By Dave Brandon
Explaining The Grades:
Near Flawless Poor
If you told me Nebraska would shoot 38% from the field and 68% from the foul line prior to this game, I’d have told you Nebraska would lose by 10-15 points.
Instead, the Huskers used these numbers to pull off the biggest win since Wednesday, which makes this the biggest win in several years.
I give Nebraska a solid “B” in this game simply because I thought Texas played terrific defense and took away a lot of the things the Huskers were trying to do. That was more Texas’ execution than Nebraska’s lack of such.
The Huskers did shoot the ball well from downtown, connecting on 50% and winning the game behind clutch trey’s from Cookie Miller, Sek Henry and Ade Dagunduro (a couple of those were ridiculous, but it’s about time Nebraska gets a break like that. Now we’re starting to even things out from earlier this year).
We’ll get to this more in ball handling, but I thought Nebraska’s offense was the supporting cast to its defense, as the Big Red took care of the basketball, kept Texas out of transition baskets and slowed the game into the 50’s where they could win it.
It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to play the style Nebraska does, and they did it today.
P.S. How about that Toney McCray today?
Nebraska won this game on the defensive end, though like I mentioned above, that also came from discipline on offense.
Defensively, the Huskers were terrific, and Texas had trouble getting a good look in the final ten minutes of the game, especially once Nebraska switched things up (literally) on A.J. Abrams and kept him from even catching the basketball without two defenders on him.
The Huskers did allow 16 points to Abrams, and 12 to Damion James, but I thought their defense on both was great, especially James, who earned nearly all of his points from the outside, where you can live with him shooting.
The Huskers got out boarded by 12 in the opening half, but finished just negative 4 on the glass, which is simply a testament to the hard work, determination and hustle of Nebraska.
My friend Dustin said it best when he told me, “Every player on this team is 5% better since we don’t have any big men outside of Chris Balham. They wouldn’t be as good with a big man as they are right now.”
I actually agree with that statement, and does anyone have any doubt that redshirting Brian Diaz wasn’t the right move anymore?
I wrote before this game that Nebraska must keep Texas below 60 (check) and that they must have less than 13 turnovers (check).
In fact, the Huskers finished well below 13, only turning the ball over 10 times and limiting Texas to just 9 points off of turnovers and exactly ZERO fast break points.
Let me repeat that, ZERO fast break points.
Couldn’t have been any better.
Coach Sadler is right on many things.
For starters, had we not had uncharacteristic bail out three pointers from Cookie Miller, Sek Henry AND Ade Dagunduro in the SAME GAME (and all three of them, not just one or two), things would have been much different. AKA, the players make plays and today they did, making everyone look better.
Coach is also correct in that he’s been saying the whole season that if the effort continues the way it’s been, even during NU’s tough stretch of close Big 12 losses, the wins would come. Well, we’re starting to see that hard work pay off now and this team catching some breaks.
Coach is substituting magnificently and keeping the troops refreshed.
He’s constantly making adjustments on defense and has his team disciplined as hell on offense.
He has every player diving for loose balls and buying into everything.
And he’s got some buzz back in the state of Nebraska for Husker Hoops.
This would be an “A+” had Nebraska shot free throws and field goals better.
The Huskers played a true team game today, to a tee. Can anyone think of one player who played below average today? Can anyone think of one player who didn’t contribute?
Nebraska (as in the state) should be proud of this basketball team and their resolve.
Many, including myself, had all but written the NIT off this year and started to quietly look into the future as recently as 10 days ago.
At this point, it’d be a major disappointment if Nebraska didn’t make the NIT and to be honest, it wouldn’t be too big of a shock if Nebraska snuck to 9-7 and 4th place in the Big 12, and by grabbing 1-2 Big 12 Tournament wins, snuck into the Big Dance.
And that’s really saying something.
HHC Player Of the Game: Ade Dagunduro
HHC PLAYER OF THE GAME SEASON TOTALS:
Ade Dagunduro - 5
Steve Harley - 5
Cookie Miller - 5
Sek Henry - 4
Ryan Anderson - 2
Paul Velander - 2
Toney McCray - 1
NEXT UP: At Missouri, Saturday, February 14th at 12:30 pm