Hi everyone. One last Nebrasketball chat in 2016. Huskers got the win last night. It was't pretty, but it was a win. Now we're a week away from opening Big Ten play with games at Indiana and Maryland.
The big story last night, of course, was freshman Jeriah Horne. 18 points in 18 minutes of the bench, and added four rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and a steal. Got his opportunity and took advantage.
@Sylvester: Good question. I don't think so, but if there's a complete meltdown in conference play then I'd say the seat gets pretty dang hot. I've thought all season that he gets at least one more year after this one to try and make it work with the young guys, but it's tough to tell.
@JL: Schedule makers didn't do the Huskers any favors, did they, with those two road games to start out. If I was going to pick one game I think they can win, it's the Maryland game. Terps are 12-1, but haven't played the toughest schedule. Three one-point wins over Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Georgetown, an OT win over Richmond, and close wins over American and Towson. It'll be holiday break up there, so I can't imagine the crowd will be too terribly intimidating. Indiana might be the best team in the league, so I think that's a tough matchup for the Huskers.
@Austin: I said before the season that I think they can go 9-9. I'm sticking with that for now, but reserve the right to change my mind later on :) I think the B1G is down a little this year. The three teams at the top: Indiana, Wisconsin and Purdue, are all excellent. But after that I think there is a lot of parody. If the Huskers can protect home court and steal a couple on the road, they'll have a chance for a good finish.
Obviously looking at the last two games, it's tough to see how NU wins a lot of games in the league. But I'm sure the thought in the locker room is that they bottomed out against Gardner-Webb and started the climb back up against Southern. Stay healthy, start making shots and keep developing the young guys, and who knows what could happen?
The rotation thing has been puzzling, I agree. When you're 11 games into the season, you would think you would have something figured out by now. On the other hand, Nebraska has struggled so much offensively that it might just be a case of trying a bunch of different lineups to see what works.
I also agree on Jacobson. He's 3-20 from 3-point range, and all the makes came in back-to-back games, if I remember correctly. It's probably time to end that experiment. As for Tshimanga, it was nothing he did wrong. Miles said they wanted to go small in the second half, and when they do that, Jordy is the odd man out. But he did play well last night. He's come along nicely.
@Austin: I'm obviously not a coach, but it's strange to see these substitution patterns after 12 games and 50 or so practices. Doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to them a lot of the time.
@Sylvester: I don't know that it's fair to call it a complete failure. Miles took this team to the NCAA Tournament in 2014, a place they hadn't been for 16 years. He generated buzz around the program that had been missing for a while. Now at some point, you have to win consistently. There's no denying that. And the shtick would start to wear thin on me if I were a season ticket holder and watched up.
@ron@georgetown: If I was a player, I would frustrated too. But I've also never met a shot I didn't like so maybe I'm not the best person to offer an opinion on that. I would hope that it's being communicated before the games what the substitution patterns are going to be. For what it's worth, I haven't seen or heard any frustration from the players. Doesn't mean there isn't any, but I haven't seen it.
@ron@georgetown: Man I feel for that guy. He's a super kid who just isn't getting it done right now. He had three wide open looks last night, and two of them rattled in and out. When it goes bad for him, it really seems to go bad. Sounds like his parents are visiting from Australia after Christmas break, so maybe that snaps him out of it. But the numbers aren't good. He's 2-14 from 3 his last 4 games, and 8-42 going back to the Dayton game. Take out South Dakota, when he was 4-9, and that drops to 4-33. Just a brutal stretch.
@HuskGuy: Yep, things are generally never as bad as they seem after a loss like that. I get that fans are frustrated. Hard not to be when a loss like that happens 3 years in a row. But you're absolutely right: the talent level here is better than it's been in many, many years. If these young guys stay in the program, it's easy to get excited about where they could be in another year or two.
@Ryan: Good question. Craig can really coach, and he's proving that at South Dakota. It's tough to say how much assistants affect things like that. But Smith was a guy who had been with Miles for many, many years. Have to think there's been an adjustment period for Miles since Smith left.
@ron@georgetown: This is the stance I'm taking as well. And the guy who is maybe your most talented freshman, Isaiah Roby, sat for three months in the offseason while he recovered from the stress reaction in his pelvis. Miles has shown he can develop players: Webster, Petteway, Andrew White are the obvious ones who come to mind. I think Miles needs a good year next year, and he should have the team to do it.
@Trash: That could certainly be part of it. I think it took Horne a little longer to adjust to the college game as well. It will be interesting to see how they use him going forward. I think he can be a really nice spark off the bench. He's obviously not going to get 18 every night, but I'll take a 6-7 guy who can score inside and out any day. When he's gotten minutes this year, he's played with a ton of confidence, and last night is going to help him even more.
@HuskGuy: Yep. You just never know what's going to happen with transfers. I don't think 8-4 or even 9-3 would be too far-fetched if he was here. Then we're talking about what a great program builder Miles is. But, AW3 isn't here, so you have to make due with what you have. Can't change the past, certainly, but it's interesting to speculate where they might be with him.
@ron@georgetown: Good observations from both you and HuskGuy. I can't imagine there's that much of a drop-off from McVeigh to Horne on the defensive end, and Horne is making shots and is confident. Will be interesting to see how they use him at Indiana. Hoosiers don't play much D, so there are going to be opportunities to get shots.
@Trash: I don't think so. I was actually just looking at Syracuse's schedule and stats. They're 7-4, and it's not like they've lost to any great teams other than Wisconsin (who dominated them). White's averaging 16.2 ppg, and shooting about 41 percent from 3 so you're right - it looks pretty similar to what he did here. I don't see any way he gets drafted, especially with as talented a freshman class as this year's is.
@HuskGuy: No, but it's still fun. I'm a basketball fan like everyone else. It's human nature to wonder what might have been.
@Robin: I think that's a really good assessment. There are only so many truly elite coaches out there, and they're at places where it would be pretty tough/impossible to pry them away to come to Nebraska. I don't think it's unfair to expect a top-half finish every year, but some years that's going to mean finishing in the 6-7-8-9 range when you're going through a rebuilding cycle.
@ron@georgetown: We were talking about this last night up in the media area. You're right. It's frustrating to see that. Jacobson is 6-9 and has good strength. All he's doing by using that dribble is giving defenders a chance to swipe at the ball. Gotta keep it up high and put it on the rim.
@Braden: UNL is on Winter Break, so the students are all gone. Plus the weather Sunday was lousy, which surely kept some people home, as did the no-name opponent. You generally see smaller crowds this time of year, although the last couple have been smaller than in past years at PBA.
@ron@georgetown: In fairness, there were literally no schools looking at Justin Patton when he was a junior in high school. Creighton offered him, he accepted a week or so later, then he blew up over the summer between his junior and senior years. From a fan's perspective I agree with you: NU needs to at least make a run at the best 1 or 2 in-state guys every year. May not get all of them, but have to at least put in the effort.
@Trash: Other thing to consider is that Eichorst didn't hire Miles. There always seems to be a weird dynamic with situations like that. You wonder how much patience Eichorst will have, or if Miles is even "his" guy. But your plan is a good one. I think that's what Nebraska has to do.
@ron@georgetown: With you there. Get in the lane, use your strength, and get those garbage baskets. Would seem to be the perfect role for him.