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Husker Hardwood: Iowa State Preview

First chance at payback. (See the Husker Football teams gaff in Lincoln on Oct. 24th, followed by blubbering and crying by Paul Rhoads.)

ISU comes into Lincoln on Saturday for the Huskers 3rd conference matchup, and 2nd straight conference home game. It's not football (that beatdown will come next fall), but it may be a small chance for the Big Red to atone for the game we freaking handed to them last fall. Bo Pelini and Coach Osborne were in attendance during the Huskers tilt with Kansas Wednesday night, and towards the end of the game I kept hoping that a buzzer would sound, Pelini would send Ndamukong Suh in to counter the abuse we were taking down low. No such luck...I guess he does have that little "#1 Draft Pick" thing to worry about.

  Nebraska has to be encouraged by their effort versus Kansas. Leading by 2 at the half, the Big Red were in a position to upset the #3 team in the country before fatigue settled in. Ironically, while this was going on Iowa State was in virtually the same exact position against #1 Texas. The Cyclones suffered a similar fate in the end, and are now 0-1 in the conference heading into this game. (Nebraska is 0-2) The much-heralded play against Texas A+M by freshman Christian Standhardinger, was tempered by a weak effort against KU (2-7 with 8 pts). He looked confused, out of place, and basically ineffective to the surprise of most of us. Affectionately referred to as "Bratwurst" here on CornNation, the German transplant now needs to prove he can play better and is deserving of a starting spot on the roster.

I watched quite a bit of the ISU/Texas game, and although Texas looked a bit out of sorts, ISU looked pretty strong as well. They are definitley a bigger and more talanted team than the Huskers, but not by much. The Clones are visibly troubled by a lack of team chemistry as well, and could crumble when the stingy Husker defense starts causing turnovers. The Huskers forced 13 turnovers and snatched 5 steals from the Jayhawks. This was very encouraging to me, as playing great defense was one of two things Nebraska had to do to win that game. The other was shooting lights out, which they did in the first half (hence the 2 point lead at the half). The Huskers ended up going 11-21 (52.4%) from downtown in that game, but unfortunately shooting from the field was only around 40% during the second half, and Kansas widened the gap. (More after the jump)

Conversely, ISU shot 44% and 36% from the field and from downtown respectively. The Clones did force 14 turnovers, and played a pretty solid defensive game. ISU scares me when they play at home, and it can be said that anyone who walks into Hilton Coliseum is putting their win-loss record at risk. We'll do the same in late February, but this time around it's a home game at the Devaney Center, which has somehow managed to be electric as of late. It's entirely possible that the Clones come in tired, and start bitching at each other when the boys in "real" red start taking their ball away from them. The big 3 for ISU are Brackins, Gilstrap, and Staiger. Brackens is an NBA draft pick, and could cause problems if his head is in the game. Gilstrap is just about as impressive, if not more at times...and Steiger is the deep threat. Iowa State averages 77 ppg, which will clash with the 60 ppg that Nebraska is allowing. ISU has an RPI rating of #130, largely due to the strength of schedule ranking of #192 (which is amazing considering they have played Duke and Texas).

Nebraska comes in with an RPI of #107, and the leading scoring defense in the conference. Eerily similar to the 2009 football team, the problem continues to be offensive output while the defense staggers the opponents enough to keep the games close. Nebraska is shooting better from the 3 point arc than ISU this season, and is matching them equally in the other offensive categories. Although the Clones have a slight edge on the defensive glass, the Huskers outnumber ISU by a huge margin in steals per game.(118-60 or 7.4pg -3.8pg ).

I like McDermott's guys a lot, but not so much McDermott himself. I, along with the rest of the country, am a bit surprised that they haven't had more success this season given all the ballers they have. Must be coaching. The potential for this team to explode on the scene is definitely there, but that means jack if you can't go out and execute. Let's hope that they don't decide to do so tomorrow night. ( And if they do, we still have the hotter cheerleaders)

Let's keep showing up on the game threads, and cheering on the Huskers! Prediction: Nebraska 67 Iowa State 64

Projected Starters: Nebraska

No. Player Ht-Pos. Year PPG Reb Ast
3 Brandon Richardson 6'0" Guard So. 8.6 1.9 2.1
44 Ryan Anderson 6'4" Guard Sr. 11.0 4.8 2.1
34 Lance Jeter 6'3" Guard Jr. 6.6 2.9 4.4
5 Sek Henry 6'4" Guard Sr. 7.8 3.6 2.6
21 Jorge Brian-Diaz 6'11" Center Fr. 9.0 4.0 1.2

Projected Starters: Iowa State

No. Player Ht-Pos. Year PPG Reb Ast
21 Craig Brackins 6'10" Forward Jr. 16.9 7.9 2.7
3 Marquis Gilstrap 6'7" Forward Sr. 14.7 8.7 1.3
41 Justin Hamilton 6'11" Center So. 4.9 3.4 0.4
10 Diante Garrett 6'4" Guard Jr. 8.4 2.2 5.4
5 Lucca Steiger 6'5" Guard Jr. 9.5 1.9 1.5

Tipoff: 7pm CST

Venue: The Devaney Center - Lincoln, NE

Radio: IMG Husker Sports Network (Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison)

Television: ABC Affiliate (Local), CNT, ESPN360, FS Midwest ( In Nebraska ) ESPN Fullcourt

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