, which is right around where the Mavericks were this last season.  The chance to become a head coach, coach up a team that already has strong hitting, and develop a young team at an already successful program could be a huge attraction to Miller.

Ranae Sinkler – Creighton Assistant

Maybe this would help the relations between the Creighton and UNO program, who have still yet to face off since the Mavericks made the transition.  Sinkler is a Lincoln-native and currently works with hitters and infielders at Creighton, and while she was a player for the Bluejays she won the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year award in two separate seasons.

She graduated from Creighton in 2011 and has only been coaching for a few years, so she does not have a ton of experience.  She could continue to help the Mavericks recruit some of the better players out of the state of Nebraska.  This year Creighton had a fielding percentage of .961 and the Mavericks were at .956.

Still, UNO might be a difficult sell to anyone who has been involved with the one program, let alone Creighton, since their freshman year in college.

Jamie Trachsel – North Dakota State Co-Head Coach (Already took job at Iowa State)

So I was going to list Trachsel as a far fetch, but seriously why does North Dakota State need two coaches?  Trachsel took the job at Iowa State last week, and she was in charge of defense, recruiting, and scouting while with the Bison.  The Bison were first in the Summit in fielding percentage this season, and North Dakota’s roster is filled with players from the hot recruiting bed of softball we know as the state of California.  Maybe the Bison’s defense and recruiting will take a slight drop and open up the gates for Omaha and the rest of the Summit League to compete for conference championships again.

If you’re wondering about Iowa State softball: they finished the season at 20-35 and lost to UNO, Creighton, Northern Iowa, and Drake to name a few.

Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler – former Iowa State head coach

Iowa State didn’t renew her contract after going 20-35 in 2016 and had an overall losing record with the Cyclones in her 11 seasons in Ames.  She really helped the team improve their hitting in the beginning, and I really cannot imagine how hard it is to recruit softball players to play in Ames against the Big 12 competition.  Her players did well in the classroom with over 70 players make All Big 12 Academic teams in 11 seasons, and I know that is something that UNO Athletics would love.  Gemeinhardt-Cesler, which looks difficult to pronounce, was 153-76 in four seasons at the Division 2 level as a head coach, so maybe The Summit League is a more appropriate level for her than the Big 12.

The Golden Eagles, I mean, ehhh, right?

Probably the most stressful year of Scott Sutton’s coaching career is over, but next could be equally as stressful…but probably not…I don’t know…

The Golden Eagles are only graduating Obi Emegano and Brandon Conley, so they have a lot returning for next season, which is good…I guess.  Hey Nebraska faithful fans, remember in 2008 you thought the next year’s team was going to be really sweet because they were only losing one player…but that one player was Aleks Maric?  Ouch.  Okay, that team actually made the NIT, but still, some Nebraska fans were thinking they would win the Big 12.  Those were the days.  The NIT is a pretty big deal for Nebraska fans, I’m sure it will be too for the Mavericks when it happens, but it is sad that is the measuring stick for a successful season for the Huskers in basketball.  Believe me, I love Nebraska basketball, but it’s like you’re trying to make something out of watching a terrible television show and hoping it develops into something episode after episode, but it never does develop into a great show.  Just okay enough to have Cialis commercials every episode.  I’m clearly talking about the second season of The Walking Dead.  14 of the 16 episodes in the second season was really just a spin off of General Hospital, but in Georgia, with zombies.

So the Golden Eagles only lose Emegano and Conley, but one of those players is Obi Emegano… Emegano averaged 23 points and 5 rebounds a game this season.  Conley averaged 7.2 points and 5.4 rebounds, he also had 3 double-doubles on the season.  Both of these players had injuries over the summer and appeared to be playing through a number of stingers throughout the regular season for Oral Roberts.

I think the most common phrase said by Golden Eagles fans during the 2015-2016 season had to be: “Oh, what kind of shot was that?!”  Oral Roberts had the worst shot selection in the league this season, and their team probably had the overall lowest basketball IQ.  I don’t think there is an official way to score Basketball IQ, I’d look into it, but, ah, screw it, there is no way.  I think you just watch a basketball team with a 7 year old and if they complain about the horrible passing and horrible shots taken by a team, you just know the team has a terrible collective basketball IQ.  It’s not exact science.  I say this, but the Golden Eagles were 3rd in the conference in field goal percentage.  They did average the 3rd most turnovers in the league behind Denver and Western Illinois…so there is that.

The Golden Eagles did finish in 7th in the Summit League with a 7-9 record, and they did that with one of the youngest teams in the league.  They also were never really killed in any of those 9 losses.  They lost by an average of 7 points per game, and even for a while many of us thought that they were going to upset South Dakota State in the first round of the conference tournament.  So with 60% of their scoring coming back for next season, you would think that they should be set up to be a quality team; but the problem is that they are losing Obi Emegano and Brandon Conley…

Sophomore center Albert Owens was showing consistency and promise in February and March when he averaged almost 13 points and 5 rebounds a game over the last month and a half.  The problem with Owens is that he is 6’9″ and 260 pounds and wanted to live on taking 16 foot jump shots.  If you’re an athletic 6’9″ and 260 pounds you should probably be going down low and punishing someone like Mike Daum, not scoring 2 points and grabbing 0 rebounds against the Jackrabbits.  Owens will be the team’s top returning scorer at 10.2 points per game.

After that our boy, Jalen Bradley, finished the season at 8.5 points per game.  Bradley had some good quality games throughout the year, but then would follow it up with 3 games of low scoring and low shooting percentages.  That is exactly how it is down the rest of the lineup for ORU.  Freshman Kris Martin had 17 points against South Dakota State, but then averaged 4 points over the next 5 games shooting 24% from the field.  The other 6’5″ freshman who torched the Mavericks with 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting, DaQuan Jeffries, had several bad games throughout the year.  But as stated before, what freshmen are not inconsistent?

The freshmen (and the sophomores) for Oral Roberts have a lot of potential to be great players in the Summit League.  The inconsistencies of the Golden Eagles’ upperclassmen for next season of Jalen Bradley (8.5 ppg, 42 fg%), Aaron Young (5.5 ppg), and Aaron Anderson (4.2 ppg) might be how Scott Sutton’s team will finish in the bottom half of the Summit League again in 2017.  2018 though, the Golden Eagles could be a top 3 team in the league.  I say this as someone, who at one point, was super pumped for 2016-2017 as Jalen Bradley’s senior year with the Mavericks.  We were going to have a team centered around Tre’Shawn Thurman in the post and Jalen Bradley and Rylan Murry on the outside knocking down a combined 7 threes a game.  It was going to be like Magic the Gathering.  I’m not sure if that applies, I’m not sure how Magic the Gathering works, I think one of the rules though is that you cannot have a girlfriend.  I always thought Bradley would be a good player with the Mavericks and score about 10+ points a game by his senior year, but I never thought he’d be the guy the Mavericks would have to rely on to put the whole team on his back and win a conference championship with.

The Golden Eagles could still have someone transfer out at this point, but as of now they have one more scholarship available.  There are a number of kids from the areas they like to recruit from in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas that are leaving their schools that they could grab as a transfer to sit out and build up for the 2017-2018 season.

One guy that comes to mind – Jacob Hammond…  Hey, why not?  He left Nebraska in hopes of playing closer to home, but I am sure playing time is a factor for him.  Hammond is originally from Comanche, Oklahoma…which sounds terrible, which is in southern Oklahoma.  He could transfer to some Northern Texas school and be closer than Tulsa, but Oral Roberts has to be an option.  Can you imagine that front court for Oral Roberts in 2017-2018?  Albert Owens at 6’9″ and 260 lbs, a high flying athletic Javan White at 6’9″, and Hammond at 6’10″… Everyone in the Summit League would have issues scoring on them in the post.

The youth and the inconsistencies, combined with the improvements of the Summit League as a whole, is what makes Oral Roberts difficult to figure out.  If these freshmen (next year’s sophomores) take on the lost scoring of Obi Emegano next season, and the team makes less turnovers, they could make up that 8 points per game in their 9 losses and be one of the top teams in the Summit League in 2017…and if they don’t they could finish last.  Like, 9th place is a possibility for this team next season.

 

 

 

2 games, 2 nights, 2 losses, and I had to eat some pride

I will accept a partial amount of blame for the loss of this Eastern Michigan game.  You see, and please do not attempt to find me and punch me in the face, but I took a Creighton season ticket holder to the game with me.  Yes, I took Dick C. Fan with me.  DCF is a UNO graduate.  He is a MavJaySker, though Husker football is the only Nebraska sport that he roots for, but he is cool with UNO sports.  DCF is more of a Creighton fan though, and because of his Creighton roots, he used to despise Jake White due to his Wichita State days.  The funny thing is, DCF actually looks a little bit like Jake White.  Remember, part of the plan is to get the MavJaySkers to get to UNO games and respect the players, coaches, and where the program has come.  I may have given DCF a little too much flack in the past.  He did follow UNO athletics in their division 2 days, but thought them moving to division 1 was a bit of a joke at first, but he appears to be comfortable with it now.

When Jake White announced that he was going to transfer to UNO, I immediately texted DCF and told him that his distant relative was going to be a Maverick.  DCF was not happy.  I think he cussed me out over a text message, and begged me to stop calling Jake White his cousin.  Over parts of last season, I would text DCF to update him on how good Jake White was playing as a Mav, and he never responded to any of the texts.

The day the Mavericks played UMKC, DCF texted me to see if I wanted to go to the Creighton game with him.  I told him no, but he could go to Eastern Michigan-UNO with me, so we struck up a deal that we go to the games together.  Tuesday afternoon, I asked him if he was excited to see his cousin play basketball.  He was the opposite of pumped.

When we got to the game, I really thought DCF was going to just start yelling expletives in Jake White’s direction.  Instead, the UNO fan in him came out, and he said “there is my boy.”  DCF even threw out a first pump when Jake White’s name was announced in the starting lineup.  Then, the game happened…


  • This is the first game that I walked up the arena and people were not on the community ice practicing curling.  DCF and I used to want to start a curling team, but we legitimately know nothing about curling.  I would feel bad if I get into curling and was instantly good at it and pissed off some guys that were doing curling for decades and saw some guy who doesn’t know how to do it is amazing.  It’s no diss at curling, I just don’t know what makes a curling guy a good curling athlete.  I’ve never heard anyone say: “oh that Caleb Steffensmeier had a pretty good basketball career, but could imagine him as a master curler?”
  • DCF asked every question you could think of about Tre’Shawn Thurman and Tra-Deon Hollins, as he remembered watching them play at Central.  I really thought about lying to him, but I told him what I knew.
  • DCF then told me how excited he was about Creighton’s Khyri Thomas, and I almost broke into tears to admit that I used to sit around and hope that Thurman and Thomas would come to UNO and kick start the program to the next level.  UNO got half of my equation.
  • DCF kept hoping that UNO would pass the ball to Jake White, this was quite the change as 3 years ago he was calling Jake White offensive names.
  • You could tell that he was immediately impressed with Tre’Shawn Thurman, and he should be.  Creighton fans will catch glimpses of him over time and be saying things like “ah crap”
  • With Thurman having 13 points and 8 rebounds at half, we shared a short discussion of Is Thurman better than Creighton forwards…it’s kind of a dumb conversation to get into, but it is what Omahans that like basketball are eventually going to talk about.  We agreed that Thurman is probably right on par with Cole Huff from an amount of talent, there are things that Huff does better than Thurman, but there are things that Thurman does better than Huff.  It would be pretty difficult for most coaches to decide who to start between them.  We then agreed that Thurman is better than Zach Hanson and Toby Hegner, but DCF pointed out that Hanson is playing the best basketball of his college career up until this point.  My thought on this is:  It is Hanson’s junior year, he should be playing the best basketball of his collegiate career up until now.  You don’t want to say, “hey, this guy was one of the best freshman I had ever seen and now he is absolute crap.  I love it.”
  • I thought the most shocking part of looking at the stats of this game was that the fouls were actually even.  Though, I continuously felt like UNO’s fouls were giving them the shaft.  No one was ever really in foul trouble except for Hollins.  I think the fouls got into the heads of some of the UNO players, especially the no calls.  It is just weird that the refs get incredibly knit picky for 97% of the game but space out for another 3% of the game.  All players need to adjust to this crap, the deeper and more mature teams are going to get through this.  I believe Scott Nagy said that…not in those exact words, but you get it, right?
  • Jake White got fouled going up for a basket and the ball flew backwards…DCF and I went on to make a number of Caddyshack 2 references.  This has to be the first time anyone has referenced this movie in quite some time.  There were also Celtic Pride references shared between us.  If Celtic Pride and Caddyshack 2 are not films you are familiar with, I am not sure we would get along.
  • DCF and I were both thinking that the Mavs should have kept Hollins out on the court when he picked up his 3rd foul pretty early in the second half.  The offense was completely flat without him.  There was too much standing around when he was on the bench.  Can we get a check on how many assists Hollins gets as a result of his penetration to the basket?  It has to be 2/3 of his assists.
  • Jake White and Tre’Shawn Thurman each had double-doubles…when was the last time UNO had two guys with double-doubles in a game…and when was the last time a Maverick had two double-doubles in a row…and when was the last time a sophomore had two double doubles in a row?
  • I had another game where I found myself asking: why did Randy Reed not play more?  The kid had some real hustle plays down the stretch…the team needed that energy for more of the game.  Can we not go with a front court of White-Thurman-Reed all at once?  I know you probably lose some three point shooting with that line and do not stretch out the floor a bunch, but just let them all set screens for Hollins and Patterson to get around and they will find a cutting man.  Is it something you want to go with for 20 minutes of the game?  No.  But I wish it is something that should be tried out for a 3 to 4 minute stretch.  Last year the Mavs went with a Rostampour-Thurman-Reed front court against Oral Roberts for a few different couple minute stretches and it really bothered Korey Billbury of Oral Roberts.
  • DCF commented about how watching Jake White now is like watching a completely different player than what he saw from him at Wichita State.  Claimed that at WSU he just stood around and wanted to shoot threes, and now he is down low posting up and getting knocked around down low.  He was really blown away at his nemesis turned…not friend…but…dude guy he has no reason to hate?
  • I tried to get DCF to go to the family that holds up pictures of Maverick players faces when they are shooting free throws and demand an answer as why they have his picture when they are holding up Jake White’s photo.  I could not convince him to do this, but it could been entertaining.
  • Thanks to Facebook’s On This Day, I was able to get reminded that 3 years ago on December 1st, I watched a terrible football game in which Nebraska was involved and it was the most embarrassed I ever was to watch a Husker football game.
  • Mavericks were 4 of 17 on threes in this game…is this killing Marcus Tyus?  Like how it was killing Mike Rostampour when he was sitting out and the Mavs could not rebound the ball?

Night 2 – Creighton vs Arizona State

This was painful for me.
This was painful for me.

I do not hate Creighton athletics, but I do get annoyed with their fans.  I would say it is safe to call me a MavJaySker…in fact I think that is my gamer tag on Xbox.  I would just much rather watch their games on television or listen to them on the radio than to actually attend a game.  Hanging with 18,000 people freak out at every single whistle, good or bad, is not my thing.  Let me make a correction there, I would be with about 14,000 people freak out at ref calls as at any given time the CenturyLink Center has a combined 4,000 fans walking the arena looking for the cheapest beer that they can find, or they are permanently planted in the beer garden to brag up about how they went to the most expensive bar in all of Nebraska.  You can also always find a handful of people reading a magazine at any given moment.

It’s also stressful to hear some drunk guy try to convince his friend that the ranking of best basketball programs goes as this:  1. Duke/North Carolina/Kentucky/Kansas…2. Creighton…350. UNO…351. Nebraska…And Creighton was a three point shot away from Booker Woodfox from beating Kentucky in the National Championship in 2009?  2010?  Ah hell, that one year the NIT second round was just as good as the NCAA Tournament.

I also love that when you go to a Creighton game and the fan’s pregame analysis is just that the other team sucks.  For three straight hours Wednesday night, I just heard how Arizona State was a shitty basketball team…then the Jays lost to them.  So I guess that means the Jays are back.


Some takeaways from the Creighton game…

  • I remember a few years ago thinking that Geoff Groselle was going to be one of the worst ever in Creighton basketball history.  He was recruited to be a Missouri Valley player, and his first couple seasons were filled with several injuries; and when he did play he would bobble the ball a lot and could never score a basket.  I thought for sure he would transfer out at some point.  He has turned into a completely competent player though, and the Jays actually draw up plays to get him the ball in the post.  He had a moment at the end of the game where he grabbed an offensive rebound under the basket and the guy in between him and the basket was 6’3″ or so, and he should have just gone back up for the easy basket, instead he pissed off 18,000 people…or just the 6,000 or so people that were paying attention.  I know the Jays were down by 3 at this point with a few minute to go, but take the easy basket when you can get it!
  • The Jays take care of the ball, and their perimeter defenders are never caught flat footed.  They really don’t have the greatest weak side defense though…which led to a few wide the hell open threes.
  • An attendance dip tonight for the Jays actually, only around 16.2k…was it the 8 o’clock start time?
  • I’m still sitting here wishing Khyri Thomas would have gone to UNO.
  • What is with Division 1 universities in Omaha not being able to box out and let up a bunch of offensive rebounds?
  • I know the Jays like having stretch 4s, but Cole Huff and Toby Hegner took 13 threes.  It’s nice to have big men that can hit threes, but having forwards that only want to take threes is…well…Walter Pitchford…  Don’t you want bigs that use it as a last resort type of thing?  Maybe I am just old fashioned and love Jake White shooting 60% in the paint.  Dumb, right?
  • Arizona State’s warm ups had hoods on them.  I am sure there is some story behind this, but I am just going to assume it has something to do with witchcraft and that is why they had a better second half.
  • Arizona State did not look like a great three point shooting team, but they hit threes right when it mattered.
  • Whoever is in the Billy Bluejay costume is doing a great job.  He spun a basketball on his finger, that cannot be easy in a costume like that.  They were also a great break dancer, seriously, a great job and could really give the Oregon Duck a run for his money…even if Billy Bluejay looks like an evil stork and not a Bluejay.
  • Cole Huff missed 2 free throws and 1 three pointer in the last 8 seconds of a 1 possession game.  I feel sorry for Huff, not just that he missed the shots, but that the Jays fans are going to completely turn on him.  How many days until they demand that Toby Hegner start over him?
  • I watched a number of Jays fans heading for the exits when Creighton was down by 1 point with 6 seconds to go, like the Jays were down by 12 points.
  • There were two guys behind me that looked like Creighton Bluejays super fans, but instead of talking about Jays basketball or cheering on the Jays, they just talked about Breaking Bad the whole time.  Seriously though, Breaking Bad was fantastic.  Great basketball scenes that were totally applicable to what was going on too.
  • I heard a number of Jays fans say that Creighton would have won that game if the refs would have called the 8 travels that Arizona State committed in the game.  I seriously want you to find me a basketball game where the refs got every single traveling call right.  I watched a number of Jays players travel with no whistles blown, and the Jays fans would clap on like it was a great move.  I complain about calls too, but I would never say the one and only reason a team lost the game is because of the fouls.
  • Isaiah Zierden is the best shooter out of Creighton, Nebraska, and UNO.  The balance in his shot is the best…the best Jerry.  The Jays have great quick plays to get him wide open on the outside too, it is the best thing about watching the Jays.
  • I really thought Greg McDermott was going to have a hard time dividing up minutes between Groselle, Hanson, Hegner, Huff, and Krampej this year, as he has seemed to have trouble distributing minutes other than when it was just obvious to go with Doug McDermott and Ethan Wragge at the same time; but Greg has done a great job of that so far this season.
  • Heard a couple of Jays fans saying the worst part about the loss was that Arizona State didn’t have any stars that scare you.  Honestly, what star does Creighton have?  Zierden is a great shooter, but is he a star putting fear into his opponents for 40 minutes?

 

I’ve gone to two basketball games in two nights, and the home teams have lost in each one.  I wanted to go to the Lady Mavs game tonight, but I am afraid I’ll drop three in a row and be the bad luck guy.

 

 

 

Omaha played the Gophers, and there were a lot of sports on Black Friday

I am having a pretty good day so far.  I was up late last night, I watched some “Arrow” and then turned over the Netflix to my wife and she watched “Gossip Girl” as I made fun of it for 2 hours.  Woke up a little earlier than I wanted to today; but I got some groceries; had a good run where the music on my iPhone just found the perfect random mix for a run; made my wife some guacamole to surprise her when I got home; made myself a pretty solid chicken sandwich; and now I have to prepare for watching Mav basketball and Husker football at the same time, as well as listening to Mav women basketball on the radio, and allowing my wife to watch the Oregon football game.  We’re definitely getting our money out of Cox Cable today.  Oh, I feel sorry for any guy that has a wife that makes him go to Black Friday shopping.  My wife watches sports with me and brings me Starbucks.  Booyah!
  • I am wearing an Omaha Mavericks short sleeve shirt over a Nebraska Cornhuskers long sleeve shirt.  Admit it, I am your boss.
  • I really feel like the Mavs can win this game.  I don’t like saying it out loud because anyone will assume I am just bein a homer when I say it.  Omaha is capable of winning this game, and South Dakota State is capable of beating Minnesota when they play them later on this season.
  • Does Rick Pitino ever blame his son for the problems that the Boston Celtics had when he was running the team and ruining a part of my childhood?
  • I really wanted to listen to the women’s game on the radio, but I could not understand one word that was said.  It sounds as if the broadcast is coming from a shed 3 miles from the arena.
  • Hey, ESPN3 froze on me at the first media timeout.  I blame Richard Pitino for this.
  • Is home court advantage not as big for Minnesota when Omaha has a few Minnesotans on the team, and they got a Thanksgiving dinner at the home of one of the players last night?  They get the feeling of family on an away game, that cannot hurt, right?
  • I do not think Minnesota is all that great.  I find it offensive that they were preseason ranked higher than Nebraska.
  • I’m drinking a delicious coffee from Starbucks at the moment.  Their holiday cup fiasco was made up, right?  Probably even made up by them.  How can I prove it?  Damn it, I cant.
  • Daniel Meyer is looking really active in his short amount of time right now, and Tim Smallwood just looks intense.
  • At the 8 minute media timeout, I can turn on the Nebraska game.  I can definitely mute the Nebraska game as they put the worst possible group of commentators that they could find.
  • It sort of sounds as if there are more Omaha fans than Minnesota fans at this game.  You can hear them when Omaha does anything good, but you cannot find them.
  • Jake White, Zach Jackson, Devin Patterson, and Tim Smallwood all have 2 fouls in the first half; and the Mavericks are ahead by 1.
  • I am actually kind of angry right now because The Paul Finebaum Show is listed on ESPN3 that someone must watch and be entertained by.  I’ve never tuned into the Paul Finebaum show, but I assume it’s just him in front of the camera constantly sending his meal back from Outback because his medium rare steak is too red.  Then he spells out “SEC” in his ketchup.
  • Over to the Nebraska game:  Tommy Armstrong throws an interception on a play action pass.  Never seen that before.
  • I am pretty pumped for Nebraska and Oregon to play football over the next two years.  One thing I am excited for is going to Oregon and seeing how many Nebraska fans buy up tickets from all of the Oregon bandwagon fans that usually just go for a free t-shirt or some crap.  I brought this up to my wife, an avid Oregon fan, she actually thought that should play out to be an interesting scenario.
  • My father-in-law is not a bandwagon Oregon fan.  He is the guy that will set up an Oregon bar in Minnesota just so he could have a bar to guarantee himself a good place to watch an Oregon game when he is in town visiting family.  If I ever somehow got him to go to an Omaha-North Dakota hockey game (he is originally from North Dakota), he would only go if the big screen in the arena had an Oregon game on the screen.  He would somehow find his way to the arena staff and seriously demand it.  My father-in-law currently resides in North Dakota…I send him tidbits of Omaha hockey to argue with North Dakota hockey fans at the local pubs there to anger them.  You’re welcome.
  • Earlier in the game, the commentators were commenting how great Omaha’s passing is.  Every pass is a bounce pass, and not some pass thrown up at some guy’s face.
  • Jake White hit his second 3 of the game.  So far the only basket he has missed, he got the offensive rebound himself and put it back up for a score.
  • Jake White picks up his 3rd foul, I am incredibly curious how long they can keep him on the bench with Minnesota picking up a little steam right now.  He’s hot today, he’s needed out on the court.
  • You know what is better than a Hollins-to-Thurman alley oop?  Nothing.
  • Jake White gets stabbed in the face.  My wife drops the F bomb, and loudly.  It’s an extreme coincidence though, she was just reacting to Oregon State being up 7-0 on Oregon.  This reminds me:  If anyone has Intro to Gerontology and your professor is a 5 foot tall 29 year old woman, can you just yell out “Mark Helfrich sucks” or “Chuck Bass has a douche face.”  That professor will think you are the coolest student to ever take a class.
  • I have the Nebraska game on mute, but I can tell the refs are messing it up.
  • Are we sure Richard Pitino is the coach?  His no tie or jacket look makes it feel like he’s the terrible cousin that no one likes that showed up to the family dinner when they were not invited.  He wasn’t invited because of his love of strippers from Kentucky.  Too far?
  • The play with Hollins getting the ball to White near the free throw line and then White getting the ball to a cutting Thurman was fantastic.  White and Thurman each only have one assist, but they are making some good passes today.  Big men that can pass are never bad pieces to have on a basketball team.  No one complains about it.  It might really bum out Richard Pitino actually.
  • Jake White hits his third three of the game, and Omaha immediately takes a timeout as they are down 78-80.  The Gopher fans could not be more pissed right now.  4 1/2 minutes to go in the game and the commentators finally just put it together that White is from the state or Minnesota.  White is the Gopher Killer right now.
  • Jake White fouls out and you can tell he is just furious.  He played with great intensity today.  He was a warrior out there that put the Mavericks on his back when he was on the court today.  This new Jake White 2.0 is fantastic.  This is the version we were hoping for last year that was slowed down with every injury imaginable it seemed.  White could have gone for 40 today.
  • Two shirts for myself may have been a poor choice.
  • The video quality turned to absolute crap with 45 seconds to go and the audio stopped.  That’s swell.
  • I think I may throw up from the stress.
  • There were a few moments when the game was close in a few different situations where guys wanted to take poor shots and be the hero.  It was just a few, but guys can learn from that…I hope.
  • Tra-Deon Hollins puts this team on an entirely different level.  He does not need to score to take control of the game.  Hollins can give you 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals whenever he wants.  The Mavs have not had a player like that yet.  His 9 assists are the most for any Maverick against a power conference school.

Can the Mavericks improve on 5 Summit League wins?

Sometimes I find preseason predictions pointless, other than starting a conversation about the upcoming season or letting people know what could potentially be the biggest games of the year, there is not really much of a point to it.

I mainly find them useless because of the methodology in ranking teams.  Many seem to just copy and past the standings of last year, and then make a small edit if a team had a high amount of turnover from last season’s roster.  But I came up with a plan to do this for the Summit League.  I was reading some preseason predictions for the Big 10 football season which was done by a bunch of ESPN writers.  Some made good points but they all had to come up with a record for each team, and the math did not always make sense.  One clown had Ohio State going 12-0 with a 8-0 Big Ten record and Michigan State going 11-1, and also with a 8-0 Big Ten record.  Seriously, how drunk and lazy and/or bad at math was that guy?  Or some guys would have two teams going 8-0 in conference, a couple going 0-8, and everyone else going 5-3.  The math didn’t add up and they were telling you that these teams would win these amount of games because they are Skeletor and they said so.

So I came up with a plan.  I would go through the Summit League conference schedule and assign wins and losses over the course of a number of weeks.  At first it was just: South Dakota State is a better team than Denver, so win goes to the Jackrabbits.  Then later, I would look at the difficulty of each team’s conference schedule.  Obviously, everyone plays each other twice, but there are some things that stick out; like how Denver is the only team with the highway to the danger zone in playing at North Dakota State and South Dakota State in back to back games.  Or how South Dakota and Oral Roberts are the only two Summit League teams without three straight games on the road in conference play.  Then things like Omaha playing on the road against someone on a Thursday, as road games on Thursdays appear to be difficult for most teams.  Actually road games are pretty difficult for anyone.  Then I would go through the schedule again and consider some teams’ strengths versus their opponents weaknesses.  Like how teams better be good at three point shooting against South Dakota as they forced teams to take the most threes with their defense…and other things.

But I assigned wins and losses to each game, and did it several times considering different factors.  Then I plain and simple would add up each team’s wins and losses to see who had the most after going through it about 15 times.  Is it perfect?  No.  Is it better than just saying South Dakota State will go 15-1 in conference because of Jesus?  Probably.

Really, after going through all of this; I really do not see much separation between many of the teams.  South Dakota State seems like a clear cut favorite.  Then North Dakota State seems like they are 2nd best, but they really should not be as comfortable as one would think.  Then Oral Roberts-Omaha-IPFW-IUPUI-South Dakota appear to be in a fight for spots 3 to 7 with Denver and Western Illinois sitting at 8 and 9; but Denver is a difficult place to play; and Western Illinois, while not great last year, they do return basically everything.

So much of the 3 to 9 in the Summit League appears to come down to:

  • Who can stay healthy?
  • Who can win on the road?
  • Who can pick up a win against South Dakota State and North Dakota State?

But for the sake of length, I am going to just post about Omaha to get started and why they should win more games than their 5-11 record last season.  Then I will come out with the rest of the Summit League later.


Omaha

Range of wins:  7 to 11 wins

Boldest Predictions:  Will pick up win against North Dakota State at home, will sweep South Dakota

Clearly, I am biased in how well I think the Mavs could do this season.  The Mavericks finished 5-11, but they had 4 conference losses decided by one or two possessions.  I know it does not work this way, but the Mavericks could have finished 8-8 or 9-7 in the Summit League had just a couple more things gone their way.  There is also more to play for with the Mavericks this season, and they should have a slightly stronger home court advantage with their new arena being right on campus. The attendance for the Mavericks has risen each season since transition, and people in town are starting to take them more serious.  2012-2013 was probably the most fun season to watch, but Omahans did not seem to even notice.  UNO Men’s Basketball was that new television show that had some good looking commercials that got you interested; but it was pitted in the same time slot as Breaking Bad in it’s prime and Sunday Night Football.   Justin Simmons had some of the most exciting dunks you could possibly witness; but Doug McDermott was in the middle of one of the greatest careers in Creighton and NCAA history; and Tim Miles was bringing a personality to the Huskers.  Omahans were in the mode of thinking they’d like to go to a Mavs game, but never fully pulled the trigger.  A few years later:  Creighton is down and Nebraska is too young for locals to know what is happening.  UNO has a brand new arena, in a fun part of town, some local guys on the roster that can make some noise, and six seniors to help start the new era of the program.

The Mavericks also have a pretty good way to start conference play with Western Illinois and IUPUI at home.  2013-2014 started @ Western Illinois, @ North Dakota State, @ South Dakota State; and 2012-2013 was @ North Dakota State, @ South Dakota State, and then a month conference break before they had South Dakota and Kansas City at home before going back on the road against very good IPFW and Oakland teams.  Last year the Mavs started on the road @ South Dakota and Western Illinois, and then came back home for North Dakota State and South Dakota State, before going back on the road against Oral Roberts.  The Mavs are finally not being welcomed to the Summit League with the middle finger jammed in front of their face, so hopefully they can start league play with some momentum.  The most difficult part of the conference schedule is going to be three straight road games at Denver, and the Mavericks yet to have a good game in the state of Colorado; then at Oral Roberts which is one of the toughest places to play in the Summit League; and then at South Dakota State who is the preseason favorite in the league and swept the Mavs last season by margins of 19 and 22 points.

As far as what is returning to the Mavericks: they lost Mike Rostampour and CJ Carter, but they are returning 61% of their scoring; which is the 4th highest in the league.  Marcus Tyus and Devin Patterson as a returning back court is arguably one of the top 3 back courts in the league.  Jake White is hopefully healthy enough to give significant minutes when the conference season turns around, he is tied with his fellow teammate Tre’Shawn Thurman as the 2nd leading returning rebounder in the league.  Randy Reed and Tim Smallwood should hopefully finally have roles edged out to really help this team improve.  Lack of depth was an issue for this team last season, but newcomers Zach Pirog, JT Gibson, and Tra-Deon Hollins sound as if they can really help the Mavericks improve on some of the weaknesses the Mavs had in 2014-2015, and add some needed depth to this team.  This team can go big, it can go small, it has adaptable lineups that can go up against anyone in the Summit.

From what I could tell, the preseason predictions biggest concerns with the Mavericks are that they cannot make up for the loss of Mike Rostampour and CJ Carter.  Okay, everyone loses someone in college athletics, but should we really be concerned about losing two guys that were not recruited to ever play in a Summit League conference tournament?  So really, why are people so hard on them for losing Rostampour and Carter, but no one is hard on IPFW for losing Steve Forbes and Joe Edwards; or South Dakota for losing Tyler Larson and Brandon Bos; or Oral Roberts for losing half of their team?  Please don’t take this as a Rostampour and Carter Were Not Unimportant thought… The Mavs would not be the same without them.  The point is, it does not seem like the Mavericks are asking as much out of their newcomers and returning players as much as other teams.  They are asking Jake White to be healthy enough to score 2-4 more points and grab a couple more rebounds, which I realize is easier said than done; Tre’Shawn Thurman to continue to improve; Tyus and Patterson to be more consistent; and Reed and Smallwood work more on their roles that they established toward the end of last season.  Other than North Dakota State and South Dakota State, everyone else appears to be asking guys to come in and be stars or huge impacts right away.  One thing that does scare me about Omaha finishing in the top half of the conference is the injury to Marcus Tyus.  He’s coming off ACL surgery that he injured in February.  Being ready in full form throughout November, December, and January just seems like a lot to look for at this point.