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Nebraska Preview

Due to my Nebraska upbringing, I have quite a few contacts up in the state north of Kansas.  A good friend of mine, Internet moniker "Special Steve" was kind enough to preview the Huskers for us here at BOTC.  SS really knows his basketball, having coached in the past, and knows the Huskers particularly well.  With that, I'll turn over the floor...

First of all, I want to thank TB for inviting me over to the site. He is doing an excellent job over here; I appreciate all that he does.

As for the game, maybe we will get snowed in?! In all fairness, this game has me very worried. There are so many stats we could look at, but let’s first look at the one that stands out the most.

KSU – Averaging  80.4 PPG
NU – Averaging 68. 4 PPG  

This stat is the one that worries me the most. In Nebraska’s last six games, they have failed to score more than 70 points. Kansas State has scored more than 70 points in 12 straight games. Now I know some might think this tends to show potential for a blowout. However, Nebraska does try to enforce a potent defense. The main problem Nebraska has faced this year is the fact that defense has not led to any substantial offensive production. It will be interesting to see how well we can match-up with Kansas State; we have some major issues that need to be addressed.

Another stat that has many Nebraskan’s worried is the fact we are only 1-4 on the road. Bramlidge will be amp’d for this border battle, hopefully it will not affect us. Nebraska has only one player averaging double figures, that being Senior Aleks Maric. Maric has taken a huge step back this year. He will always get his "numbers", but he hasn’t shown to be the physical force he used to be. I know KSU might have some issues guarding him, but the fact their bigs are much more athletic works in KSU’s favor. If Nebraska can get deep into the bench of KSU, we might be able to hang in the game. Our next leading scorer is Ade Dagunduro. Many of you might remember the name; it is former Husker football player Ola Dagunduro’s relative. He is by far our most athletic player, but has failed to show he can be relied upon game in and game out.

It will be interesting to see how we attack KSU on the defensive end. That will dictate our starting line-up in my opinion. Here is what I believe will be our starting five:

PG – Cookie Miller 5’7
SG – Steve Harley 6’0
SF – Ade Dagunduro 6’5
F- Ryan Anderson 6’4
C – Aleks Maric 6’11

We aren’t deep at the post position, and that will show. We have Chris Balham, who has been getting quality minutes as of late. After that, the production drops off. We will see the JUCO "Chinese Sensation" known as Shang Ping. Shang hasn’t adjusted well to the Big 12 level, but he is somewhat agile and might get some minutes against a more athletic front court.

Below I have included a write up I recently did on our team. It lays out what I believe our current "grades" of the team.

Offense: D+

In my opinion, we do not have the offensive fire power to contend at a high level in the Big 12 this year. We have had many surprises, but nothing even close to the consistent play we need to see. As a team, Nebraska averages 68.4 ppg, which is near the bottom of the Big 12.

Aleks Maric (15.4 ppg), is leading the team in scoring, no surprise there. But after Maric, the contributions fade quickly. Ade Dagunduro (9.3 ppg) is doing his best to take pressure of Maric, but others like Ryan Anderson (9.1) have failed to step up to the challenge.

I expect to see Maric get to the 18.0 ppg level soon. I would like to see Ade get to that 14-15 range. He has the talent; it is a matter of believing in the system for him. Anderson has to step up, simple as that. In his defense, he has been playing out of position for most of the year. However, he has the talent to find ways to score; he needs to get motivated to do so. The rumors about Doc possibly red-shirting him are true. He needs to step up his play immediately.  Doc has started to trust former All-American PG Steve Harley. Even though Harley was robbed of being selected to the TB All-Hair Team, he has started to show what we can do in this offense when the handcuffs are taken off.

Defense : A

The Husker's defense continues to be its strength. However, the Big 12 has challenged our team, much like KSU will! Allowing only 58.1 points per game, the Husker's have done a good job at shutting teams down. The "easy" part of the schedule is over, now it is time to see how well we fare against real competition. Kansas came to town and put up crazy numbers, we then followed that up with a couple grudge matches against CU and ISU. There are many dangerous teams in the Big 12; Doc will need to have these guys playing at a very high level. It will be hard to do, but I think we can get at least 6-8 great games from the defense.

Coaching: C+

The staff has taken a step forward in my opinion. We are finally starting to see what lineups work and which ones do not. Doc has also started to take the handcuffs off of the offense, players are starting to believe.

He has gotten 110% out of every player on the defensive end. Now he is trying to help the offense catch up. I know he has been busy preaching defense, let's hope that it pays off as we head to Manhattan.

Prediction:

NU – 71
KSU – 81

I feel that KSU will take care of business in this game. I think we will show some heart, but we just do not have the talent to hang with KSU yet. We have a chance if we can shoot well, and get Beasley in foul trouble. I noticed how KSU struggled with Missouri’s zone towards the end of the game, but that is not our style. Doc firmly believes he can hang with anyone in his man-to-man defense. I firmly believe we will play man, but I hope we at least consider some zone. Here is to a good game, I hope both teams can play well and avoid injury! And thank you for taking down the Jayhawks!!!  (You're very, very welcome.--TB)