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It's Sunday, March 6, 2022 ...


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Wisconsin is in town. There's 45 seconds left in regulation, we're up 75-73, and we have the ball.

 

A win and we solidify our spot in the NCAA tournament, so there's a lot on the line. The fans have not sat down all game long.

 

It's been a clean game. There's no foul trouble.  We're not yet in the double bonus.

 

There's a dead ball because Brad Davidson just got called for a charge, and Wisconsin makes some substitutions to get their best defenders on the floor.

 

You pull an envelope from your pocket. Inside that envelope is a slip of paper with 5 names on it. You made a guess, 10 months earlier, about who Nebraska would put in the game in just this situation, and you circled the name of the player you thought would have the ball in his hands the last 10 seconds of the possession. You look to see how good your guess was.

 

Whose names are on your list, and whose name did you circle?

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Ok, I guess I’ll go first.

 

Bryce McGowens circled

Lat Mayen

CJ Wilcher 

Keisei Tominaga

Keon Edwards

 

Yeah, shockingly young lineup, I know.  I’m going with five guys who I expect will all be good free-throw shooters and who I think are all threats to hit from three point range.
 

With 10 seconds on the shot clock, I’m sending two guys to each of the corners, two more to each of the wings, and let Bryce McGowens go one on one with whoever they think can guard him, figuring advantage offense and, with just two guys on an island, Bryce should probably be able to come away with a bucket more than 50% of the time.

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10 hours ago, millerhusker said:

Trey 

Kobe

Bryce (circled)
Dalano

Derrick 

 

Wisconsin is going to harass us and they don’t need to foul. I want ball handlers, toughness, and rebounding in this situation. 

This is close to mine, too. Trey, Bryce, Derrick for sure. I think Kobe's going to be rock solid. To me the last spot comes down to Lat or Banton. I think Lat spreads the floor and opens things up. But I think Banton's probably going to make a big jump. So, I'm going to roll with @millerhuskerand go with Trey, Kobe, Bryce, Banton and Walker, too.

Edited by uneblinstu
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9 minutes ago, uneblinstu said:

This is close to mine, too. Trey, Bryce, Derrick for sure. I think Kobe's going to be rock solid. To me the last spot comes down to Lat or Banton. I think Lat spreads the floor and opens things up. But I think Banton's probably going to make a big jump. So, I'm going to roll with @millerhuskerand go with Trey, Kobe, Bryce, Banton and Walker, too.

I'm hopeful for Banton to make a jump also. The first half of the season, we were much better with him on the floor. I wanted Hoiberg to play him nearly all 40 minutes. The second half of the season, we were better when he was on the bench. But, if the coaches didn't think he would be valuable for us next year, I'm sure he would've been asked to move on.  

 

The funny thing is, no matter what combination of players I choose to put in the lineup in a situation like this, I think,  "Well maybe I'm sleeping on *insert one of literally 5 different players* ."   I suppose that's a good problem to have. 

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Things I think I know.....

 - I think I know Trey, Bryce and Derrick will be in the starting lineup.

 - Eduardo and Derrick will split minutes at the 5.

 - I have a hunch we will see a version of a death lineup at times. We have 3 guys who are 6'9" and versatile (Dalano, Lat, Wilhelm). They can even all be on the court at the same time. 

 - I think I know CJ will be a valuable component to this team, whether he's in the starting lineup or coming off the bench. He fits the mold of a Hoiberg shooting guard. Kind of a mirror image of Abdel Nader, Naz Long, Matt Thomas, Chris Babb.   Good size, strong, smart off-ball guards who you hate to play against because they always seem to get open and knock down shots. None of these guys put up crazy numbers or were all-conference under Hoiberg, but they've all seen time in the NBA. 

 - I think I know Lat, Dalano and Kobe will all have a role in the rotation (at least to start the year). The teams that have guys who have played together for multiple years are now the teams that are winning in college basketball. Hoiberg wanted these guys to come back for a reason. 

 

Things I don't know.....

 - Just how good are Wilhelm Breidenbach and Keon Edwards? Their highlights are intriguing, to say the least. We needed talent upgrades and it appears we got them. We haven't had many guys in the history of Husker basketball as highly recruited/rated as these two. That's crazy. Are they ready to contribute immediately?

 - I know Keisei can shoot it. But Trevor Lakes shot it just as well at the Division II level. Can he hold up physically in the Big Ten? He looks quick enough relative to JUCO   guards. But Jervay looked like an absolute man amongst boys athletically relative to JUCO guards. So, I don't know...

 - Will Dalano and Trey cut down on turnovers and improve decision making? No matter how much talent we have, this will be crucial to our team success, as it appears these  two will be doing much of the ball handling and decision making again next year. 

 - Will Lat and Kobe shoot the ball more consistently throughout the year? If not, unlike like last year, there are other guys who can steal their minutes.

Edited by millerhusker
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If we’re up two the most important thing is not turning it over. I’m having Trey bring the ball up and once we’re in the half court giving it to Kobe to initiate.

 

Trey

Kobe

Bryce

Keon

Derrick

 

Now if we’re down two, swap out Trey for Keisei. Let Kobe bring it up as they pry won’t be pressing up two. Run Keisei around some screens looking for an early easy look, and if it’s isn’t there get it to Bryce and make some space for him.

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I picked Keon because if the defense sells out to stop Bryce from getting the ball, Keon is the only other guy who seems reasonably likely to not only be able to reliably hit from outside, but who can also break his defender down on the dribble and get to the rim and score.

 

I wanted 5 guys out there who I thought could hit the front end of a 1-and-1. That left Derrick Walker on the bench. And, too often during the season, the guy missing front ends was Trey. And he and Banton both were just mid-60s from the stripe. So, I wasn't sure I wanted them in there.

 

I wanted to eliminate the possibility that they could leave a shot blocker inside to contest at the rim, so I wanted to spread the court with shooters, but in the event Bryce misses the shot and the ball remains live, I wanted some length to play defense on the other end, so I went with Lat and Keon for their length.

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49 minutes ago, Norm Peterson said:

I picked Keon because if the defense sells out to stop Bryce from getting the ball, Keon is the only other guy who seems reasonably likely to not only be able to reliably hit from outside, but who can also break his defender down on the dribble and get to the rim and score.

 

I wanted 5 guys out there who I thought could hit the front end of a 1-and-1. That left Derrick Walker on the bench. And, too often during the season, the guy missing front ends was Trey. And he and Banton both were just mid-60s from the stripe. So, I wasn't sure I wanted them in there.

 

I wanted to eliminate the possibility that they could leave a shot blocker inside to contest at the rim, so I wanted to spread the court with shooters, but in the event Bryce misses the shot and the ball remains live, I wanted some length to play defense on the other end, so I went with Lat and Keon for their length.

That makes sense, especially about the free throw situation. But the way I see it, if Walker’s out there he’s only touching the ball after a screen on his way to the basket and he’ll be shooting two, or an and one. I wanted Walker in there to potentially steal a possession with an offensive rebound in the event of a miss. And because we’re going to have something drawn up out of the break and he seems to be at his best when we have a specific set drawn up and early in games when we’re running stuff we practiced in prep. He’s not quite as adept when it’s faster and more free flowing. 

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We're up 2 and have the ball.  We need ball handlers and foul shooters though Wisco will probably let the clock play out.  I'm going with "the known" for the most part.

 

T Mac- upperclassman and leader, drive and kick opportunity.  Seemed to hit big shots in big moments last year.

B Mac- one of the only younger guys, will provide drive and kick opportunity

Lat- best foul shooter prior year, and a shooter from deep

Kesi- 85% FT shooter, and a shooter from deep

Walker- I'm going with upperclassman and needing a big on the floor.  I could see Andre though.

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This may seem like an odd lineup but I wanted to go with FT shooters.   I am banking we get to the line where I can sub out guys or we make a shot vs a miss.  I am kind of iffy on it.   Lakes and Edwards are my bubble choices.   Wilcher just missed the cut.  Breidenbach was 2nd man out

 

Tominaga  - 85% Ft   Can help handle the ball, but I expect bringing the ball up would be a team effort.   I don't think they will foul this guy.  He just needs to be sure not to get trapped.   They can run a play for him if they want him to shoot it.   Great range, he stretches the defense out so I like him in this situation.   Will sub him out when we have to go on defense.  

 

Bryce McGowens -  76%  Shoots a LOT of FT's.  Long and can handle the ball decently.   He can create and get his own shot off if needed at the end of the shot clock.  

 

Edwards  73% Ft.   Long, all-around player who Shot the 3 well in High School(over 40%).    I strongly considered Wilcher here but I don't know what Wilcher's FT% is.  I bet it's good but I am not going to take a chance until I know for sure.    

 

 

Lakes 75%  Ft     Ft&Shooting.     Playing the odds that I would be able to sub in a defensive guy if needed.   Wanted guys that could shoot&handle the ball on the floor.  Another guy that can stretch the floor.  Breidenbach was also a consideration but I don't know his FT% either.  Doh!   Thought Lakes would be a better ball handler than Wilhelm in this situation. 

  

Lat 77.8%  Ft   Best returning FT shooter and gives the lineup some size for return D and rebounding, if we miss or don't get a chance to sub in.  It's a no brainer.   Kojenets shoots FT's at a 73% clip and got some consideration as he could give you rebounding and defensive.  It would allow you to play Lat at the 4.   Ultimately I decided that I would bank on getting a chance to sub in a defensive guy and I want some guys that can guard inside or outside.

============

Forgot to circle a guy.  I'll go with Tominaga launching a Nate Johnson 30 foot shot.   Splash!  Nothing but the inside bottom of the net, crowd goes wild. 

 

Edited by REDitus
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