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    uneblinstu's Post Game Chatter: ed 7, vol 16 - Illinois


    uneblinstu
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      - Back-to-back double digits conference wins is pretty cool. First time since 2005 that's happened.

      - Rebounded pretty well tonight.

      - They only got to the line once in the first 38 minutes of the game. What?! and the won by 10? Weird.

      - Illinois wasn't shy. And they didn't make many. Defense did pretty well and didn't give them some many second chance points. Probably the key to the game.

    - The offense looked better, today, I thought, even they didn't score a ton of points. More movement than we've seen much of the season.

    - I figured out why Pitchford doesn't win the tip this year. They just want to make sure they get the ball when Benny inevitably gets a tie up.

    - Though Peteway had a good game. Didn't force things as much as he's done in the past.

    - Tarin Smith keeps getting better and better. Time to start the conversation about having him start?

    - First time Tai hasn't played in a game since coming to Nebraska.

    - Thought we'd see more of Fuller.

    - Leslee Smith didn't hardly play. That's probably ok.

    - Pitchford had a nice game, even scored in the paint. Renewed my faith that the abominal snowman is real.

    Also, this:

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    So many positives from tonight's game! I would like for us to have won the game 65-43 by taking advantage of Illinois' droughts, but I'm not letting that overshadow our performance.

     

    This was a very different team tonight, much like the team we saw late last season. Full of energy and swagger. I can't wait to see how long we can keep this groovy train going!

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    2-2 baby!!

     

    Got a chance to get back on the bu.... bub.... bubba... well we got to win at Wisconsin first, so we will discuss more when the Wiscy game is over!

     

    I tell you what, we look a lot different with the two big guys.  Even though they are not playing a ton, they give us opportunities to rest.  Look at how much Petteway got to sit tonight.  That was nice, and it was nice not having to worry about playing someone with two fouls late in the second half.

     

    I thought our offensive spacing was decent tonight.  We looked like we moved well.  We shot pretty well, even though we did not score a lot of points.

     

    I liked how we slowed it down for the most part tonight.  The reason we probably did not score as much, but I think it threw Illinois out of their game a little.

     

    They shot really bad... probably as bad as they will all season.

     

    Some of that may of been attributed to our defense though.  We can be absolutely tenacious if we really want to.  I thought that Groce's comment that he thought they played decent offensively or something like that showed just how good we played defensively.

     

    Hey 2-2, and we could of been 3-1 as we we're right in those first two.  Not bad, and it is one hell of a lot better than 4-0.  Got a big one one Thursday.  Certainly not a must win, but think of it in terms of our Michigan State road game last year.  Big Ten is very deep, and not really top heavy, so we need to keep doing our part.  We have a shot in every game we play the rest of the way!  Lets win some and see what happens.

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    Tarin's jumper in the lane with 5 min left was huge, really gave NU some breathing room after both teams had gone several possessions empty and the game was stagnating. We were looking a bit gassed & everyone kind of stood around the entire possession, and they just left Tarin on his own, but he stepped up. Huge shot that gave our guys a shot of adrenaline. He also had that big driving layup late in the first half when we really needed it.

     

    To hold Illinois to 43 is very impressive, and even several of the shots they hit were challenged well by us. Illinois easily could've ended up in the mid-30s. And that's what happens when neither team gets to the FT line much. I think those refs had someplace to be, so they weren't going to slow down the game by calling a bunch of fouls.  ;) Had to be the shortest game time wise we've played this season. They let both teams play for sure.

     

    I wasn't as surprised that we didn't see Fuller - I think coach is going to have to pick & choose his spots where he can use Fuller, and Illinois was probably too quick on the perimeter for Fuller to have success defensively.

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    Both teams really struggled offensively at times.   I thought David Rivers really did a nice job against Hill on the defensive end.  A lot of his shots were after switches and the foul on the 3 in the 2nd half was a BS call - total flop by Hill to draw the call.  Overall good D by the Huskers and good effort overall.

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    Both teams really struggled offensively at times.   I thought David Rivers really did a nice job against Hill on the defensive end.  A lot of his shots were after switches and the foul on the 3 in the 2nd half was a BS call - total flop by Hill to draw the call.  Overall good D by the Huskers and good effort overall.

     

    Yeah, it was a crap call; so was a sidelines ball called out-of-bounds by Shields in the latter part of the 2nd half. Oh well, NU still got it done w/o a lot of home cookin' needed (if any). ;)

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    Rivers was very active in the first half.  Liked that a lot.

     

    Sorry to be negative, but I have to get this off my chest:  Our crowd flat out sucked tonight. Place was dead.  Big winnable game, and nothing. I got a lot of stares for yelling tonight.  sorry to disturb the peace in section 118. 

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    - Illinois wasn't shy. And they didn't make many. Defense did pretty well and didn't give them some many second chance points. Probably the key to the game.

     

     5340d0ab30cf9.image.jpg

     

     

    Yeah, a fairly big understatement to say that the defense was key. Illini hadn't been held under 59 all year 'til tonight!

     

     

    Unless those travel woes assisted with their shooting abysmally... ;)

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    - Illinois wasn't shy. And they didn't make many. Defense did pretty well and didn't give them some many second chance points. Probably the key to the game.

     

     5340d0ab30cf9.image.jpg

     

    Yeah, a fairly big understatement to say that the defense was key. Illini hadn't been held under 59 all year 'til tonight!

     

     

    Unless those travel woes assisted with their shooting abysmally... ;)

    Kind of starting to see us"get" what coach teaches. I watched the d tonight and it was very good and fun to watch how it works. could carry us on a night when we can't score.

    I know we are a good defense team, and defense wins games.

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    Game notes

     

    Notes
    *-Nebraska’s 43 points allowed is the second-lowest total a Tim Miles coached Nebraska team has allowed in his three seasons (42 by Loyola Marymount on Dec. 23, 2014).
    *-The 27.3 percent shooting by Illinois is the lowest by an opponent in the Tim Miles era and the lowest by a Husker opponent since Grambling shot 25.0 percent on Dec. 21, 2010. It is the lowest by a conference opponent since Kansas State shot 23.4 percent in s 57-42 Husker win on Jan. 11, 2006. 
    *-The 43 points allowed is the lowest to a conference foe since Colorado scored 41 on Feb. 18, 2009.
    *-With 18 points today, Terran Petteway reached double figures for the 27th straight game. It is the longest streak by a Husker since Tyronn Lue, who had 36 straight spanning the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons.
    *-Tarin Smith grabbed a career-high five rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. 
    *-Shavon Shields tied his personal best with five assists, as he also had five dimes against Creighton earlier this season.
    *-Nebraska has now won 10 of 12 Big Ten games since moving into Pinnacle Bank Arena
    *-Nebraska has won 3-of-4 meetings with Illinois in Lincoln since joining the Big Ten.

     

    Nebraska Men’s Basketball Coach Tim Miles

    On his overall impression of the game

    “I thought we just stayed with it. The whole night, our guys just stayed with the game plan and made life difficult for (Malcolm) Hill. I thought we did a good job of taking away their screen and roll actions. You know, I thought Coach (John) Groce did a good job of setting screening actions.  We’re sitting there at one point late in the game with six or seven minutes left, and we’re holding them to 27 percent and were only up six.  I mean you can’t play much better defense than what we did. We weren’t awful turning the ball over, and we were shooting at a decent percentage. It was just one of those nights. I was really proud of our team effort. You’ve got to have all five guys moving as one all the time. Everyone was really locked into the game plan and did a nice job.”

     

    On the rotation and why Leslee Smith didn’t get much playing time

    “You know, we just felt like we were better with our main six or seven and because we couldn’t extend it all to the level we felt comfortable. We didn’t love the matchups. That’s just the way it goes on some nights. Wisconsin could be the same or different. The next game after that could be, too. It kind of depends on the night.”

     

    On what he thought of the defensive effort

    “Well it was really good. I was very proud of our guys. I thought they played extremely hard and stayed with it. I think, then, if you flip it to our offense and you see Terran (Petteway) and Shavon Shields combine for nine assists between the two of them. I think that just shows the mindset of the team. We trust each other. We move the ball for each other. I thought that was really critical. I thought David Rivers was really great the first half. And I thought Tarin Smith was really critical for us, too. He played well for the most part. I thought he had a great deal of poise. I mean those stats are really good for a freshman.”

     

    On the momentum from the last two games going into Wisconsin

    “No question about it. Obviously winning is a big part of it, but at the same time, I think that our guys just feel better about where they are at this point in the season. Our practice after Rutgers, our body language and our posture was just completely different while watching film. Guys weren’t sitting there like they were gassed. And this is the grind. January is the grind. I always say January is like Wednesday. The whole month of January in college basketball is like hump day. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel and you’ve been playing for so long. Sometimes it takes a lot to keep these guys going. Everybody knows that January is like Wednesday.”

     

    Illinois Men's Basketball Coach John Groce

    Opening Statement

    "I was really proud of our guys effort tonight. I thought from an effort standpoint, it matched our effort we had Wednesday night against Maryland. We put two games back-to-back now where I think we played with extra ordinary effort. Guys are playing a lot of minutes right now--I thought they gave a lot of themselves tonight. I thought defensively we finished with a .83 defensive efficiency rating, and when you do that on the road in the Big Ten, you give yourself a chance to win basketball games. Unfortunately our four shot makers went 12-for-43, and when that happens and you shoot 27 percent, you are not going to have a chance to win in this league on the road. I certainly did not think it was because our effort, I will say this, a big part of our offensive struggles--Nebraska deserves a lot of credit for that. Their defense is ranked top 25 in the country for a reason when it comes to defensive efficiency. I thought they were very difficult to score on tonight. I thought they defended very well--made it hard to get quality shots. The shot clock came into play a couple times there. They did a great job. I think the combination of them defending the way they did, and they are good at it, combined with the fact that we missed some shots. Maybe we could have made a higher percentage and been a little bit more efficient on that end--I thought that was the difference in the game. no question about it, I thought our defense was good enough to give us a shot to win. I was really proud of our guys effort at that end of the floor." 

     

    On if he anticipated shooting that many three's earlier

    "You know right now for us we have four guys that have been recruited and can make them, and we did not make them tonight. We went 12-43. I think some of the things Nebraska does well is protecting the paint, not just tonight, all you have to do is watch the tape and see their statistics, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. They did a good job of that tonight, and I thought we did a good job of sharing the ball early and we missed. I thought we got better as the first half went on, then we did in the second half. I think they clamped down a little bit more in the second half and we ran out of gas. With guys playing heavier minutes than normal, but we have no excuses. We have to step up and make more plays." 

     

    On if effort was carried over from Maryland

    "Oh I thought the carryover was identical. I thought our effort was tremendous and our focus and concentration and scouting was tremendous. We just didn't make shots tonight and ran into a very-very good defensive ball club." 

     

    On if his teams shots were ​'good shots' 

    "I think most of them were, I thought at the half we had 17 three's and in my mind we took three or four bad ones out of the 17 and we were 3-17. I don't have as much as a good recollection on the remaining game, but we came out in the second half to start, and Nunn got an open shot off of a curl and missed it. Then we had a three that went in and out on the next possession. So we executed pretty well in the first two possessions and came up empty. Felt that way a lot tonight, but again, give them credit I think their defense is tremendous." 

     

    On what Nebraska does well defensively

    "A lot of things, I think they do cover the perimeter well, I think they are physical and keep it really tight. I think they defensive rebound well. They make you beat them. They are not going to beat themselves on that end of the floor. I just think that they are really solid defensively." 

     

    Nebraska Players and Avery Harriman, son of Assistant Coach Chris Harriman 

    Avery Harriman 
    On his favorite play
    "My favorite play was the players doing great. They did super awesome on the game--on the game tonight. I am so proud of them." 

     

    Nebraska Forward Shavon Shields
    On his favorite play of the game
    "I was shooting my free throws at the end of the game, and I heard Avery saying 'come on Shavon!,' That was my favorite."   

     

    On if he expected Illinois to shoot so many three-pointers
    "Kind of. That was one of our things, to get to shooters. They have a lot of guys that can shoot, so that was definitely one of our keys to the game." 

     

    On comparing how the team feels now compared to a week ago
    "Day and night. It is a big difference from losing to winning. I think there is a lot of confidence in the locker room. We just need to keep building off that." 

     

    On if any Illini injuries changed their game plan coming in

    "Not at all. They just had a great win against a top-10 team in the country (Maryland), so we knew they were going to be a good team and a great battle for us." 

     

    On the team’s defense
    "It was great. Coach Miles, one of his things is seeing five guys rotating at the same time, all on the same page. I felt that we were like that for the most part. We gave up a couple offensive rebounds and a couple of easy shots, but we did great other than that." 

     

    On what it means to have Avery on stage
    "Ecstatic that he is cancer free and we can go play golf this summer again, it is going to be awesome.”

     

    Senior Forward David Rivers
    On the team’s defense
    "I agree with that. We played pack defense and just executed what the coaches have been preaching to us all week. We executed on defense and offense combined." 

     

    On what was working defensively
    "We were solid on defense packing it in, keeping it tight, trying to get the shooters the best we could. I think our screen and roll defense was good tonight and that was something we were working on. That was a big key for us coming into this game. Screen and roll defense. And I think we did a pretty good job with that tonight." 

     

    On what it means to have Avery on stage
    "It is awesome man. For what he went through he is like--- I mean he is little, but everybody can look up at what he has been through. He is big to the team, we are like a family. So it is big for everyone." 

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    Sorry to be negative, but I have to get this off my chest:  Our crowd flat out sucked tonight. Place was dead.  Big winnable game, and nothing. I got a lot of stares for yelling tonight.  sorry to disturb the peace in section 118. 

     

    I'd agree.  I certainly didn't bring it last night and the Rutgers crowd seemed better.

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    Sorry to be negative, but I have to get this off my chest:  Our crowd flat out sucked tonight. Place was dead.  Big winnable game, and nothing. I got a lot of stares for yelling tonight.  sorry to disturb the peace in section 118. 

     

    I'd agree.  I certainly didn't bring it last night and the Rutgers crowd seemed better.

     

     

    No doubt that the crowd was dead, but to be fair the flow of the game wasn't terribly conducive for a rockin' environment. That game was like a trip to the dentist, but I'll take a 10 pt conference win with no hesitation. 

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    I will chime in regarding our defense.  It was fun to watch.  Our ability to switch and still match up and help, almost anywhere, is excellent.  I would love it if we could start scoring in the 70''s, but I believe Silverback hit the nail on the head.  When we do struggle scoring, that defense may just carry the day.

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    Molinari is starting to look like a hell of a hire.  I think we kind of knew he would be, but that defensive effort was one of the best I've seen in any era.  I think I remember them getting to the lane maybe once or twice all game on penetration.  Amazing help and alert rotations all game. 

     

    There was literally no one who played poorly defensively. 

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    Just a few observations the morning after.

     

    • Late game and waited for unbelinstu to post his chatter but it was already past my bed-time, so ...
    • Nice to see Miles out-coach Gross again this season.  If I were Gross, I'd coach my guys to make more of those shots they took.  Seems like an obvious flaw in his game plan.  Just sayin.
    • Where the hell has David Rivers been hiding that drop-step fake right, spin left, jump hook move we saw from him in the first half last night?  Why wait until the 2nd semester of your senior year to pull that one out?  That was a thing of beauty.  Hopefully, Pitchford watched and took notes.
    • Speaking of Pitch, finally getting some inside-outside game going with him.  Very nice to see.  Helps a lot.
    • Balanced scoring?  Seemed like it at the time, although Petteway and Shields still accounted for more than half of our points.  Still, we got nearly double-figure performances out of Pitchford and Rivers.
    • Are we going to set some kind of dubious record for fouling 3-point shooters this year?  Thank the officials for the most part, but that's gotta stop.
    • Students' first game back from break and they need to shake the rust off a little bit.  Not their best game.  Although, as someone else mentioned, the Teletubbies were a nice touch.
    • Played 8 guys in the first half; 7 in the second.  No Tai and no Fuller.  Our guys looked gassed in the 2nd half.  Can't believe we don't have ONE more player who can come in and give us decent minutes to take some of the strain from our starters.  It's a long season.  Hopefully, they're not worn out by the time we reach the end of the season.

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    This may have been talked about before, but after the game last night I watched the re-air of the "Taste of Coaching" roundtable with Seth Davis.  Anyway, I found it interesting that the only coach mentioned by name when Davis asked the round table who they didn't look forward to matching up against was when Kruger said "any team coached by Jim Molinari"......

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    Since I had not had the pleasure of visiting Pinnacle to see a live game, I thought I would render some comparisons with my old BDSC days. I would have posted earlier, but I just now thawed out from my trek across the bridge. Honestly, the only reason I will not reapply for season tickets is the discomfort of walking back to my car in the Salt Dogs parking lot against the wind. But then, in my old age I have become somewhat of a hedonist and would rather watch from the comfort of home and leave the heavy lifting to the younger and more energetic. As I overheard one of these folks mutter on my way to the car, "In the Gulag we call this a heat wave". I think that guy used to post here. Anyway, here are a few thoughts.

    !. I had good seats in the 100 section, but having sat in the front row at the Bob, I still felt removed from the action. Nevertheless, it seems a much more intimate place to watch basketball than the game I attended in Omaha.

    2. The crowd didn't seem much different from what I remember at BDSC, with many of the doddering fogies (like myself) whom I remember from the old days and ,other than the sound system, not much difference in the crowd's noise level. This was probably influenced by the type of game last night though.

    3. I was disappointed by the lack of halftime show. Even rubber boy would have been better than the lame stuff that went on last night during halftime.

    4. Getting out of the parking lot was much smoother than anticipated and no waiting for a train to pass. I was safely home by 10:15 and ,of course, stayed until the game was totally over.

    5. And finally, I was quite pleased not to be a jinx and thought our team really dominated a team which was missing their best player in exactly the fashion which should be expected. I hope Wisconsin also lacks some parts, since our team has also dealt with injury problems and that is what always happens during a season. And I don't think that old man Rivers has been given enough credit for last night. From my live perspective, his effort on both ends was a critical factor in our success.

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    I also wanted to mention Walter in a bit more detail.  During the early season, Walt was playing a rather passive style of ball.  This was recognized by many, and honestly, I personally wondered if he had worked on his game whatsoever during the summer and fall.  However, to his credit, the past few games, Walter has picked up the intensity, both on the offensive and defensive end.

     

    Could part of the problem been that he wasn't pushed in practice?  Was part of the problem the injury situation?  Was part of the problem the dreaded word chemistry?  I do not have the answers...yet Walt's recent changes certainly bolstered this team.  The same could be said about David.  I thought David played his best game of the year last night.  Perhaps the same could be said for Walt. 

     

    It is nice to see these two find their game again.  Teamed with Leslee and Moses, our front court is looking much, much better!

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    Jimmy -- As I noted with Norm in another thread, I think David is an under appreciated Husker. His effort is fantastic. He's given us a hell of an effort during his career as an undersized 4-man. I hope the rest of his career here has some bright moments. This team seems to have some energy back. Not expecting to win in Madison, but expect great effort. Have rarely been let down by effort since Coach Miles took over. I think we are getting Wisconsin at a good time for us. And, I like that our turn around with them in Lincoln is short (they come here on 2/10) and think we now look like a team that can defend home court the rest of the year.

     

    Also of note. We have led in the second half of EVERY game this season. All sixteen of them.

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