It's a win.
In fact, it's a huge win. Likely the biggest win of the season, unless the Huskers can keep the ball rolling against the Aggies tomorrow. Missouri was no doubt the favorite in this game, but clearly they either believed it too much...or simply not enough. Whatever the case, Missouri was out-hustled, out-rebounded, and all together out-played from the starting tip.
This Nebraska team has made it very clear this season. You never know what you're gonna get with this group. In wins over Oklahoma and Texas Tech, the Huskers started both hot and cold respectively. One day it looks like this team can come from behind, and the next it seems like they have to build a big lead early to have any chance. The latter of which, happened today. The Huskers went on a 16-1 run early, and never looked back. Judging by the post-game comments from Missouri players and coaches, Nebraska was just better prepared, and played harder than the Tigers from start to finish. Of course, it doesn't hurt when everything you throw up goes in.
(more after jump...)
Nebraska shot a blistering 57% from the 3 point arc, and 56% from the floor overall. I don't care who you're playing, if you shoot like that...you will win a lot of games. The Cornhuskers also ruled the boards today, owning an impressive 38-22 edge. Missouri did grab nine steals compared to just 4 for the Huskers, and held a slight edge in blocks 2-1. This is to be expected though, out of a team that runs and presses like they do. What is probably the most surprising to me? 13 Nebraska turnovers. On one hand, I am surprised that we only had 13. I mean come on, some games this year we had that many before halftime! On the other hand, games are usually closer than this when one team is handing out gifts. Seeing this statistic would not lead me to believe that we won by 15 points today.
The intangible here, is that Doc Sadler has been a rowdy burr up Mike Anderson's ass in the last few years. Sometimes you just have a guy's number, and despite losing the 2 regular season games this year to Anderson's Tigers...today's beating had to sting.
On an interesting note, Doc Sadler did not play freshman Christian Standhardinger today, and held Ray Gallegos to just 5 minutes of playing time. This is not the first time that Sadler has benched Christian, and I've not heard as of yet why he didn't play in today's game (The first time it was due to foul troubles and adjusting to our domestic version of basketball here in the States).
What I'm wondering though, is if it's an issue of team chemistry? Doc may say that he hasn't played well in practices, but I've seen him play in person and watched his interactions with teammates. It's the little things, like when he misses a shot. Most times you will see others walk over to a player, and encourage him to forget about it and keep positive. I've noticed that a lot of times, Standhardinger just walks away and gets frustrated, but nobody really seems to want to chase him down. Maybe he feels a bit like an outcast? It wouldn't be out of the question, being a foreign player as well as a freshman (Talk about awkwardness). I'm not saying that he would ever pull a Lucca Staiger and bail on his buddies, but it didn't seem to bother the clown from ISU...so why not our guy?
Probably nothing, but something to keep an eye on. If Christian doesn't play tomorrow, I will be a bit worried. Gallegos played a bit, and I think Doc just didn't like what he saw...simple as that. Team chemistry is extremely important, just ask the Husker Football players how much that changes things. As for these two guys, if it means we play the rest of the games like today's...I'd leave 'em on the pine.
Overall, I'm excited for the win. If nothing else, it was something positive to send the team out on should they lose to A+M. I've always felt that this team could be great, and I will say that however unlikely a win tomorrow is...they have more wins in them if they can execute.