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    12/21/2013 - The Citadel Report Card


    hhcdave
    • OVERALL GRADE: D

      You can tell me you don't see this game as alarming and I will understand. I totally get that viewpoint.

      However, I don't share it. To me, this game was just as much of a debacle as Creighton (just in a different way). That marks about the fifth time we've come out with our fingers up our butts this year in the first half. We are NOWHERE NEAR good enough for that.

      Do you honestly think we're all of a sudden just going to turn it on come Big 10? That this will never repeat itself? Its just a few isolated incidents? No chance.

      Habits are learned and mentally, this team is in big, big trouble right now. If we want to ignore that and drink the Kool Aid, I'm fine with that. But if we're being real here, this is pretty damn disturbing.

      Not the kind of effort I would expect against the second worst team on our schedule in a "tune up" game. I hope these guys are as good as they think they are and will now just flip a switch, because it sure doesn't seem like they're working toward it on at least 20% of the 30 times a year they play.

      PLAYER OF THE GAME: TERRAN PETTEWAY

    OFFENSE: D+

    I really wasn't happy with most anything from tonight, so I apologize in advance if my feathers are a little ruffled!

    Offensively, Nebraska came out taking stupid, quick shots and when it wasn't doing that, it was turning the ball over.

    The Huskers clanked more free throws than me at the gym (22-34) and continue to leave Shavon Shields' face on milk cartons with how they forget about him halves (and sometimes games) at a time. In this particular contest, you almost forgot Shields was there until the first two possession of the second half. For awhile, I chalked this up to a young team and a young man (Shields) who needs to do a better job of asserting himself. But I'm starting to wonder if some of this comes back to my hero (Coach Miles), too. This is one of the biggest problems with this team right now - the lack of consistent Shields in the NU offense.

    Thanks to a fairly nice second half (when NU shot a sizzling 63%), the Big Red were able to finish 52% from the field for the night while scoring a respectable 77 against their Southern Conference opponent. Still, don't be fooled - this was not pretty.

    DEFENSE: C-

    I will start by saying that The Citadel got 18 points off of turnovers (though Nebraska, shockingly, got 22). That keeps this grade from being lower.

    With that said, it's still a sad state of affairs that NU let The Citadel connect on 50% of its shots in the first half and for the night, score 62. The Huskers had no answer for Ashton Moore, who put in a team high 21 points.

    REBOUNDING: F

    Nebraska got out rebounded by The Citadel (34 to 30).

    Repeating, Nebraska got out rebounded by The Citadel.

    While Leslee Smith needed to put some stick 'um on his hands to cut down the turnovers, he did finish with a quiet double double (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Shields grabbed 6 boards.

    Pitchford continued his Santa Claus down the chimney like quietness on the boards, pulling down just two in just 12 minutes.

    BALL HANDLING: F

    This was perhaps the most maddening facet of the game.

    First of all, the various zone defenses and looks gave Nebraska fits as it tried to set up its offense.

    Second of all, The Citadel put very little pressure on the Huskers, who turned the ball over NINE times in the first half (just four in the second; 13 total).

    Third, Tai Webster (3 turnovers) and Deverell Biggs (2 turnovers) continue to concern me, especially considering both seemingly had double that amount tonight. I think both have tremendous upside (most notably Webster) but we're getting to the meat of the schedule and its time to start seeing some progress. In the case of Webster, it's almost like he's gone downhill since the FCGU and Georgia games, where he looked the part. Mentally, I think he's really struggling, from turning his back on Coach Miles at halftime of Creighton, to not taking a wide open layup tonight (instead throwing it out to the corner) to getting overly frustrated with turnovers, to missing free throws. He will be fine; I hope Miles continues sticking with him in the lineup. But that still does concern me a bit, that we haven't seen hardly any progress from him since the Charleston Classic (correct me if I'm wrong on that; that's just my opinion).

    COACHING: F

    Tim, I love you to death. You're my boy, blue.

    But that was a completely garbage effort tonight. The first half was EMBARASSING. We're talking Barry Collier losing to Alaska Fairbanks embarrassing. We're talking Collier losing to UMKC embarrassing; we're talking Nee to Western Carolina embarrassing.

    Nebraska should have TRAILED at the half. It didn't even enjoy a 5 point lead until the game was 3/4 over!!!

    I listen to most every Miles press conference/post game, and his players adopted his outlook of this game, plain and simple. And that outlook was, NU would show up and win, because it was much better. It didn't even have to gameplan much. It could look ahead. Miles has even all but said as much, that he allows his players (in a way) to look ahead.

    As a player, that must be an awesome thing. As a fan it is, too. I don't want Coach to ever be less honest and not shoot straight, telling us how it is. Obviously if he did hide more, I wouldn't have been fairly certain this was his view, so I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth.

    But Coach, this team is nowhere near ready for that attitude. I get that it makes them like you more. I get that its relatable. Hell, I get that its common sense, because every single person is doing that (myself included).

    But this is too many times now that this team has come out flat, especially at home, to just "chalk up" to inexperience and laugh off. I was greatly, greatly concerned about this game and the effort. The first half was BRUTAL. That has been a common theme at home this year against several opponents. That comes back to coaching/motivation/focus.

    There's no excuses; this was NOT a true 15 point win. The team played like garbage against a garbage opponent and was lucky Eddie Hightower's crew blew the whistle as it did.

    2013-2014 PLAYER OF THE GAME RESULTS:

    TERRAN PETTEWAY - 5

    TAI WEBSTER - 2

    WALTER PITCHFORD - 2

    LESLEE SMITH - 1

    SHAVON SHIELDS - 1

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    I thinking that for us part of the issue as fans is coming off of 6 years of a coach that couldn't be more different than this one is. I keep catching myself watching NU through the lens of Sadler--looking for discipline, ferocious defense, a sense that no game can be taken for granted from a team that knew it wasn't good enough for swagger. In short, a more humble crew.

     

    It's as if for the first time in years, we have to return to the Nee days--a coach far more similar to Miles--where the tradeoff of getting better athletes is that you lose some of the blue collar charm of a lesser talented team that knows it has to bust its ass to win against anyone.

     

    Maybe I'm alone in that thought, and that's cool. But I'm finding it hard to like this team at all; not because they're bad kids, but because their approach to playing the game is so different than what I've been conditioned to and also the way they're coached is so different than what I was used to.

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    They are young and slow to catch on. Their education is coming and it will come over and over again.

    Contenders bring it every night. Miles knows this and he will balance him teaching and telling with the buckeyes and badgers inflicting lessons. All part of program building. I would rather have the talent depth and youth we have now and keep adding to it.

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    Was in town and able to see my first and only game of the season. I sat behind the bench and I echo everyones thoughts. I'm greatly concerned about what's going on inside these guys heads. The body language, the rolling of the eyes, the lack of support for your teammates is down right embarrassing. Really, the ONLY guys who I noticed who didn't do that crap were Leslee and Ray. Those two are obviously a little older and more mature.

    We are in deep, deep trouble and we'll be lucky to win a game or two in conference.

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    ...we'll be lucky to win a game or two in conference.

     

    Even in our worst years (less a couple), we've been able to handle 4-5 wins. This is a far better team than we've seen in a number of years and I wouldn't expect a complete fallout like you're anticipating.

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    I thinking that for us part of the issue as fans is coming off of 6 years of a coach that couldn't be more different than this one is. I keep catching myself watching NU through the lens of Sadler--looking for discipline, ferocious defense, a sense that no game can be taken for granted from a team that knew it wasn't good enough for swagger. In short, a more humble crew.

     

    It's as if for the first time in years, we have to return to the Nee days--a coach far more similar to Miles--where the tradeoff of getting better athletes is that you lose some of the blue collar charm of a lesser talented team that knows it has to bust its ass to win against anyone.

     

    Maybe I'm alone in that thought, and that's cool. But I'm finding it hard to like this team at all; not because they're bad kids, but because their approach to playing the game is so different than what I've been conditioned to and also the way they're coached is so different than what I was used to.

     

    I watched a number of CSU games when Miles was there, his teams were scrappers and team players, so I don't think it's a philosophy issue. Miles had a lot of medium to small guys taking the fight to the opponent every night and winning.

     

    I think Pettaway and Pitchford are BIg Ten caliber players, but they are not complete players nor team leaders, yet. I'm not knocking them, I find a lot to like about them, but at this point, roles on this team are still being defined and we lack true leadership on the court. 

     

    Why?

    Our senior is a shooting specialist (I wish he'd shoot more, but missing those early games and the injury seems to have sapped some confidence)

    Webster, our point guard and floor orchestrator isn't shooting at all and seems too nervous with the ball.

    One of our glue guys last year, Rivers, is watching the entire game from the bench.

    Shields, the only guy returning from last year who looked Big Ten ready, is invisible for long stretches.

     

    We take too many questionable threes, and the easy transition baskets aren't there because we lack a confident primary ball handler. We are trailing in rebounding, and when we do rebound,  I'm not seeing quick outlet passes, I'm seeing lateral and backward passes so we come down to face a set defense rather than transition.

     

    The thing that gives me hope is that Pettaway and Shields have shown the ability to get to the rim, and finish. Pettaway has been fairly consistent with that, and Shields showed some spark with it to start the second half last night. I think we need to find someone on the team who is going to rebound (Rivers?) and someone who is going to push in transition (Parker? Biggs?) There are minutes to be claimed by guys who want to claim these roles. Now's the time fellas.

     

    Also, a crying shame that in the most whistle-plentiful season in living memory, we are missing foul shots. Drive, draw fouls, deliver 2 points. Let's go Huskers!

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    Welcome back to the board, Dave. I hope you enjoyed your honeymoon cruise with Coach Tim, but it is refreshing to have a game summary uncoated by a thin candy shell of false optimism for the program. Hopefully the return to reality based summaries will yield some A and A+'s as well. We'll see what comes, but the Cincinnati game may well be a portent of our fate during the remainder of this season.

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    Holy cow, did we lose by 10 or something? Sounds like the sky is falling.

    We're probably not gonna beat Cincinnati, but I don't think we can already call this team and season a wash. When the team is on, they can still compete with most of the big ten. May not beat them, but they have the talent to compete.

    Not going to hold a fifteen point win against anyone. Especially when you know the team wasn't exactly juiced up to play a far inferior opponent when they are the only ones on campus and would just like to go home.

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    We're not very good, and how that could be a big surprise to anyone is mind boggling.  This is the time of year I'll start spending less time on here, as it's not that fun to live in the moment, and those moments will include a lot of losses.  With this young and inexperienced group, that will include some really bad losses.  Let the meltdowns begin.   The nature of the message board beast is that there must be BLAME.  Someone is always at fault and deserves blame.   As opposed to things being a natural result of a program hitting rock bottom and finishing dead last in our league 2 of 3 years, and then needing to start over and begin a gradual, rather than immediate, ascent.  This will take time, and there will be some one step forward two steps back moments.  Mainly, we will just need it to be next year, to develop the callouses this young group will need to figure things out.  We can analyze the hell out everything, but getting experience and maturation, not to mention a post defender, is what will be needed.

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    I walked away from the game a bit frustrated, but not angry.  It really looked like we were looking beyond Citadel, and I do not blame the team or coaches.  We are preparing for what is coming at us. You could see that we adjusted, and when we did, we were fine. 

     

    As mentioned by Coach Miles, this year is going to be like an EKG machine...a lot of ups and downs. 

     

    A few other observations.  Once again it wasn't the offense that was a failure, it was the finishing.  We should have easily scored another fifteen to twenty points by simply finishing on a couple of shots and increasing our free throw shooting 10% or so.  This isn't on the coaches, it is on the players concentration.  A big part of concentration is maturity. 

     

    Defense was pretty good, but there were breakdowns after about 20 to 25 seconds.  Plus, Citadel hit some shots that left me shaking my head. 

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    We're not very good, and how that could be a big surprise to anyone is mind boggling.  This is the time of year I'll start spending less time on here, as it's not that fun to live in the moment, and those moments will include a lot of losses.  With this young and inexperienced group, that will include some really bad losses.  Let the meltdowns begin.   The nature of the message board beast is that there must be BLAME.  Someone is always at fault and deserves blame.   As opposed to things being a natural result of a program hitting rock bottom and finishing dead last in our league 2 of 3 years, and then needing to start over and begin a gradual, rather than immediate, ascent.  This will take time, and there will be some one step forward two steps back moments.  Mainly, we will just need it to be next year, to develop the callouses this young group will need to figure things out.  We can analyze the hell out everything, but getting experience and maturation, not to mention a post defender, is what will be needed.

     

    Nailed it.  Building this program up from rock bottom is a process and needs to be viewed season by season - not game by game.  Even in that context there will be steps forward and steps backward along the way.  I am still very optimistic that we are FINALLY headed in the right direction.

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    I walked away from the game a bit frustrated, but not angry. It really looked like we were looking beyond Citadel, and I do not blame the team or coaches. We are preparing for what is coming at us. You could see that we adjusted, and when we did, we were fine.

    As mentioned by Coach Miles, this year is going to be like an EKG machine...a lot of ups and downs.

    A few other observations. Once again it wasn't the offense that was a failure, it was the finishing. We should have easily scored another fifteen to twenty points by simply finishing on a couple of shots and increasing our free throw shooting 10% or so. This isn't on the coaches, it is on the players concentration. A big part of concentration is maturity.

    Defense was pretty good, but there were breakdowns after about 20 to 25 seconds. Plus, Citadel hit some shots that left me shaking my head.

    Nailed it here. This is a very young team with some deficiencies, and while the deficiencies can't be ignored, this team will be fine. In time. We will take our lumps this year. We will be up and down, as coach has stated numerous times. As the season goes along we will figure things out.

    We've become accustomed to teams over the last several years that we knew what we were getting and everything else was a bonus. We would have 2 or 3 guys who could potentially produce and you knew you wouldn't get anything out of the rest. When they did, huge bonus. Teams that were pretty much void of talent. Now we get a team full of talented but brand new pieces, all extremely young and inexperienced. Getting these pieces to learn their roles, mesh, and gain proper experience is going to take time. But at least the potential is there. Miles got last years team to buy in and they improved all the way to the end of the season. I thinks it's too early to say we're in huge trouble this season. Are we going to have some big losses coming up? Absolutely. But I'm not about to complain about a 15 point win. Was it pretty? No way. But as it was pointed out, it could've easily been 30, and if that happens everyone is happy that the team did what they were supposed to. Multiple bunnies were missed, and many FTs rimmed out. The rattling type that were pretty much dead center but caromed out. Focus on those small things (which we obviously need to do) and the result is different. We will be fine.

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    I was very frustrated with this game. We should have lost, The Citadel just ran out of guys. We didn't have the game in hand until the 4 minute mark and The Citadel knew they didn't have another run in them and gave up. 

     

    We were completely out coached this game. What is the identity of this team???? We don't defend.. and what is our goal on offense besides letting Petteway chuck up any shot he wants? 

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    If looking ahead ends up with us winning a few of these next upcoming games, I'll take the close call.

    With the number of tweets I saw after the game about players heading home, that could have been as big of a contributor to the slow start as overlooking the opponent.

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    I was very frustrated with this game. We should have lost, The Citadel just ran out of guys. We didn't have the game in hand until the 4 minute mark and The Citadel knew they didn't have another run in them and gave up.

    We were completely out coached this game. What is the identity of this team???? We don't defend.. and what is our goal on offense besides letting Petteway chuck up any shot he wants?

    Wow. While I won't argue with you on whether the team has an identity yet, I'm sure glad Petteway was allowed to "chuck up any shot he wanted" last night. Otherwise we might really be in meltdown mode right now. With an entire team being pretty complacent, Petteway was the lone aggressor in the first half, actually wanting to get to the rim. As far as I could tell, he was our only guy interested in playing basketball the first half. Without him, we are down double figures at half and we probably lose.

    Are we ready to fire Tim Miles? I'm not going to go look at minutes, but why is Petteway the one player who's always on the floor if he's such a detriment to the team?

    I guess I'm just an excuse giving, kool aid drinker...

    I must've missed the portion of the game where we didn't defend. 62 points is halfway solid. The way I saw it was that The Citadel made shot after shot after shot in the first half. They hit a lot of jumpers. I won't argue that they were all highly contested but I did notice more than several that were of the higher difficulty, fade away, mid range type. And they made them anyway. Give them credit. So you had an non-agressive Huskers team going against a team that shot over 50% in the first half.

    And The Citadel just gave up? That's why we won is because the other team gave up? I kinda thought they were still trying. They were still shooting the basketball, the shots were just not falling anymore. You could argue that the legs were gone due to the short bench and thus the shots quit falling, but to say they gave up?

    Not trying to pick here just trying to understand where some of us are at with this team. Is it because we have so much more talent? Everyone envisions what could or should be and the frustration just comes out sooner? As opposed to previous years (like last season) where expectations are way less and anything positive that happens is just icing?

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    I meant it as an identity for the whole season not just the game. I agree with you Petteway played probably his best game of the year, I'm not going to argue with you on that point. I agree with you completely about Petteway for the game against The Citadel.

     

    I also never said he was "such a detriment to the team" I'm just saying that's what our identity looks like on offense for the season. He's a good scorer but we can not be a one trick pony on offense all season. 

     

    The Citadel shot 50% from the field, that is not a solid effort on defense. They were getting easy shots, and driving to the basket. College players can knock down shots if they are not contested. A lot of the shots were uncontested. Remember this was a 4 win team, 2 of their wins were against non-division 1 opponents. 

     

    They were only down 5 with 4 minutes to play, and then Van Scyock fouled out and we made a couple plays and the writing was on the wall for them. They ran out of gas with a short bench and they quit making shots it wasn't because of our "solid defense"

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    So ...this is the first game I missed this year...and I believe it will be the last.

    I note, In this article  

    http://journalstar.com/sports/huskers/life-in-the-red/talking-body-language/article_3d721304-69c7-11e3-b380-001a4bcf887a.html

     

    mention is made of negative body language...which we have had more than enough of...

    Can somebody tell me the players having the symptoms?

    I assume TP is one... based on past performance...but tell me if I am wrong...but somebody, please fill me in.

     

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    Dave, I could have gone with D+ for the offense for the first half but not for the entire game.  How do you shoot over 50% from the floor in a winning effort and only rate a D+ offensively?  First half, yes.  We were lucky to have finished the half in a tie.  But 2nd half was much better than a D+ performance and the first half certainly wasn't a fail.

     

    I also don't see coaching or rebounding or anything else as a fail.  The kind of grading system I understand, an F is a fail.  There were aspects of our performance last night that weren't great but I didn't see any that I thought were fails. 

     

    Third thing is Miles having the team look ahead.  That's not the way I understood the comment.  The way I understood Miles comment about having the players looking ahead is, hey, look at the road ahead and see how many extremely tough games are looming just around the corner.  We have to take care of business and win any that we can or we could find ourselves going O-fer through that stretch. 

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    So ...this is the first game I missed this year...and I believe it will be the last.

    I note, In this article

    http://journalstar.com/sports/huskers/life-in-the-red/talking-body-language/article_3d721304-69c7-11e3-b380-001a4bcf887a.html

    mention is made of negative body language...which we have had more than enough of...

    Can somebody tell me the players having the symptoms?

    I assume TP is one... based on past performance...but tell me if I am wrong...but somebody, please fill me in.

    Biggs was the guy who stuck out to me. He looked a bit disinterested until I think he was called with a charge, and then #33 talked trash and bumped into him. Biggs held his tongue and then looked straight at miles and seemed be look like he couldn't defend himself against that guy.

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    Plus, I'm not sure if this has been mentioned, but Walter was definitely not 100% yesterday. He spent much of the 2nd half on the bike, and that may be part of the reason he only got 12 minutes

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    Plus, I'm not sure if this has been mentioned, but Walter was definitely not 100% yesterday. He spent much of the 2nd half on the bike, and that may be part of the reason he only got 12 minutes

     

    Good eye

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    Some very, very good discussion in this thread. I've agreed with parts of every single post, even those disagreeing with me. That's what I love about this group of posters and this site - best by far I've ever seen.

     

    With that said, one comment I'd like to make in regards to some people talking about the big picture of the program and building. Again, I agree individual games are only small steps in the direction of a program. I'm not talking about the program as a whole (unless specifically stated) the majority of the time when writing these. They are report cards only focusing on one particular game - being nitpicky as all heck! Just remember that as season goes on, either way, that just because I say something about a certain game, doesn't mean I'm saying that about the future of the program.

     

    I definitely think The Citadel is completely awful and still won't concede much in my grades or concern; however, as I stated in original post and in this one, I can totally understand other side of things, too, and even agree on some of the points.

     

    GBR!

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    Noah was back.  Despite a lackluster perfromance by our Huskers, Noah brought it consistently throughout the game.  He has refined some of his dance moves, and worked them into his routines flawlessly.  A solid "A" on the Noah Report Card.  

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