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  • hhcdave

    HHC Report Card: 2011 Michigan State @ Home



    There were stretches of this basketball game where Nebraska looked very good offensively, most notably in the early portions of the game and during a decent chunk of the middle of the second half.

    The problem was, Nebraska fumbled away two easy layups on mishandled balls, they missed a couple of key front ends of one and one's and at the end, shutdown defense was played on Bo Spencer so he wasn't able to knock down any key shots. Both today and many times this year, the Huskers seem to melt down offensively when they face a deficit. It's like they panic and an individual FORCES an individual play, rather than running the entire offense.

    For the night, Nebraska hit just 36% from the field, though to their credit, they connected on 80% from the foul line on 15 attempts.

    Our Player of the Game is Toney McCray, who scored 14 points on 5-10 shooting from the field, along with a team leading 6 rebounds. He needed to play much more than 24 minutes, however.



    I really thought Nebraska played quite well on defense. I would call this a "B+" effort.

    Actually, I'd put this as perhaps the best defense NU has shown all year, though the Spartans still connected on 46% from the field and scored 68 points.

    However, 5-7 of those points came at the end when the game was in decision and Nebraska was fouling, so this was a solid 60 points allowed (in my mind) by the Huskers.

    Huge props to Doc Sadler for his double teaming of the post, as it turned Michigan State over 14 times, including some key ones in the second half that allowed Nebraska to make this a game and cut the lead to 3 points.

    In the end, Michigan State was just a better team, and the Huskers had trouble containing dribble drives.

    This was a very encouraging game, however, for a team that probably plays the worst defense out of the six squads Doc has coached here at Nebraska.



    More than anywhere else, this game was lost on the boards, as Nebraska was out rebounded by 14 (38 to 24) and gave up 12 offensive rebounds, including about half of those in the first eight minutes of the game.

    Far too often, the Huskers tried to jump for balls rather than boxing out, and it didn't help that Michigan State was often quicker than NU, either, especially when Christopher Niemann was in the game.

    Doc has no other choice but to play Niemann but honestly, its getting to the point where you have to question what he brings to the floor.



    Nebraska earned an "A+" for just two first half turnovers.

    However, the Huskers bumbled and rumbled the ball around the floor in the second half, en route to ten turnovers and twelve for the game.

    As mentioned above, there were some very key turnovers, too, which took away easy points, including McCray's when NU was down 7 in the latter stages of the second half.

    Nebraska certainly can't afford 4 turnovers from the 5th year senior, either.



    Doc did a great job getting his team ready for this game.

    At the end of the day, however, it didn't matter, as Michigan State was easily the superior basketball team in terms of talent and athleticism.

    However, you have to give Coach Sadler props for his plan on defense and Tom Izzo certainly had nice things to say about him.

    “We’re happy to have you (Nebraska) in the Big Ten, number one. You’ve got a hell of a coach. (Doc) did a better job than me today. He got his team to play as hard as any team we’ve played this year. I thought early they were swarming, they were moving."

    I also thought Doc did a much better job with his substitution patterns in this contest after mind blowingly inexplainable decisions against Wisconsin.

    I had no problem with him bringing Bo Spencer off the bench to start. In fact, I thought it was a smart move. It was certainly unorthodox, but when you're David facing Goliath, you have to think in this manner.

    The only time the subs were bad were out of the under 8 minute media timeout in the second half, when Mike Fox and (I believe, going from memory) David Rivers came in. The game went from 3 to 7 in a hurry.

    Speaking of Rivers, he had one of the truly worst stretches of basketball I've ever seen at the college level in the latter stages of the first half, as he made mistakes in literally four possessions in a row.



    It is both good and bad that we played a "B" level game this afternoon.

    Good in that the team legitimately played very hard and competed for 40 minutes. They made this a game despite being outclassed at nearly every position on the floor.

    Bad, however, in that they:

    A. lost by 13 and

    B. Are that far behind in talent this deep into Coach Sadler's tenure. And yes, that's even with Diaz and Talley, though NU might win this game, to be honest, with those two.

    Still, injuries happen, and you have to be able to overcome them. And, you need to see more difference making out of true freshman to triumph over injuries, which we have rarely (if ever) seen under Sadler.

    Let's get the massacre on Tuesday out of the way and focus on defeating both Illinois and Penn State at home.

    PLAYER OF THE GAME: Toney McCray


    Bo Spencer - 4

    Toney McCray - 4

    Jorge Brian Diaz - 2

    Brandon Richardson - 2

    Brandon Ubel - 1

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