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    02/12/2014 - Illinois Report Card


    hhcdave
    • OVERALL GRADE: A

      6UyTM.jpg

    OFFENSE: B

    Who would have known that when you bought a ticket to the game tonight, you would be purchasing a seat to the "Shavon Shields Show."

    I want to say a few things about Shields' performance tonight:

    A. This is the GUTTIEST performance I have seen from a Husker post 2000. Period. To come back from that injury and finish the way Shavon did when it was clear he had NO lift off of his foot. Heck, just shaking off the recent shooting woes and turning in a complete GEM of a performance.

    B. Shields had a career high 33 points on 8-12 shooting to go along with 5 boards. He had pivotal basket after pivotal basket and completely "willed us" to the win.

    C. Shields had 49% of Nebraska's points. I'm pretty sure that probably hasn't been done since the Dave Hoppen era - is there any possible way anyone can research this?

    And:

    D. Is the one I really want to hit on. 15-15 from the foul line, tying Jack Moore's school record for a single game. You're kidding me, right? A guy who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn in FT shooting in recent games doesn't go 11-15... 12-15... heck, even 13-15... But 15-15??? Are you kidding me?

    Shavon, YOU ARE A BOSS.

    As for the rest of the offense, it's pretty funny that Terran Petteway ("Mr. Consistency") can continue to put in 16-18 every single night and it seems like no big deal. That's where we've gotten to - that's a VERY GOOD THING.

    Terran, YOU ARE A BOSS.

    There were two other "bosses" in this one as well, but they'll be discussed under "Defense."

    Before we get to that, offense wasn't good to close out the half and to start the second. A lot of standing. The matchup zone they play threw us off.

    What in God's name was that in bounds pass Nathan Hawkins threw? I suppose he helped redeem himself off of a rebound and quick outlet that led to the final basket of the half but still...

    Nebraska was 44% from the field and 89% from the line.

    DEFENSE: B+

    The zone was a complete DEBACLE tonight. And when Benny Parker wasn't on the floor, the defense was VERY average.

    Still, overall, it was AWESOME, and that's because of the other two bosses:

    Parker and David Rivers.

    INSANE GAMES, boys. As in... "Wow."

    First of all, Parker. How in the hell does he lock down guys all of a sudden? Well, I know how he does it (effort and fundamentals up the ying yang), but how does he play that hard for 24 minutes? And really, is that all he got? I'm using the unofficial box score from Illinois' website since I haven't received one yet from NU, but is that correct? It seems like he played 35.

    David Rivers won't get quite the notice because of his position but he did a great job cutting off drives and understanding where his help was on weak side dribbles. He plays so hard, too.

    Nebraska held Illinois under 60 and that's to be commended. I have no idea how Coach has all of a sudden turned this team into an average defensive team from a BAD ONE but he has done it (more on that later).

    REBOUNDING: C

    Nebraska allowed 14 offensive rebounds - bad. Very bad. A couple were particularly bad, most notably Tracy Abrams rebounding his own missed free throw late in the game. NU was lucky that wasn't a disaster. Leslee Smith also looks to be nursing some sore knees because his ups are gone. That rebound in the first half he let go over his head (very easy rebound) was bothersome. I hope he is okay - we need him down the stretch.

    David Rivers led the way with 7 boards - 'atta boy!

    BALL HANDLING: C+

    10 turnovers, 7 assists.

    Since we go over this ad nauseam every game, perhaps I should just start "pasting" it.

    The norms were true tonight (not to be confused with Norm Peterson):

    1. Not a lot of assists, but some of that is also the results of the motion offense.

    I define motion as all five guys being involved in passing, screening away from the ball. We are exploiting our quickness and neutralizing our size disadvantage that way, and all five guys can be on the perimeter at times. I think that type of offense, with our individual creators, is just going to make that stat not overly sexy.

    2. Petteway with too many turnovers (a team leading 4).

    3. Tai Webster mostly a non-factor. Chalk this up to a freshman being a freshman and Benny Parker playing like his life depends on it.

    COACHING: A+

    I want to do something I haven't done all year but should have.

    Let's focus on the ENTIRE COACHING STAFF. You guys are AWESOME, from Teddy on up to Tim. From recruiting to game plans, working with players to in game adjustments, you guys are pretty damn good. I am probably as high on Coach Miles as anyone on this board, which is hard to do, but I think Craig Smith is the unsung hero of the staff. I have a feeling we are going to lose him soon, which will be a bittersweet day. Our loss but someone else's gain.

    This is stupid to say after tonight but I've got to tell you... I can already see it happening. Coach Miles getting a big job offer after NEXT year. Definitely by the end of year four. I hope like hell we can lock him up for a long, long, long time. It's a bit premature but tell me you didn't think about it, too, after the way things are looking up hill, the momentum and the likeability of this coach, both locally and nationwide.

    And, let's not let it be lost that he's not just a funny guy with a great personality. He's also a hell of a basketball coach.

    OVERALL GRADE: A

    I don't care if Nebraska didn't technically play all facets to a level that equals an "A." As I always say, I want wins.

    This is the game Nebraska has pissed away for 15 years. You and I both know it.

    Tonight was Nebraska's first four game home conference winning streak since 1998-1999. Yes, that long!

    The Huskers won a "must win" game and have all the momentum in the world. Protect your home court and steal one on the road and guess what... you have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament with a win in the Big 10 Tournament.

    But let's not get ahead of ourselves... Let's just savor that we were picked in last place and are currently tied for 6th and RELEVANT in year two... and let's savor the fact that we are three wins away from the NIT, which seems like a near lock at this point.

    Also, THANK YOU PENN STATE. If we win at Indiana, we are "in" over them.

    PLAYER OF THE GAME: SHAVON SHIELDS

    2013-2014 PLAYER OF THE GAME RESULTS:

    TERRAN PETTEWAY - 11

    SHAVON SHIELDS - 4

    WALTER PITCHFORD - 3

    TAI WEBSTER - 2

    LESLEE SMITH - 2

    DEVERELL BIGGS - 1


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    Couple of things:

     

    - Shavon went 15-15 to tie Moore.

     

    - Yeah, that was right about Parker's minutes. Total stud game from him tonight. Solid, solid stuff.

     

    - Honestly, I don't think about Miiles leaving. If he does, so be it, but it's not something I spend a lot of time thinking about, if any.

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    Excellent rc. Agree on most points. Gotta keep this Timmy guy. He coaches em up. They seem to have an actual desire to win, and are starting to believe. The thing that still gets me is why we drop one or two on the road when we SEEM TO GIVE UP. It makes no sense when I happens, I suppose we are just easily discouraged or something, but I guess that happens to the best of them...

    Again, great post. Sums up everything that needed to be covered.

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    If you had to grade the current state of Nebrasketball, what would it be?  ;)

     

    On the serious side, I think we all knew Coach Miles would be a very hot commodity if he succeeds here like most of us think he will. He's a Big Ten guy through and through, I don't see him leaving for another conference (unless it's an elite program). Need to cough up the money to make sure though. Funny how Chris Collins was getting all the love for CotY, at least from the media. What Miles has accomplished certainly should merit him some consideration as well.

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    If miles leaves to go to another school, that probably means we made at least a couple sweet 16's

     

    i'll take that and smile...

     

    one thing at a time man...

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    Who's the guy that is coaching Illinois again? I seem to recall some husker fans thinking he was a sure thing for Nebraska's head coach job. I think we totally got the better end of the deal.

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    C. Shields had 49% of Nebraska's points. I'm pretty sure that probably hasn't been done since the Dave Hoppen era - is there any possible way anyone can research this?

    In 2006-2007, we beat Kansas State 74-63 behind 41 points from Maric (55%). That's probably the last time.

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    C. Shields had 49% of Nebraska's points. I'm pretty sure that probably hasn't been done since the Dave Hoppen era - is there any possible way anyone can research this?

    In 2006-2007, we beat Kansas State 74-63 behind 41 points from Maric (55%). That's probably the last time.

     

     

    Is that the game where Frank Martin watched Alex Maric repeatedly beat a single team over and over again?

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    C. Shields had 49% of Nebraska's points. I'm pretty sure that probably hasn't been done since the Dave Hoppen era - is there any possible way anyone can research this?

    In 2006-2007, we beat Kansas State 74-63 behind 41 points from Maric (55%). That's probably the last time.

     

     

    Is that the game where Frank Martin watched Alex Maric repeatedly beat a single team over and over again?

     

     

    Huggins.  Not sure I've ever seen such wanton stubborness during a game by a coach.  Alecs was usually a very good free throw shooter.  He wasn't as good that night, or he would have been close to 50.

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    Who's the guy that is coaching Illinois again? I seem to recall some husker fans thinking he was a sure thing for Nebraska's head coach job. I think we totally got the better end of the deal.

     

    At this point in time? Yes. In the future? Who knows. But as I've mentioned in another post, now that we've got Miles, I'd have a very hard time giving him up.

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    Good score card.  This is a home run comment:  "...Tai Webster mostly a non-factor. Chalk this up to a freshman being a freshman and Benny Parker playing like his life depends on it." 

     

    I would also take the + away from the coaching staff...and in fact, lower the score to the B category...here is my reasoning.  We started both halves sluggish.  That, in part, is on the coaches.  If we are playing a top twenty program and start that way, we get blown out.  It has happened a few times this year.  We need to find a way to start halves more effectively.  Secondly, with 8 seconds left and pressure on the ball, we take our PG to the other end of the floor and he is a non-factor in a potentially game swinging sequence.  Ray ended up bailing us out with a lay up, but that could have been a tremendous momentum swing going into half time. 

     

    Not trying to overanalyze or be overly critical, but still...

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    Guys we don't run motion, and I don't care what Coach Miles says. We run a set nearly every time down the court, and if not we go to a continuous, revolving ball screen/hand-off, back-cut offense.

    We also run a majority of stuff out of a "disguised," 1-4 high set.

    No one runs a true motion offense anymore. Barely even mover-blocker, or true freedom in a pass-screen-away offense. And for good reason - with as athletic and as defensively oriented teams are anymore, you have to have a cohesive offensive philosophy and plan. Especially with the shot clock. And even more especially without a point guard who can transition well.

    The closest thing anyone runs to a motion offense is the screen-roll-replace ball screen offenses that have more motion and spacing principles than set movements. Which we do go to at end of shot clocks, admittedly.

    Sorry - just wanted to make that clarification/rant. I'll go back to my cave now.

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    Good score card.  This is a home run comment:  "...Tai Webster mostly a non-factor. Chalk this up to a freshman being a freshman and Benny Parker playing like his life depends on it." 

     

    I would also take the + away from the coaching staff...and in fact, lower the score to the B category...here is my reasoning.  We started both halves sluggish.  That, in part, is on the coaches.  If we are playing a top twenty program and start that way, we get blown out.  It has happened a few times this year.  We need to find a way to start halves more effectively.  Secondly, with 8 seconds left and pressure on the ball, we take our PG to the other end of the floor and he is a non-factor in a potentially game swinging sequence.  Ray ended up bailing us out with a lay up, but that could have been a tremendous momentum swing going into half time. 

     

    Not trying to overanalyze or be overly critical, but still...

     

    Just a couple of different ways of looking at it--one could argue the better play after sluggish starts is due to coaching adjustments that our staff consistently makes.  The first few minutes the talent and athleticism makes it mark, then our coaches make adjustments and outcoach the others.  Not sure if that holds any water, but I am thinking our staff is underrated from an x and o standpoint and make excellent ingame and halftime adjustments (realizing defensively this game we started out poorly the second half).

     

    Also, I give Hawkins credit as well as Ray for "bailing us out".  After his bad play, he kept his head in it and made a great play on the board and pass.  If you noticed at the time, both Harriman and Miles went directly to Hawkins, very fired up, to praise him for the play he made after his mistake.

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    Good score card.  This is a home run comment:  "...Tai Webster mostly a non-factor. Chalk this up to a freshman being a freshman and Benny Parker playing like his life depends on it." 

     

    I would also take the + away from the coaching staff...and in fact, lower the score to the B category...here is my reasoning.  We started both halves sluggish.  That, in part, is on the coaches.  If we are playing a top twenty program and start that way, we get blown out.  It has happened a few times this year.  We need to find a way to start halves more effectively.  Secondly, with 8 seconds left and pressure on the ball, we take our PG to the other end of the floor and he is a non-factor in a potentially game swinging sequence.  Ray ended up bailing us out with a lay up, but that could have been a tremendous momentum swing going into half time. 

     

    Not trying to overanalyze or be overly critical, but still...

     

    Just a couple of different ways of looking at it--one could argue the better play after sluggish starts is due to coaching adjustments that our staff consistently makes.  The first few minutes the talent and athleticism makes it mark, then our coaches make adjustments and outcoach the others.  Not sure if that holds any water, but I am thinking our staff is underrated from an x and o standpoint and make excellent ingame and halftime adjustments (realizing defensively this game we started out poorly the second half).

     

    Also, I give Hawkins credit as well as Ray for "bailing us out".  After his bad play, he kept his head in it and made a great play on the board and pass.  If you noticed at the time, both Harriman and Miles went directly to Hawkins, very fired up, to praise him for the play he made after his mistake.

     

    I don't necessarily disagree HB, but it seems like we praise too lavishly at times and become overly critical at other times.  I am not attempting to be critical, but errors were made, and I am quite positive Coach Miles would attest to those errors. 

     

    The point I was attempting to make in an apparent unsuccessful manner, is that an A+ is a perfect score, and there were issues.  When we played Michigan, Coach Miles and the staff were heavily criticized for some of their decisions or perhaps non-decisions.  It is a very fine line that they walk and perfection is very hard to come by. 

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    I agree with CWG.  Sometimes the praise is too lavish and certainly other times the criticism overly harsh, tending more toward the harsh.  I think the message board fan base is more EKG than the team is.  It swings from "how high a seed will we get in the dance?" to "help me find a window to jump out of."  I try to be message board Paxil.  Won't get rid of the high highs but I do try to get rid of the low lows.

     

    I wise person once suggested that, for Nebraska sports, it's never really quite as good or quite as bad as we think it is.  So, just keep that in mind.  Still a lot of basketball to play.  A loss last night would probably have ended any real tourney hopes we might still harbor but other post-season opportunities would still have been in play.  But we're not there yet; only one step closer.

     

    I've always said I think we need(ed) to show progress this year over last year.  And, right now, we've already tied our record from B1G play last season.  Any more wins this year just add to the improvement from the year before.  But I remember not too long ago people posting on here wondering if there were even three more wins on our schedule.  I know some people who, at one point in time this season, didn't think we'd get a conference win until maybe Penn State at home February 20th.  Some people had their faith (easily) shaken when we were in the midst of that initial meat grinder when conference season opened.

     

    Well, congratulations for hanging in there because the Huskers are in a 3-way tie for 6th place and, after Northwestern loses to Michigan State tonight, we'll be in a 2-way tie with Minnesota in 6th place.

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    The bad play before the half was not good from the start. We bring in a player who hasn't played at all in the half. He takes the ball out and we have 1 player going against their 3. It was a mess that could only come out bad.

    However we handled the next inbounds wonderfully and got a lay up to finish the half. It was fun to see Rey fake the three and drive. Igloo thought he was going to block that shot into the upper deck.

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    BTW, Pitchford had the first shot and basket again. :)

     

    You should tweet that @Takeflight35 and remind him of this important statistic.  He's announced he's "back" on twitter for the day...

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