Ok folks, the meat of the order is here. Time to see just how good our boys in red will be on the court this year. The football season has ended, and it's time to fill that painful wait with some Cornhusker basketball.
Now, I'd like to think that in terms of interest level...Nebraska Basketball is higher on that list than tailgating recipes, the latest on-campus rumors, and what 3rd grader has verbally committed to play in Lincoln after he graduates. (I may be wrong about the last one). I understand that the round-ballers have something to prove before we can expect hoards of fans blogging during a basketball gameday, but let's try to get excited while we can! Frigid months are ahead, and nothing beats the winter blues like popcorn, beer, a warm Devaney Center on a Tuesday night watching the Big Red beat the snot out of Kansas! (Please God, let that happen) For those of us who can't make it to Lincoln for the games, I'll be hosting game threads all season long..so get your frostbitten butts on here and cheer for the Huskers!
We're 12-3 and in a pretty decent spot right now in terms of getting to post-season play. It's not perfect. We're not Kansas. We don't have the horses in the stable that Texas has. But if the Jayhawk football team can put together a few years of elite play, then why couldn't the Husker basketball team do the same? I'm optimistic. Last year we played KU close at home, beat # 17 Mizzou, and upset a #16 Texas squad. Squeaking in a few good wins against ranked teams could very well give us a pass to the dance...and just the possibility of that would be enough to get me by until my toes thaw out.
So...... here we go. I'm calling for all you fans to get behind the Cornhusker basketball team, at least until they prove that they don't deserve it! Check out the Texas A+M breakdown after the jump.
The Aggies come into this game sporting an 11-3 record with their most notable wins coming versus Minnesota and Clemson. Minnesota was ranked #16 before that win, and Clemson currently sits at #21 in the coaches poll. In my opinion, the Ag's are one of 5 teams that are jamming up the middle of the Big 12 right now, along with Nebraska.
Leading the team with 17.4 PPG is senior guard Donald Sloan, followed by 10.3 off the bench from BJ Holmes. The Aggies lost senior guard Derrick Roland to a gruesome leg injury just before Christmas in a game against Washington. Roland was averaging 25 minutes and 10.5 points per game before the accident, and was regarded as the Big 12's top perimeter defender.
The Aggies pulled off what could be described as either miraculous or disgusting comeback last year in Lincoln depending on who's side you're on. Down 18 points in the 2nd half, Texas A+M stuck the final dagger in the hearts of the Huskers with a 3 pointer at the buzzer to seal the win. That was the only contest last season between the two schools, and the Huskers got the best of the Aggies 2 years ago in College Station.
The Aggies have won their last 11 home games, and are 24-2 at home since the start of the 2008-09 season.
|No.||Player||Ht. - Pos.||Year||PPG||Reb||Ast|
|5||Dash Harris||6'1" Guard||So.||5.1||3.1||3.3|
|15||Donald Sloan||6'3" Guard||Sr.||17.4||3.9||2.6|
|22||Khris Middleton||6'7" Guard||Fr.||4.6||3.3||1.1|
|45||Nathan Walkup||6'7" Forward||Jr.||6.4||3.4||0.9|
|0||Bryan Davis||6'9" Forward||Sr.||8.9||7.4||1.1|
Biggest wins came against USC and Tulsa. Neither team is ranked, but Tulsa was a solid win over a 11-3 team that beat up on Oklahoma State earlier in the season. Nebraska is almost a mirror image of the football team, boasting a stout defense that can hang with just about anyone in the land...but also having to make up for a lacking offense that can take the team right out of games on their own. Nebraska is a horrid 63% from the free throw line this year, and is worst in the Big 12. Cashing in on every single offensive opportunity is critical to winning games in the Big 12 this year. On the flip side, when they play smart and their transition game is working, the Huskers are capable of beating the best of the conference as well.
After some minor foot trouble, Ryan Anderson is back in the lineup. Anderson is the clear leader on this team, both statistically and emotionally. The Huskers need Anderson to spark their intensity during games, something that Nebraska has had some trouble with. Lackluster starts and poor free throws have been some of the sore points this year. If Sadler can keep these guys focused and intense, and they hit their free throws, there's no reason they can't beat anyone in the Big 12.
|No.||Player||Ht - Pos.||Year||PPG||Reb||Ast|
|3||Brandon Richardson||6'0" Guard||So.||8.1||1.9||2.2|
|44||Ryan Anderson||6'4" Guard||Sr.||11.5||4.9||1.9|
|34||Lance Jeter||6'3" Guard||Jr.||7.3||3.1||4.0|
|5||Sek Henry||6'4" Guard||Sr.||7.9||3.7||2.7|
|21||Jorge Brian-Diaz||6'11" Center||Fr.||8.5||4.3||1.2|
Final Thoughts? I think that we need to play well. Very well. If this game were in Lincoln, I'd say we have a good shot, but to be honest..I think it's gonna take a very clean game by the Huskers if they want to win. Not neccesarily fantastic, just clean. Make the damn free throws, don't turn the ball over, play your style of defense and you should be okay. I think that Doc knows his team needs to kick things into a second gear. He's made comments that the speed of conference play is going to surprise his guys. I agree, but don't think that we can't handle it.
If the Huskers can score points and play sound ball, we'll win. The loss of Roland really hurts the Aggies, and should give our guards a chance to run free a bit. Look for Texas A+M to try and hammer it inside and take advantage of our freshman down low with quickness and athleticism. Look for Nebraska to hold the Aggies bench scoring to a minimum while getting good production off their own bench from Bear Jones.
Nebraska in a close one.....61-60.
Tipoff: 3:01pm - Reed Arena in College Station
Radio: IMG Husker Sports Network (Kent Pavelka and Andy Markowski)
Television: ABC Affiliate in some areas, Big 12 Network (Formerly ESPN Plus), and ESPN Fullcourt.
Internet Radio: www.Huskers.com
Internet Video: www.espn360.com
GO BIG RED!