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.

 

 

 

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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).

 

Notes about my tears from the Mavericks home opener

So I had kind of a bummer of a day yesterday.  My laptop finally died on Thursday night and confirmed yesterday that it had passed.  It was an ASUS, and I somehow got 7 years out of that piece of crap.  I was hoping to stretch its life out until after Christmas, but I knew our relationship was ending soon, so I had been backing everything up pretty good for the last year or so.  I still lost a few things that I will never get back, but I will not lose the pride in making a cheap hunk of junk last twice as long as it should have.  If anyone wants to go to a field and break it to pieces with my wife’s softball bats and listen to some gangster rap, I’ve got a little spare time.  We can bring the cheapest 40 we can find too.  Why?  Because I think it’s actually a societal norm that if a cop catches you doing illegal stuff in the middle of a field that you need to have a 40.
But there was a basketball game last night.  It was frustrating, there was very little flow to it with all of the fouling.  Yeah, not a big fan of the fouling.  We saw some new faces and some old ones with new haircuts.  The crowd was big, which was great.  The student section was full!  It wasn’t very loud, but they did not have much to cheer for in the first half.  It was just a really odd first half.  Justin Simmons and CJ Carter were both on the sideline to cheer on the Mavs.  I think I may have saw Alex Phillips as well, but I was not 100% sure about it.
  • So my seats got temporarily moved over a section with something to do with hockey that I didn’t quite fully understand but I nodded my head because I am a weak adult, the new seats were not as great of an angle.  I made up for it by drinking a Shock Top Twisted Pretzel ale.  As far as I know, you can only get this beer at Omaha Mavericks and Omaha Stormchasers games.  I am one and done with drinks at sporting events.  I never get these people spending 80 bucks on 10 beers at a sporting event and going to the bathroom every 10 minutes.  You spent at least 100 bucks to pretend to be at a sporting event.  I’m pointing at you CenturyLink Citizens.
  • The pregame for my friend and I was at Ponzu.  Why is Ponzu so bad at wrapping their sushi?  It just falls apart.  We were able to make at least 20 Seinfeld references though.  You cant beat that.
  • As we were sitting there the marching band (or I assume the marching band) came by pounding on drums around Aksarben Village.  My friend and I discussed how it’s actually kind of weird to see school spirit around UNO.  That wasn’t there 5 years ago.
  • So Randy Reed?  High energy guy off the bench?  Damn it, I hope that continues!  He is going to play such a big role in the Summit League, everyone has a 6’5″ or 6’6″ guy they throw in at the 4.
  • I know that Santa Barbara was missing their top returning player, and Omaha was missing Marcus Tyus, but Tyus’ three point shooting was dramatically missed last night.  I still say the basket on the side of the visiting team’s bench is cursed.
  • The fouls got annoying, this is worse than two years ago, it completely took any flow out of the game.  This scares me for a team that needs a face pace and flow to win games.
  • Jake White fouled out, took some contact himself, but he was healthy and that is so awesome.  He had a hard fall to the ground and quickly got up, like it was his way of showing us all that he was alright.  I remember a game last year in  which he fell to the ground and my wife’s coach mind was saying “get up kid, get back on D, what is wrong with him?”  And I sat there like: Careful babe, he might literally break.
  • I feel like Devin Patterson is able to channel this inner Chris Paul thing from time to time, but last night was not that night.  He has taken bad games by him personally in the past and had great bounce back games in the past.  Can he save that for UMKC when he goes up against an All American?
  • Did anyone notice that Kyler Erickson has an entire Millard South section cheering for him?  I think it’s 215 or 216?  His one rebound in the game was fantastic.  It was another moment where I thought the Mavs were giving up another offense board, but then he came flying out of no where to start a break.  He was out on the floor for the last defensive play.  I want to point that out.
  • It was so hard for the Gauchos to find passing lanes with Devin Patterson and Tra-Deon Hollins on the court at the same time, like they seriously could not figure it out.  I’m coining that backcourt as: The Devil’s Gate…whether you like it or not.
  • Hollins is a bandit.  He steals everything.  Remember in Home Alone 2 when Marv is thinking of all the dumb nicknames for him and Harry?  I motion to nickname Hollins as The Sticky Bandit.  It’s also great that this team has two passers that can penetrate as well.  All the kick out threes from the two of them to Tyus and Gibson are hopefully coming.
  • I want to say this about Tre’Shawn Thurman.  He picked up that second foul in the first half, and you could tell he was just angry with himself.  He sat on that bench in absolute Hulk like anger.  He was never more ready for that second half to begin.  When the first half ended, he wasted no time getting up off that bench and running to the locker room.  The fouls did not scare him in the second half, he came out more aggressive on offense and showed off some new post moves.  You could feel his pain and anger at the end of the game as he walked off the court.  He is a leader.
  • Seeing Zach Jackson get the start was a shock for me, especially since Tyus was in warm ups.  Jackson did okay though, he didn’t pass up on his first shot and took it with confidence.  He was not scared.
  • JT Gibson also played with great confidence.  Those two threes in a row got the big crowd back into the game.  He made it a game.  Going to love watching Gibson and Jackson grow and develop.
  • Toward the end of the game, the team bench was dry.  It was a close game, and guess who got the rest of the team to get up and cheer on their teammates…Ben Kositzke.  I think I was sitting near the Ben Kositzke and Alex Allbery fan clubs too.
  • I saw Rylan Murry after the game.  He looked sad.  I wanted to yell “Skinny Love” again, but I had Pandora on Skinny Love at work all day on Thursday and I think I almost cried at the music selection.
  • Did I hear Jon Green say this right on the radio: If UNO Volleyball wins the regular season title, they get to host the Summit League tournament the following year?  Oh my.  I wish this worked to a degree in basketball.  But like, since we beat Marquette last season, they have to come to Omaha to play the following year.  Or if Wisconsin lost to Western Illinois last night, they will have to travel to the fine town of Macomb in 2016.  Why cant that be a thing?
  • IUPUI beat Indiana State.  Oral Roberts beat Missouri State.  North Dakota State beat UC Davis.  How tough is the Summit this year?
  • If the Mavericks are ever on ESPN or ESPN2, or whenever they make the NCAA tournament; I badly want to see Derrin Hansen slowly and dramatically take off his glasses like he is in the cheesiest TNT drama that has ever been produced.

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.

Who has the best core of post players in the Summit League?

So the Summit League is stacked with guards and wing players this season.  College Sports Madness recently came out with a All Summit League 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th team and 16 of the 20 players were guards, 17 if you count South Dakota State’s Reed Tellinghuisen as a guard.  The Summit League came out with their preseason 1st and 2nd teams yesterday, and 8 or the 10 players were guards.  The teams they selected are fair for the most part, though I do not agree with leaving Tre’Shawn Thurman off the list, but I get that I am biased.

Anyway, there are so many guards on this list, and that is because the Summit League is going to be a very guard heavy league this year.  So could one come up with a conclusion that who ever has the best post game is going to set themselves apart from the rest of the conference?  So who has the best post players in the conference?

For the sake of argument, I am going to reduce each team’s list to their top 4 post players, because realistically teams hardly ever use more than 4 post players in the Summit League.  Hell some players do not use more than two post players.


North Dakota State

Chris Kading, Dexter Werner, AJ Jacobson, and one of the other 3 players that will mix in.

I have kind of had North Dakota State as my team to win the conference this year, but I am growing more and more uncomfortable with that recently the more I am looking things up.  Not that I think they are in trouble or anything.  Anyway, it is pretty hard to argue that they do not have the best core of post players in the Summit League.  I know someone might look at Chris Kading and say he’s only a 5 points and 4 rebounds guy, but he takes smart shots, he led the Summit League in blocks per game, and he would routinely hold the other team’s best post player to a bad game.

Dexter Werner was the Sixth Man of the Year in the Summit League last year, and he completely deserved it.  He was a big time force that brought immediate energy to the Bison post game off of the bench, and he shot 51% from the field.  He was playing undersized most of the time, but he was still able to get 1 block per game, which is tied with the 2nd most for returning players to the league.

Dexter Werner was selected to the 2nd Team for the All Summit Preseason Predictions.
Dexter Werner was selected to the 2nd Team for the All Summit Preseason Predictions.

Then the Bison have AJ Jacobson, and while there is no official Summit League Freshman of the Year Award, I am pretty sure it would have been him last season.  He appears to be a popular choice for 1st Team All Summit this upcoming year, after coming off averaging 11.6 points per game and 4.2 rebounds, and many people think he is going to take a large load of the shots that Lawrence Alexander was taking.  He is probably more of a traditional 3, but he did quite well for the Bison at the 4 position, and the Bison can bring in Werner off the bench and slide Jacobson over to the 3, making for a big lineup.

It is kind of unclear who the 4th post player will be at this point for the Bison.  They had Nebraska-native, Spencer Eliason redshirting last season, and they are bringing in two 6’8″ freshmen that they appear to be pretty excited about.  With Kading and Werner, you kind of expect one of the two true freshman to redshirt though, right?


South Dakota

Eric Robertson, Tyler Flack, Tyler Hagedorn, Dan Jech

I admit that is pretty difficult to go on from here, so how about South Dakota?  The Coyotes might actually have the most talented post players, but there are some questions to it.  Can Tyler Flack bounce back from sitting out all of 2014-2015 with an injury, and does Craig Smith even like him?  Flack was averaging 8.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg, and shooting 55% from the field as a sophomore in 21 minutes on a pretty bad South Dakota team.

Flack is back.
Flack is back.

Can Eric Robertson survive as a starter if Smith doesn’t feel comfortable with starting a true freshman?  Then there is two freshman, Tyler Hagedorn and Dan Jech.  Jech gives the Coyotes a post player and Hagedorn gives the team a stretch four.  The Coyotes were able to survive last season with 6’3″ Tyler Larson and 6’5″ Tre Burnette as their primary options in the post last season, so what is going to happen when Smith adds some height to their post game.  Oh yeah, and there is also Tre Burnette, who had the highest rebounding average of any player returning to the Summit League.


Omaha

Jake White, Tre’Shawn Thurman, Daniel Meyer, Zach Pirog (or Randy Reed)

It is kind of a bold move picking the Mavericks that high here.  Consider this though, no player 6’7″ or taller that is returning to the league averaged more points per game than Tre’Shawn Thurman last season.  Jake White is healthy apparently, while I cannot 100% verify this, but I am pretty sure he had limited minutes in his junior season due to injuries.  Even with as many injuries that he had in his junior season, he was probably the fastest post player in the league.  So you have to assume he will go from 20 minutes per game to 25-30, his field goal percentage should rise above 40% while he’s healthy, he can probably be a 10 and 8 guy.  10 and 8 should get you Honorable Mention in the Summit.

Could Jake White be the most underrated post player in the league?
Could Jake White be the most underrated post player in the league?

Daniel Meyer should be getting a minutes increase as well.  Statistically, he had about the same statistics that Dexter Werner had in his freshman season at North Dakota State, and he should receive an increased role (maybe even a Werner like role) with Mike Rostampour and Rylan Murry no longer on the team.  One game last year, I was sitting near Matt Hagerbaumer, you seriously need to take the opportunity to sit next to Hagerbaumer if you ever get that chance.  He’s constantly yelling support to younger players, and he was so excited about Thurman and Meyer as freshman.  He at one point said that they needed Meyer to be a banger down low and be the dirty work guy.  Basically, the Mavs need him to be Matt Hagerbaumer 2.0, and he is capable of being that.  Meyer apparently played very well on the team’s trip to Italy as well.

I am still unsure if Zach Pirog will redshirt.  Hansen kind of has a history of redshirting big players, and the team already has White, Thurman, and Meyer; but maybe Pirog is even better than advertised?  He should add immediate rim protection to the team, which would be extremely helpful, but how many minutes would be able to get this season?  Not to mention, there will probably be a lot teams playing 6’5″ guys at the 4 position for a decent chunk of minutes this season, so wouldn’t you want to play Randy Reed more at the 4 position this season; leaving a lot of the minutes at the 5 to White, Meyer, and even Thurman.  Just seems like minutes wise it would be a good idea to redshirt Pirog, but he is someone that can immediately help this team.


South Dakota State

Connor Devine, Ian Theisen, Michael Daum, Adam Dykman

There is a big gaping hole to make up in the loss of Cody Larson for the Jackrabbits, and it is unclear who will fill that role.  The Jackrabbits also grew comfortable playing Reed Tellinguisen at the 4 last season, as the team’s 5th best offensive player, they really couldn’t keep him off the floor, even if he was playing undersized at times.

You look at Devine and Theisen and you think two guys that don’t even combine for 5 points per game, but really they were playing behind Cody Larson and sharing that role of backup post player.  Then you realize that they both shot over 50 percent from the field, and they both had stretches over the season where they were making big plays.  It’s also not like Scott Nagy cannot develop guys at all.  Devine as a 40% free throw shooter might get left off the court down the stretch of the few close conference games the Jackrabbits will have.

The Jackrabbits also had Nebraska-native Michael Daum redshirting last season, who seemed like a pretty attractive recruit coming out of high school, so who knows how much he developed under the Jackrabbits staff.  The basketball fan in me says “oh wow this guy averaged 25 and 13 as a senior in high school,” but the Nebraskan in me says “I have never even heard of Kimball, how could anyone be good at basketball from there.”  The Mavericks offered him a scholarship though, he also held offers from South Dakota, Wyoming, North Dakota, and others, so non-Nebraskans see something in him.

Then there is even another Nebraska-native on the team, 6’7″ Adam Dykman.  I am pretty nervous about Dykman, I constantly saw his name in the paper for big games, and I know a few guys hugely into Nebraska high school basketball that were upset that UNO or Nebraska did not give an offer to this kid.  I am afraid he’s psycho angry about that.

With such a strong group of starting guards, I don’t think it’s going to come down to the post players for the Jackrabbits.  The show Scrubs had a great core of cast with JD, Turk, Kelso, Elliot, and Dr. Cox, would the show have been successful if they threw in a bunch of episodes centered around Ted and made a three episode story arch about Ted?  Many people would have turned away.  I actually would have watched the crap out of that.  So how many times are you going to hear a ESPN3 commentator say: The Jackrabbits are having a great night with Marshall, Bittle, Parks, and Tellinghuisen knocking down all these outside shots and beating their defenders to the rim; but I really think they need to get the ball into Devine to work his magic on Dexter Werner?  Probably never.


IUPUI

Nick Osborne, Matt O’Leary, Evan Hall, and Noah Thomas

Nick Osborne and Matt O’Leary were decent players at Loyola and will now have increased roles with the Jaguars.  Evan Hall and Noah Thomas are both true freshman, so the hard part for the Jags is throwing in an entirely new core of post players into their lineup.  Hall is a 6’7″ freshman that was rated as a 3 star recruit and had offers from Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, and Lipscomb out of high school.  Hall is a 6’9 and 235 post from the state of Indiana that averaged a double-double in his senior season.  The Jaguars also survived last year on having guards playing as post players, so it’s not like they cannot win without a post game at all.  Essentially, the team decided that they didn’t like the cast of the last season of the Power Rangers and went with entirely new ranger squad, and they feel pretty comfortable about how the new cast will go.  How many other places are you going to find a Power Rangers reference talking about sports?  Actually, I don’t think this my first time on here.


IPFW

Joe Reed, Brent Calhoun, Andrew Poulter, Racine Talla

You’ve got to feel confident in a 6’8″ guy like Joe Reed that has shot about 55% for his career.  Like Jake White and Tre’Shawn Thurman getting more shots because of departures, you’ve got to think that Reed’s shot attempts will go up with the loss of Steve Forbes.  Reed is another guy with potential to be a 10 and 8 guy.  His other three front court teammates are kind of question marks.

I’ve seen people bragging up Andrew Poulter, and I do not get it.  He was a 7 and 5 guy as a sophomore at a junior college, and he also shot 47% from the field.  I watched a video of him in high school working on some 1 on 1 moves, he was looking like an All American but he’s 6’11” and 275 going up 1 on 1 against some 6’5″ 175 pound guy.  Granted, it is high school and I doubt there were too many guys near his size to work out with, but still, I don’t see how his 1 on 1 skills will ever come into play from the Summit.  Then there is sophomore Racine Talla who is 6’9″ but hasn’t played a game of basketball in 3 years.  It just seems like a gamble to take them seriously at this point.  Maybe Jon Coffman realizes how to use them appropriately though, we will clearly have to wait and see.  And many people have them picked as the 4th best team in the conference, so maybe I am just a moron.  95% chance that I am a moron.


Oral Roberts

Brandon Conley, Tre Vance, AJ Owens, and Darian Harris

Did you know this team led the Summit League in blocks per game last season?  They essentially did not need production offensively from their post players as they had Obi Emegano, Kory Billbury, and Bobby Word to take on a bulk of the scoring, so they really just needed their post players to play defense and make great outlet passes.  I don’t think people are realizing how important Denell Henderson was to this team.  None of these players are huge scoring threats, and a lot of people are high on Owens even though he basically only got minutes when the Golden Eagles were getting killed last season.  He shot 40% from the field, and he was basically playing against other teams’ 3rd string most of the time.  Darian Harris also seems like he should be a shooting guard, but the ORU had to use him at the 4 position several times last season due to lack of a post.

I am nervous for Scott Sutton this season, but not in a way that I think he’s going to get fired or anything.  I really do not think he has a great roster this season, but it is Sutton and Obi Emegano.  I love hearing rumors every off season about schools looking at Sutton as a head coaching hire, but we may not get that this April and May.  If Sutton can come in top three of the league this season, I really think he deserves coach of the year, but I don’t think he’ll get it.


Denver

Marcus Byrd, Daniel Amigo, Christian Mackey, and 1 of 2 freshman.

I am scared for Denver this season.  A few have selected them to finish in last this season, CBS Sports rated them as the 3rd best team in the Summit League but it was pointless.  It is really hard to look at Denver and say they have the best players in anything, not because of a lack of talent, but because of the offense that Joe Scott runs.  Marcus Byrd averaged 8.5 points per game as a junior, 8.5 at Denver is like averaging 13 any place else.  Byrd can also step out and take the three, he actually has the highest three point field goal percentage of any player returning to the Summit League this season, and he makes nearly 2 threes a game.

Daniel Amigo was also giving the Pioneers pretty good minutes as a freshman, but his season ended early due to injury.  The Pioneers also have a 6’7″ freshman named Abiola Akintola from Australia, who was not widely recruited, but he averaged 17.8 ppg and 6 rebounds per game in the U18 Australian Junior Championships, whatever the heck that is.  I know there are a lot of question marks for international players, and it could be difficult to figure out if he is even the right fit for Denver, but it could be something amazing watching him develop.


Western Illinois

Tate Stensgaard, Jalen Chapman, Mike Miklusak, and the mystery man

All are average guys that on any other team in the Summit League would be role players, and really they are just role players for Western Illinois, but they give a lot of minutes to the Leathernecks when they are available.  They many lost the last 13 of 14 games of the season because they had no Stensgaard or Chapman for that time, but still, could they have made the difference.  The team has 4 freshman post players that will mix in.  I wonder how they will work out.

 

 

 

Who has the best Big 3 in the Summit League?

Basketball, meh, mainly the NBA has entered into an era of looking at teams by asking the question: Who has the best Big 3?  Having a Big 3 certainly is key, but really I think it’s just as important to follow up with who has better role players to back up Big 3?  Could the 2008 Boston Celtics have won an NBA championship without their young starters Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo, and older bench players of PJ Brown, Sam Cassell, and James Posey?  But while we are on the subject, that I brought up, let’s take a look at who could have the best Big 3 in the Summit League in the 2015-2016 season.


 

SDSU:

Jake Bittle, George Marshall, Deondre Parks

There is little doubt that the Jackrabbits will have the best guard trio in the league.  Each averaged double figures in scoring, and all three can defend the perimeter.  Each averaged double figure scoring, and Bittle has the highest field goal percentage of any returning player to the Summit league at 53.4 %.  The Jackrabbits also have 3 of the top 5 returning players in 3 point field goals made, Marshall made 64 threes in 2014-2015 and he did not even play the entire season.  The big question mark is; with Cody Larson graduating, who is going to rebound and defend in the post for them?

The Jackrabbits are returning 74% of their scoring from 2014-2015.
The Jackrabbits are returning 74% of their scoring from 2014-2015.

Role Players:

Reed Tellinghuisen, 6-6 SO:  If you look at the Jackrabbits fan forum, someone posted pictures of Tellinghuisen lifting weights, which is not weird at all.  He does appear as if he has added some weight onto his frame, which is great as he will be used more at the 4 position in his second year as a Jackrabbit.  The Summit League has Tellinghuisen, AJ Jacobson, and Tre’Shawn Thurman all in the same class at the forward position.  How excited are you for 2017-2018?

Connor Devine/Ian Theisen:  These two split time and basically taking turns of who was backing up All Conference player Cody Larson.  These two combined for for almost 5 points and 4 rebounds per game.  With a young front court, these two will be counted on more in the 2015-2016 season to step up.

Skyler Flatten, 6-6 SO: Flatten was actually getting a decent amount of minutes, but then something happened.  George Marshall happened.

Keaton Moffitt, 6-5 SR:  Keaton Moffitt also happened.  The transfer, from Division 2 Sioux Falls, made quite the impact on his team with his leadership and hustle, routinely making big plays when it was needed most.


 

Omaha:

Devin Patterson, Tre’Shawn Thurman, Marcus Tyus, (Jake White)

The Mavericks could have a Big 4 if Jake White is healthy, with as many injuries as he had in his junior season, it is going to be like getting an entirely new player in the line up.  It seemed as if the entire team faced injuries issues last season, so if the Mavs can stay healthy, they can be a very dangerous team in the Summit League with their senior back court of Patterson and Tyus to go along with their rising sophomore star Tre’Shawn Thurman.

Random stat:  The Mavericks have the most experienced roster with the average eligible player being 2/3 of the way through their sophomore season, but they have the smallest roster with an average height of 6’4″.  If Zach Jackson, Ben Kositizke, and Zach Pirog all redshirt, the roster gets even smaller, but more experienced.  It is still up for debate if this is one of the meaningless things I have ever posted here.

The Mavericks are looking to make a big jump with a new arena and new era.
The Mavericks are looking to make a big jump with a new arena and new era.

Role Players:

Tra-Deon Hollins, 6-2 JR:  Averaged 17 ppg, 6.2 rpg, and 5.3 apg his freshman season of junior college, he appears to be a little bit of everything, and can really help the Mavericks improve their perimeter defense.

Daniel Meyer, 6-9 SO:  Only averaged four and a half minutes a game in 2014-2015, but he is likely to see an increased role with the graduation of Mike Rostampour and the departure of fellow redshirt freshman Rylan Murry.  Meyer appeared to play with a lot of activity on the team’s trip to Italy.

Randy Reed, 6-6 SR:  I’d like to see Reed’s shot chart, I cannot think of many jump shots Reed made, or took.  He really can slash and get to the basket though.  When Marcus Tyus missed the last 6 games of the season, Reed really did a decent job of bringing energy off the bench.  There were many instances in the Mavericks’ home game against Oral Roberts that he made a play to keep Omaha in the game.  I would think with not a ton of post players around the Summit League that Reed will be used as a backup 4.


 

NDSU:

Kory Brown, Carlin Dupree, AJ Jacobson

After losing the Summit League player of the year, Lawrence Alexander, the Bison will look to replace that offense in their back court.  AJ Jacobson said in a Q&A that the Bison are all about a team effort, and know that there is a next one up to take Alexander’s place.  It will probably actually be two up with Kory Brown and Carlin Dupree to take the load on offense over.  Seriously, this team is starting to become the HYDRA of the Summit League.

While this team is still relatively young, they seem to have completely bought into Dave Richman’s schemes.  A Big 3 probably does not really matter to the Bison, they appear to be ready for anything.  Looking at their roster, they probably have the most complete roster in the Summit League.  It is also probably worth nothing; that while the Bison are a young team, their roster has the most division one starts on the active roster for 2015-2016 with 197 starts.  Kory Brown is after all a 4 year starter…assuming he is going to start this season.

The Bison will continue to work as a team after the loss of Lawrence Alexander.
The Bison will continue to work as a team after the loss of Lawrence Alexander.

Role Players:

Chris Kading, 6-8 SR:  Kading averaged 5.3 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game in 2014-2015.  He is not much of a threat on offense, but he does rarely make mistakes.  Actually the Bison rarely make mistakes as a team.  Kading led the Summit League in blocks per game.

Paul Miller, 6’4 SO:  Miller averaged 6.7 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game, while making 37 threes in his freshman campaign, which is all impressive considering he was sharing the back court with the likes of Lawrence Alexander, Kory Brown, and Carlin Dupree.  He also had 10 games in which he scored in double figures.

Dexter Werner, 6-6 JR:  Had a massive jump from his sophomore to his junior season going from 2.8 points per game to 8.4 points per game.  He also only averaged under 20 minutes per game in 2014-2015.  With Werner coming off the bench, he and Jacobson allow the Bison to be extremely tough at the 4 position for 40 minutes.  It also allows Jacobson to move over to the 3 and play more outside, which is not a bad thing for them.  Werner was second on the team in blocks per game, and is tied with Omaha’s Tre’Shawn Thurman as the 2nd leading shot blocker returning to the league.


 

IUPUI:

Marcellus Barksdale, Darrell Combs, Nick Osborne

A bunch of new faces for IUPUI, which is not a terrible thing.  Marcellus Barksdale is the team’s returning leading scorer, but he can easily fall to the team’s 2nd or 3rd best scorer on the team.  Eastern Michigan transfer Darrell Combs is ready to go and has shown he can get buckets.  I cannot wait for the “combing the court” puns from terrible ESPN3 commentators.  Loyola-Illinois transfer Nick Osborne is expected to make a big impact on this team as well, and will more than likely serve as the team’s primary post presence, as he and other Loyola-Illinois transfer Matt O’Leary are the only upperclassmen post players on the team.  Osborne was known for getting into lots of foul trouble when he was a post player for Loyola.  The Jaguars are going to look entirely different this season.

The Jaguars exceeded expectations in 2014-2015, what can they do with a group of new and improved players?
The Jaguars exceeded expectations in 2014-2015, what can they do with a group of new and improved players?

Role Players:

Seriously, how many 6’5″ guards do the Jaguars need?

Aaron Brennan, 6-6 SO:  Averaged 6.4 points per game in 2014-15 and started in 24 games, but could be moved to the bench with the additions of Osborne and O’Leary.  Not a bad thing for your team to have a guy on your bench with 24 career starts as a freshman.

DJ McCall, 6-5 SO:  Averaged a shade under 5 points per game and had 15 starts on the year.  Could also see an increase of minutes with the graduations of Elijah Ray and Khufu Najee.

The further I get into this, I realize that the entire team is a group of role players.

 


 

South Dakota

Tre Burnette, Tyler Flack, Casey Kasperbauer

I admit that throwing Flack’s name into the mix is a risk.  Due to an injury, he has yet to play under Craig Smith, but Craig is probably going to like using a 6’7″ guy who shot 45% on threes in his sophomore season.  Combine that with Casey Kasperbauer ranking 95th in the nation last season in threes made, and South Dakota will rely on the three ball a lot this season, again.  The trio can really make up for the losses of Tyler Larson and Brandon Bos from last season.

Tre Burnette is the Summit League’s leading returning rebounder from 2014-2015, and Kasperbauer has the most three point field goals made of any returning player to the League, he also has the 3rd highest three point field goal percentage of any returning player.

South Dakota lost 56% of their scoring, that is the most in the Summit League.
South Dakota lost 56% of their scoring, that is the most in the Summit League.

Role Players:

Trey Norris, 6-0 Sr:  Came off the bench in his junior year after being a starter in his sophomore season, but will compete for the starting point guard position with incoming JuCo player, Shy McClelland.  Norris had a drop off in production from his sophomore season under coach Smith, but he can still be a capable part of the offense for the Coyotes.

Eric Robertson, 6-8 Sr:  He made the game winning shot over the Mavericks in Omaha, right?  I just remember the beard, and being incredibly angry.  I do not completely blame him for the Mavericks’ loss, it is just the final image I have in my mind of that game.  Perhaps an increased role in his senior season with the departure of James Hunter, but Craig Smith did a decent job recruiting two 6’9″ freshman (Tyler Hagedorn and Dan Jech) that he may be intrigued to get to the top of the rotation immediately.


 

IPFW

Mo Evans, Max Landis, Joe Reed

I continuously forget about the existence of Max Landis, but he is on the team, I swear it, and he was 4th on the team in scoring last season.  The ‘Dons lost a lot of their post game, and they do not appear to have much replacing what they lost, so the team could rely a lot on Mo Evans to be a star.  Landis will be there to shoot the three, and Joe Reed will need to be counted on even more to be a stretch 4 than he has before.  Seriously, this is the first time we have seen the ‘Dons without a serious threat of a stretch 4.  Yep, first time in 5 years?  Reed did shoot 36% from behind the line last year, but did not take many as he only made ten on the year.  The team will be counting on two junior college transfers to fill the void of what they lost from last season, and will need them to adjust and contribute quickly.

Side note:  The ‘Dons will have transfers from Louisiana Tech, Purdue, and Bradley all eligible to play in 2016-2017.

The 'Dons have the fewest number of Division 1 starts by players on their roster.
The ‘Dons have the fewest number of Division 1 starts by players on their roster.

Role Players:

Andrew Poulter, 6-11 JR: Played in seven games his redshirt freshman year at Arkansas-Little Rock before transferring to Western Texas for his sophomore season, where he averaged 7 points and 5 rebounds per game.

DeAngelo Stewart, 6-6 JR:  Played his freshman season at Alabama State before transferring to Northwest Tech in Kansas for his sophomore season.  Averaged 16 ppg, 6 rpg, and shot 47% from the field in his sophomore season.  A few people have already tabbed Stewart as the Newcomer of the Year in the Summit League.

 


 

Western Illinois:

Garret Covington, JC Fuller, and Jabari Sandifer

It is hard to determine who the Leathernecks’ third best player is behind Covington and Fuller.  Sandifer was the third leading scorer on the team with 7.4 points per game, and he also led the Summit League in assists with 4.3 per game.  He even had a great opening weekend in the Summit with 22 points and 4 assists against IPFW and 20 points and 6 assists against Omaha, but then he was basically never heard from again only scoring in double figures one more time through the season.

Western Illinois actually has a lot of experience on their team, but how much faith can you put in a team that has gone 1-27 on the road in the last two seasons.  The last time they won a road game was January 30th, 2014 against IPFW.

The Leathernecks return 89% of their scoring, can they see improvement if they stay healthy?
The Leathernecks return 89% of their scoring, can they see improvement if they stay healthy?

Role Players:

Mike Miklusak, 6-6 JR:  Played in 15 games because of a season ending injury  He had 21 points and 7 rebounds against Omaha.  I am putting my head down right now.

Jamie Batish, 6-4, SR:  A bit of an inconsistent guard, but gives the Leathernecks an option on offense after averaging 6.4 points per game in his first season with the team.  He had 15 points in a win against Omaha.  Seriously, I am going to punch myself in the face right now.

Tate Stensgaard, 6-8 SR:  Played in 20 games before facing a season ending injury.  Has shot over 56% on his career as a Leatherneck.


 

Denver:

Marcus Byrd, Nate Engesser, Bryant Rucker

Honestly it is pretty difficult to analyze a team’s Big 3 when they run the Princeton offense.  Excuse me, I have to take a break, I just had a random memory of Barry Collier being a terrible basketball coach.

Okay, I am back… With their offense you need guys that take high percentage shots.  These three seniors-to-be had a combined shooting percentage of nearly 50% from the field and 42% on threes.  Marcus Byrd has the highest three point field goal percentage for any player returning to the Summit League.  The Summit League has been more difficult for Joe Scott and the Pioneers than it was for them against the Sun Belt and WAC, which hopefully is not all that surprising.  The Pioneers have gotten worse each of the last three seasons going from 22 wins to 16 wins to 12 wins, can they go for 10 this year?  With their high shooting percentage, the Pioneers can always be in a game, but with the Summit League having so many good shooters, teams have been able to take over games down the stretch.  It is pretty difficult to beat at home as they are 32-13 at home over the last 3 years, and last year they lost 7 games at home by a combined total of 39 points…one of those games was a 16 point loss to IPFW as an outlier.

Denver does not care about a Big 3.
Denver does not care about a Big 3.

Role Players:

Daniel Amigo, 6-10 SO:  5.7 ppg, 46 FG%

Jake Pemberton, 6-3 SO: Likely to see an increased role with the graduation of Brett Olson and Cam Griffin.


 

Oral Roberts:

Obi Emegano, Brandon Conley, Scott Sutton

With Korey Billbury and Bobby Word departing from the team, I really cannot come up with who is going to make up a Big 3 for the Golden Eagles.  On paper, it looks kind of rough for Oral Roberts and coach Sutton, but Sutton is probably one of the top coaches in the Summit League and entering his 17th season as the head coach of the Golden Eagles, so they cannot really be counted out, especially if they arguably the best player in the conference.  You want to talk about new faces?  Oral Roberts is going to be like trying to figure out who is joining the cast of another Expendables film.

Obi Emegano is a popular choice of Preseason Player of the Year.
Obi Emegano is a popular choice of Preseason Player of the Year.

Role Players:

Seriously have no idea what will be happening with this team.  Perhaps this is what happens to a team when they change conferences so often…naw what I mean Denver?  Brandon Conley is probably the only for sure thing on the team, everyone else seems to be the mystery man with his trigger on the finger.  The Golden Eagles can probably get above .500 in the conference with Emegano and Sutton though.

 

 

 

2015-2016 opponent preview, Game 2: Kansas City

This is where I could have done a preview of the Mavericks’ second opponent, St. Mary’s from Minnesota, but they play in Division 3 and on top of that St. Mary’s lists the game as an exhibition.  What fun would that be?  It does feel good to actually have 100% confidence in these games though, it is not like in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 when you just were not really sure what UNO would do against these teams.

So we move on looking at the UMKC Kangaroos.

Last year I heavily debated of going to Kansas City to watch this game.  I do not recall why I did not go, but it was more than likely because I had no one that wanted to brave the exhausting three hour drive with me.  Seriously, you have to drive through Iowa for part of it.  I listened to the game on the radio, but found myself screaming like I was Krusty the Klown screaming at the Washington Generals for just watching the Harlem Globetrotters spin the ball on their fingers.

tumblr_lzxzoyDrxN1r8yo2fo3_1280

The Mavs were getting Jake White back into the lineup after being injured in their home opener against Central Arkansas.  UMKC was playing without probably their best post player, former Bradley Brave, Shayok Shayok.  I was not feeling like it would be an easy win, but I was still expecting a win that day.  The Mavs ended up losing to the ‘Roos with a 20 point performance from CJ Carter and a 19 point and 8 rebound performance from Tre’Shawn Thurman.  You can pretty much completely attribute the loss to a season high 26 turnovers.  26!  That is scary!  That is sick, and not the good kind of sick that all the kids are throwing around now a days.  The kind of sick you feel when you find out that person you hate at work is getting their cubicle moved right next to you.  That Mavs even outrebounded UMKC by 14 on the day.  This is still the one game of the 2014-2015 season that I look back most and say, if they replayed that game, UNO wins the game.

This loss, in my opinion, was more embarrassing than any other Mav loss on the year.  More embarrassing than Chicago State.  Even though the Kangaroos beat Missouri earlier in the season, the Mavs were a superior team but could not handle the ball.  The game was right there.  UMKC took their decent back court and attacked UNO’s poor perimeter defense.  Martez Harrison, who became the first D-1 All American (Honorable Mention) that UMKC has ever had, dropped 25 on the Mavericks.  Frank Williams Jr, doubled his season average with 16, these 6’4″ to 6’6″ wing players always seemed to have out of body experiences against the Mavs last season.

Martez Harrison was also the 2015-2016 WAC player of the year.
Martez Harrison was also the 2014-2015 WAC player of the year.

The obvious hope this upcoming season is that this will not be a glaring issue anymore.  Tra-Deon Hollins is expected to help with this perimeter defensive issues, and in my opinion, Randy Reed should hopefully get a little more playing time to guard against those 6’4″ to 6’6″ wing players that gave the Mavs fits last season.

In that wing position, the ‘Roos have sophomore Darius Austin, who averaged 4.4 ppg and 4.2 rpg in 20 minutes per game.  He did have 9 points and 8 rebounds against the Mavs last season.  There is also junior Broderick Newbill, who averaged 4.2 ppg and 2.1 rebounds per game in about 12 minutes a game last season.  He had 4 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals against the Mavericks last season.  UMKC will also be adding a 6’3″ junior college transfer, Deshawn King, who averaged about 12 points per game, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.  King was not a tremendous threat from long range being that he made 33% of his threes in in his sophomore season, but he only attempted about one three point shot a game.  He also only shot 60% from the field.

My perception (actually this blog is pretty much 100% about my perceptions) is that one of the Mavs top two strengths this upcoming season will be their post game.  The Mavs lost crazy inside force Mike Rostampour, and that will hurt, but how good can the post look with a hopefully healthy Jake White and a stronger and more experienced Tre’Shawn Thurman?  Not to mention, Daniel Meyer is sounding as if he has improved his game a tremendous amount, based on the Mavs Euroblog.  The Mavs have a good three headed monster down low, and maybe even a 4 headed monster if freshman Zach Pirog is ready to play.  But if the Mavs have 26 turnovers again, or hell, even 25 turnovers, it is not like they are going to have enough opportunities to get the ball down low to the triple dragon.

With that in mind, the Kangaroos do not have much of a post game.  Can Shayok play this year?  He is basically their entire post game, but only played in 8 games last season.  UMKC will also be adding former Youngstown State forward, 6’7″ Kyle Steward, to their post game.  Steward spent his sophomore season at Butler Community College, who is pretty much good all the time (they went 29-4 last season), where he averaged about 13 points per game and 5 rebounds per game.  Steward can also step out and hit the three, so he can really help open things up for UMKC.

UMKC is a team the Mavs are kind of used to.  The proximity and somewhat equal size which has made this a little bit of a rivalry, it seemed like UNO-UMKC was going to create a nice little rivalry as Summit League members.  It would make sense for UMKC to come back to the Summit League and make it an even 10 teams, especially since UMKC does not have one conference opponent in the WAC that they do not have to fly to play.  Until they man up and face the reality that they have to come back to the Summit League, it will probably be a regular thing to play UMKC once a year.

The Kangaroos were the first team that UNO got a Summit League regular season win over, and the first team that the Mavericks swept in the regular season.  Okay, maybe that is why they do not want to come back.

It is definitely a good thing that this game will be played in Omaha.  Last season, for their conference schedule, the Kangaroos were 6-1 at home and only 2-5 on the road, so they are not that great away from the state of Missouri…but they did pick up a win in double overtime at Indiana State in their non conference schedule.  The Mavericks will have two games under their shorts at the Baxter Arena, and things are starting to look pretty good in Mavtown as it is, so hopefully a good crowd can make it out to this Tuesday game.

One difference with the Mavs as compared to last season is that when the Mavericks traveled to Kansas City, they were really still trying to figure things out.  The team was already trying to figure out where the additions of Tre’Shawn Thurman, Randy Reed, Tim Smallwood, Rylan Murry, Daniel Meyer, Kyler Erickson, and Devin Newsome were going to fit into a rotation.  That is even with trying to figure out what to do with Jake White, who was coming back with an injury at that point.  This season, there is not going to be a lot of process trying to figure those things out, and the Mavs will be trying to figure out how to add just three or four players into the mix (Gibson, Hollins, Pirog, and Jackson).  The team has had a trip to Italy and more practice to figure out rotations, so it will not take as long for the Mavericks to figure out who everyone is.  The team is going to be slightly deeper this season, which makes since now that they are a full fledged member of division one now.

So how are the Mavs’ chances against the Kangaroos this November?  The Mavs can hopefully take better care of the ball and be able to edge out UMKC this season.  Really, how could they not take better care of the ball this time around?  This is not the same Kangaroos team that Omaha swept in their first year in the Summit, really either are the Mavericks…the only player they still have from that team is Marcus Tyus.  This game can still be as close as last season, but with better defense the Mavericks will look to better contain Martez Harrison.