Saturday Hoops Thoughts: The Home Stretch

Remembering Jack Moore

I wasn't old enough to remember Jack Moore.  He played starting at NU the year I was born, coming to NU from Muncie, IN.  He was a small (5-9) guard who was selected as an all-Big 8 first-team selection, and won the award for the best player in the nation under 6 feet.  He is still the 6th-best free-throw shooter in NCAA history.

Sadly, Jack Moore died in a small plane crash on his way to North Platte on March 3, 1984, at the age of 24.  Nebraska has honored his memory by naming our annual team-MVP award for Moore.

Today, Jack Moore is being honored again at halftime of the game with Texas as part of Jack Moore Day.  It's appropriate that the undersized star is being honored by his currently undersized alma mater on a day when they play one of the nation's tallest teams.  Hopefully, we can do him proud.

The North Messes With Texas?

What's up with Texas all of a sudden?  They come to Lincoln after losing back-to-back home games against North-division foes Kansas State and Missouri.  Now, the 'Horns are sitting at 4-3, and can potentially find themselves in 6th place should they lose to NU today.

Nebraska has lost 7 straight to Texas, though the last two games have been decided by a total of 5 points.  Computer simulations are generous to the Huskers: Accuscore projects a coin flip with a slight NU edge; KenPom.com projects a coin flip with a slight Texas edge.

Around the League

Baylor was a tournament lock just a couple weeks ago, but now they are in nothing short of a free-fall.  Sure, they've lost 4 straight to the cream of the Big XII: Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Kansas.  But there has to be some concern, sitting at 3-5.

Kansas State, on the other hand, has bounced back after looking to be completely in disarray out of the gate in conference play.  After an 0-4 start, the Wildcats are 4-4 and tied with Nebraska for fifth in the Big XII, and have wins over Missouri and Texas in that span.

Over at BasketballProspectus, there's an interesting look at each conference's tempo-free stats for conference play.  In the Big XII, there's only 5 teams who are averaging scoring more points per possession than they give up.  Four of them are expected: Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Texas.  The other? Nebraska!

When you think about it, NU hasn't been blown out in Big XII play, and that's reflected in these numbers.  It also means that NU should be able to win any game it plays.  As this team is learning how to win, the season may yet end with a surprise.

The struggling of the mid-level Big XII teams in conference play is having one more effect: the number of Big XII teams projected into the NCAA tournament is all over the place.  Joe Lunardi at ESPN.com only has 4, while Jerry Palm at CBSSports.com has 7!

Velander Academic All-District 7

Paul Velander was the only Big XII basketball player to earn CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District 7 honors.  Congratulations to Paul for all his hard work, both on and off the court.

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