Eastern Illinois Info
Head Coach: Jay Spoonhour
Location: Charleston, Illinois
Conference: Ohio Valley
Mascots: Billy the Panther
Last time out: Lost to South Indiana 95-92 (exh)
Typical Rotation Depth: Probably 8-10
Line: Nebraska by 10.5 - O/U 142
4 Factors: N/A
Tempo: Middle of the pack
Style: 3pt Heavy
Shirt not to wear: Blue, Grey, Hang in There cat shirt
Fun Fact: Coach Jay Spoonhour is the son of Charlie Spoonhour who was an assistant under Moe Iba for 3 years at Nebraska.
Fun Fact: Eastern Illinois is fueled by Jucos. 8 of their 14 players are former Juco players including 4 of the 5 probable starters.
Evan Taylor Presser
Player to watch: Montell Goodwin
The 6'2" senior is the Panther's leading returning scorer, averaging 14.2 a game from last year. He's a 39.1% 3pt shooter comfortable scoring inside the arc as well. Look for Evan Taylor to guard him initially and we'll see how well our senior does guarding the main offensive threat of a team
The Skinny: This E. Illinois team is certainly punchy but by beating Illinois has the Husker's full attention as if the opening game wasn't enough. Thus, we'll initially focus on the Huskers here. This is the deepest squad in the Miles era...Nana Akenten probably won't get on the court unless we have injuries and he potentially starts day 1 for Miles' first team. Not only is the team deep but the depth lines up for most every starter to have a backup in the same position. The current depth chart looks something like this:
PG: Watson - Allen - Thorir
SG: Taylor - Gill - Nana
SF: Palmer - McVeigh
PF: Copeland - Roby
C: Jordy - Okeke - Borchardt
Let's talk about the new guys:
Coming into this season you had to wonder who would be our main scoring threats in addition to Watson and who might get to the FT line. James Palmer seems to be the answer to that question as he's been blowing up during the exhibition season. Miles has referenced Petteway when talking about they dynamic way Palmer has scored but it seems like JP can do this without need to dominate the ball. How will he respond when people start to get game tape on him?
Copeland has struggled a bit with his shot but you can see with his inside-outside shot the staff envisions using him a lot like Walt Pitchford as a stretch four, giving the offense room to drive to the basket. At points the Huskers will need some big games from the former 5 star recruit. Can he deliver? Can he handle guarding some of the PFs in the B1G?
Duby Okeke is going to make teams alter their shots in the paint due to his crazy ups and remarkable wing span. He's been in an offense that really pushed the ball so it's been nice to see that he has some post moves when we've worked the ball into him. Can he stay on the court? Duby has been a human foul most of his career and will continue to hack guys. Can he be disciplined enough to reduce those fouls 50%?
Thomas Allen is a gifted scorer who will see minutes right away and take some of the load off of Watson. Like any other freshman it's a matter of how much can he contribute defensively in order to earn more time on the court.
Eastern Illinois has pushed the pace in the pre-season and I'd expect this veteran squad to continue that trend vs the Huskers. Miles has talked about pushing the pace as well and I think you'll see that at the very least in the first two games. Thus, expect this one to be a lot of fun and a higher scoring affair. Also expect Miles to be grinding his teeth after the game about the lack of defense.
Prediction: Nebraska 85 - E. Illinois 74