Diagnosing NU's Late-Game struggles
It's a little hard to swallow that Nebraska is 2-4 in Big XII play when they could very easily be 6-0. They've been ahead in every conference game, and been within 2 points within the final 2 minutes in all 4 losses, including against Top 5-Oklahoma. So, why can't we put it away?
The answer lies at the heart of the biggest problem for the Huskers this year: Those once-per-game eight-minute FG droughts.
The problems were evident, but Arizona State demonstrated how to beat the Huskers: give them open threes and take away the inside lanes. Since ASU held them to 44 points in December, more teams have worked to force Nebraska into being a perimeter shooting team and keeping them from driving the basket.
This is bad for Nebraska because outside of Paul Velander, the Huskers are a very inconsistent 3-point shooting team. Nebraska is best playing its game when it makes baskets and can set up its full-court press to create transition baskets. Unfortunately, with a team full of guards, the tendency is to take the open shot on the perimeter instead of driving to create high-percentage shots.
To win, the Huskers really need to focus on driving the basket, getting easier buckets, and setting up the pressure defense to create turnovers and transition bakets. If they can really focus on that over the perimeter shooting, they may find those long scoring droughts becoming a lot shorter.
Ade Dagunduro on Fire
Since struggling to find his offense and stay out of foul trouble early on, Ade Dagunduro has caught fire since mid-December, with two 20-point games, including a 24-point performance Wednesday against KU.
Diaz's Redshirt a Good Thing Long-Term
I'm very supportive of Brian Diaz's decision to redshirt, despite the help he could bring to this year's squad. The ability to run multiple big men, who will be in much better condition (and thus able to keep up with the speedy guards), can only be helpful down the line.
Around the Nation
Notre Dame was in the Top 10 a few weeks ago, and with their 5th straight loss, are in danger of falling right through the NCAA Tournament Bubble....The SEC lost two coaches last week, and is proving to be a giant cluster of mediocrity. The league looks like it may struggle to get 4 teams in the NCAA Tournament, and none of those are likely to be much higher than a 4 or 5 seed unless they go on a major streak....Kansas may be the fourth-best team in the Big XII yet still win the regular season league crown...