Head Coach: Robert McCullum (12th year)
Location: Lawrenceville, NJ
Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Mascot: AJ the Bronc
Last time out: Lost to Marquette 95-65
Clothes not to wear: Cranberry, Gray, Thanksgiving themed items
Opening Line: Nebraska by 15
- Nebraska looking to start 3-0 for the first time in the Hoiberg era
- Nebraska has put together an on campus, non-bracketed Multi-Team Event (MTE) with Rider, Stony Brook, and Duquesne where each team will play each other. The purpose of this is that in order to play 31 games, you need to play in a MTE else the most regular season games you can play is 29. It's silly but it's how college basketball works. In the past few years Nebraska has travelled around Thanksgiving but this year opted to host their own event, which is what other fine institutions do as well. (The "Blue Devil Challenge" is Duke, Bucknell, La Salle, and Southern Indiana).
- This is the first ever meeting between Rider and Nebraska.
- Took a lot of searching to find out who the mascot was for Rider as Rider didn't decide on a mascot name until 2016 and no one has cared to update their Wikipedia page. It was named AJ in honor of Rider's first school president, Andrew J. Rider.
Player to watch: Mervin James
James emerged as Rider's go-to post player last season and has been tabbed as the MAAC pre-season player of the year. At 6'7" 215# James either slots at PF or as a small-ball 5. Active on the offensive boards and outstanding FT shooter.
Player to watch: Allen Powell
6'2" Shooting guard who can't consistently knock down an outside shot though expect Rider to give him the green line. Powell is in his 5th year at Rider and was named to the Preseason All-MAAC first team.
Others to watch
- Tariq Ingraham - The 6'9" 255# transfer spent 3 injury plagued years at Wake Forest before having an up and down season for the Broncs. Had a solid 11 points and 8 rebounds in 28 minutes vs Marquette.
- TJ Weeks - The 6'4" UMass transfer guard is the player most likely to make 3s against Nebraska though he's a career 36.5% shooter from deep. His brother Tyriek Weeks also transferred to the team from JUCO Miami Dade
- Corey McKeithan - 6'0" PG who isn't much of a scoring threat and turns the ball over quite a bit. Pesky defender though.
UNL Game Notes
5 Ahron Ulis 6-3 190 lbs Junior - Waiting to hear from NCAA re gambling
15 Blaise Keita 6-11 257 lbs Junior - Ongoing ankle injury recovery
4 Juwan Gary 6-6 221 lbs Junior - Violation of team rules
2 Ramel Lloyd Jr. 6-6 210 lbs RS Freshman - Knee
Possible starters for Nebraska
10 Jamarques Lawrence 6-3 183 lbs Sophomore
30 Keisei Tominaga 6-2 179 lbs Senior
3 Brice Williams 6-7 213 lbs Junior
53 Josiah Allick 6-8 231 lbs Senior
51 Rienk Mast 6-10 248 lbs Junior
0 C.J. Wilcher 6-5 214 lbs Junior
9 Jarron Coleman 6-5 213 lbs Senior
1 Sam Hoiberg 6-0 183 lbs Sophomore
11 Eli Rice 6-8 213 lbs Freshman
21 Matar Diop 6-10 213 lbs Freshman
31 Cale Jacobsen 6-4 200 lbs RS Freshman
35 Henry Burt 6-7 216 lbs RS Freshman
24 Jeffrey Grace III 6-3 197 lbs Sophomore
Thanks to rules by the B1G about player availability we'll know around 4-5 pm which players won't be available for Nebraska. At this point going to assume that Keisei comes back whereas Lloyd and Gary still won't be available. Guessing that Keisei bumps Wilcher out of the starting lineup but really could see Williams or Allick coming off the bench to start this one as well. Nice to have this sort of depth.
The competition turns up a bit as this Rider isn't super talented but it's easily the most experienced and put together team the Husker have faced thus far. Four of the five starters were with the team last year and transfer starter Weeks is a 5th year senior. They rank 26th in KenPom's D-1 experience ranking and this continuity is a big reason the Broncs were picked to finish so high in the MAAC. Similarly, it's part of the reason Nebraska is picked to have their best year under Fred Hoiberg.
Unlike the Huskers, Rider isn't deep. Any sort of foul trouble will be very bad for the Broncs. Look for both teams to try and take away the 2 which should hurt Rider a lot more as they're a poor 3pt shooting team. Speaking of 3pt shooting, have you noticed that Nebraska is taking a lot of them? It's not your imagination that the Huskers are taking and even making more 3pt shots than they ever have in the Hoiberg era. This team likely won't best any of the Nebraska records for 3pt shooting percentage but right now they're well on their way to breaking the team's 3pt shot and make records. The wild thing is they're doing it without Keisei Tominaga.
As far as tonight's game, this is the type of experienced team that could give you fits if you let them hang around. Look for Nebraska to have take care of business again.
Prediction: Nebraska 85 - Rider 62