Hi guys, we're back for another Nebraska men's basketball chat. The Huskers are 2-0, but the schedule gets tougher starting Saturday with a home game against Louisiana Tech. Next week sees a trip to california for the Wooden Legacy, and a game at Clemson.
Nebraska beat Division II Mary 70-38 last night, with the newcomers getting the majority of the minutes. The new guys need all the court time they can get, and I think we saw a couple of them take a small step forward last night.
@MattinATL: Gill is really pressing right now, and Tim Miles said as much last night in his postgame press conference. If he can get over the hump, I think he can become that guy, but he's trying to make everything happen at once right now. I think two of the freshmen, Isaiah Roby and Jeriah Horne, can help fill that role. Horne has kind of been the forgotten man in this freshman class, but he's shown a really nice offensive game through the first two contests.
@MattinATL: Another guy to keep an eye on is Evan Taylor. The transfer from Samford is a 6-5 guard who the coaching staff really seems to like.
@MattinATL: They have to defend like they have through the first two games. I really like the way Nebraska has defended, even though it's been against subpar competition, so that has to continue. I think this team is better at defending the 3-point line that last year's squad, and having a healthy Ed Morrow to go with Michael Jacobson and Jordy Tshimanga in the paint gives those guards a better opportunity to lock down guy son the perimeter. Do that, and continue to get some more bench production, and I think NU wins that one.
@ChrisinOmaha: You always have to wonder about that Creighton game. They seem to be in Nebraska's head, for whatever reason, and Greg McDermott has never lost a game to Tim Miles. it's beating a dead horse, but I think if Nebraska can develop its bench they'll have a chance in both games. I like NU's starting 5, but right now the depth isn't there. Wisconsin is good, and I don't think they played their best game last night. It helps having both of those games in Lincoln, though.
@marcus: I think Tai Webster can be one of those guys. He hasn't had to do that yet, but I think he has another gear in him if he needs it. If Gill can break out of his funk, he's a guy with the athleticism to get to the rim against just about anyone.
@Jeff: La. Tech lost a close game at South Carolina to open the season, so they won't be a pushover. They won 23 games last season, and they have three seniors on this year's roster, including two redshirt seniors, and they have size to match Nebraska. Dayton is really good. They're knocking on the door of the top 25, and Archie Miller can really coach. They went down to Alabama earlier this week and got a nice win, but lost one of their better players to a leg injury late in the game. That's an interesting game for the Huskers. One they probably won't be favored in, but win it, and maybe that sparks some momentum. UCLA is another really good team. Lonzo Ball is one of the best freshmen in the country, and they scored about a million points in their opener.
@MattinATL: I agree. This is the most talented team he's had, but the trick, obviously, is making that translate to the court. There are a lot of options there, especially on offense.
@ChrisinOmaha: Ha, well I don't know about improving his draft stock, but Andrew White III has started both of Syracuse's first two games and leads them in scoring at 18 ppg. Shooting 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range. There were some pundits in the preseason who thought he wouldn't have a big role with the Orange this year. He's proved them wrong so far.
@Jordan: It's a brutal non-conference schedule. I think they come out of it over .500, only because there are games left against South Dakota, Gardner Webb and Southern. If they lose to Dayton in the first round of the Wooden Legacy, they will probably get Portland the next day, which should be another W. But obviously Creighton, Clemson and Kansas will be favorites against the Huskers. I think 7-5 is reasonable for this team in the non-conference and maybe steal one somewhere to get to 8-4.
@MattinATL: I really think it's the Creighton game, just because the Jays have owned NU the last five years. It's in Lincoln, Creighton will likely be ranked high, and they've already beaten maybe the best team in the Big Ten. If Nebraska can somehow get that one, I think that scares off a lot of demons. They key there though, is to avoid a letdown a few days later against Kansas. You don't want to beat Creighton, then go down to Lawrence and get drilled by 30. Beating Clemson on the road could be a big one too. They have a first-team all-ACC guy in Jaron Blossomgame, but I think Nebraska can match up with them in other areas.
@Moose: He's been good. Probably better than anyone expected through two games. We'll see what happens when the competition gets better and teams start game planning more to stop him.
@MattinATL: Those are the games NU needs to win to build a resume, for sure. Clemson will be favored, but they won't be a huge favorite. Miles said throughout the preseason that he built this schedule with the idea that, if NU can get to 19 or 20 wins, they'll have a good enough resume to get a NCAA Tournament bid. This is one the Huskers could really use to help themselves.
@LB: I agree that he's pressing. I think his head is probably swimming a lot too. He's only been playing basketball for five years, so he has a lot to learn and a short time in which to learn it. He's going to have his bad moments. Even last night against a Division II team, there were a couple times where he grabbed an offensive rebound and immediately brought the ball down to his waist or tried to dribble, and then got it knocked away. I think at this point, if he can protect the rim, grab a few rebounds and not turn it over while he's in there, Miles and company would be happy. But you're right -- he's along way from being ready to bang inside with some of the teams NU will see this year.
@LB: The other thing with that is that Miles will keep putting him out there. The best way to learn is to get out there and do it, so Nebraska is probably willing to live with some ugly moments because it will make him better down the road. You just hope his confidence doesn't take a hit if he continues to struggle.
@MattinATL: Nothing new at this point. Nebraska has one more open scholarship for next year, and they won't fill it until the spring. I'm curious to see what direction they go. They have a lot of 6-7,6-8, 6-9 wings, so maybe another point guard or maybe try to find another big man.
@marcus: I think the starting lineup now is the one we'll see for the majority of the season, unless there's an injury or someone makes a big jump. Those are five guys Miles really trusts, and they haven't given him any reason to think about any changes right now.
@Bruce: Yep I think you're right. It's been tough to get a read on what the rotation might be through these first two games, just because they've both been a little funky. Like you said, Miles played the starters the first eight minutes of the second half against Sacramento State before anyone came off the bench, and then last night we saw the new guys play the last 10 minutes with no subs. I get the feeling Miles is still trying to find 3-4 guys he can trust from that bench group to put into the regular rotation.
@MattinATL: I am 1,000 percent on board with this and have been yelling for it for several years. The school uses the #Nebrasketball hashtag. It's heavily used by the fans. it's catchy. It needs to happen. I would pay good money for a shirt that had "Nebrasketball" written in script letters across the front of it.
@MattinATL: It's crazy. I think that stuff would sell like hot cakes. Maybe it's time for a strongly-worded column.