Previewing the Nebraska Cornhuskers

My roommate, who shall here be known as AB -- of TBAB News Team fame, during our 'coverage' of Hurricane Ike -- was kind enough to write up a synopsis of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and this weekend's game.  AB is a big Husker fan and a student of the game of basketball.  And no, smartass, that's not an oxymoron. -- TB

Just when I thought Nebraska had regained some sort of identity, we go out and lay an egg against Iowa State. Numerous team issues have been documented around the program, most notably, the players' lack of commitment to winning (partying, etc). While I do believe we have a hard-working staff, there is a major difference between hard-working and efficient. Efficiency is exactly what this program is missing right now, well, that and a legit big man.  (Or, really, any big man...TB)

Nebraska is currently sitting at 10-4 (1-1 in the Big 12). Doc and Co. have turned up the defensive pressure this season, allowing only  56.1 ppg, which currently leads the Big 12. With most of the focus on the defensive side of the ball, the Huskers' offense has yet to come around. Averaging a league low 66.5 ppg (yes, we are even below Colorado), the NU offense will need a spark if they intend to hang with Kansas State.

Steve Harley (12.5 ppg) and Ade Dagunduro (11.0 ppg), lead the way for the Huskers. Steve has been very sporadic, but yet consistent. He isn't putting up flashy numbers, but always seems to get his points (whether he shoots 6 or 16 times). Ade is on the opposite end of the spectrum, he has shown the ability to put up big numbers (20, 19, and 18), but has been held below 7 points a total of six times this season. Paul Velander, Cookie Miller, and Sek Henry have all shown the ability to score, but not at the level we expected. In all reality, it is a total crap shoot to predict how the scoring column will look, we just hope our total is greater than the Wildcats.

A Closer Look
Points For: KSU (+13)
Points Against: NU (-6)
Rebounding: KSU (+11)
3-Point Shooting: KSU (+11 %)
FT Shooting: NU (+4%) *KSU has attempted 150 more FT's than the Huskers.

Keys to Winning (for NU)

Rebounding

#1 KSU against #12 Nebraska, that does not bode well for the Huskers. Giving up 11 (on the stat line), could easily translate into 22 extra points for the Wildcats. Can we do our work early, establish position, and get the boards? That will be a HUGE focus for me, and hopefully for this team. Allowing KSU "extra" possessions will essentially put us in our own grave. We have to hit the boards, no excuses.

Defensive Pressure

KSU has the ability to score, so we cannot be complacent on the defensive end of the court. If we play like we did against Missouri, we should win by 10+. If we play like we did against Iowa State, we lose by 15+ points. We must work to contain Pullen and Clemente, and hope to keep Sutton, Samuels, and Kent from scoring inside (garbage points). If we keep KSU below 60, we should win this game. Anything over 60, and we could be in trouble.

Shot Selection

When teams out rebound us, they will get more chances at the goal. Therefore, we need to have better shot selection, especially at home where we can use the crowd to help energize us. I like seeing Harley off the curl at the elbow, I like seeing Velander shoot when open, and I love seeing Ade attacking the front of the rim. Unfortunately, we tend to subconsciously play away from our strengths and make poor decisions (as evident by the ISU game). Shoot below 44% and I do not like our chances in this game. We must take good shots, make good shots, and get to the line.

Overall, it should be an interesting match-up. NU looks to avoid its 2nd loss in a row, while KSU tries to avoid starting 0-3 in conference play. KSU is not a team to overlook, so I hope we are prepared for this battle from the opening tip. My gut says NU will with with ease, but I think this is a very close game, ultimately going either way. This is honestly a match-up of two teams who seem to have multiple identities. We shall see which team shows up, for both programs.

My Pick:

NU 66
KSU 63

Go Big Red!  (Excuse us all while we puke...TB)

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