Explaining The Grades:
This is a "High B" tonight because I really felt Nebraska was pretty good offensively.
The Huskers were MUCH MORE AWARE of both getting touches inside and attacking the basket, which can be proved by NU shooting 26 free throws (and converting on 20, at 77%).
And how about Nebraska shooting 50% from the field, including 6-11 from our player of the game (Brandon Richardson).
The only two negatives were:
A. The three point shooting was not consistent from half to half. In the opening frame, the Huskers converted on 5-9 from downtown - in the second, NU hit just 1-9.
B. The Huskers forced some bad shots and had rough possessions when they opened things up to double digits late in the second half. It was as if they thought the game was over and they could build their individual numbers. Mainly, there were a couple of bad shots by Bo Spencer, including a fade away from 17 feet that didn't even draw iron and came with 18 on the shot clock and a hand in the face.
But overall, this is a "B+" offensive effort from Nebraska. And honestly, I feel as though NU would have defeated Central Michigan by 12-14 points had Jorge Brian Diaz played. But, I'm starting to get to the point where I'm not convinced that will happen anytime soon (more on that later).
I thought the defense was very similar to the offense, though not quite as sound. I gave the offense more of a "B+" but the defense is closer to a "B-."
Mainly, Nebraska played pitiful defense down the stretch, including but not limited to fouling a three point shooter, not locking down Trey Zeigler in the least and not recognizing shooters.
I have never thought this team (or last years teams) were particularly good on defense. I also don't think they're bad, but I'd like to see them get better.
Nebraska DID double team the post tonight for the first time and mix that in, though more out of neccesity due to injury. The Huskers also had a nice foul court press that caused some problems.
But for the game, CMU still shot 52% and honestly, had Zeigler been able to hit water from the foul line, this game could have gotten ugly.
All in all, NU played above average but just short of good when it came to defense. I give CMU a lot of credit, for I think they're probably equivalent to Iowa or Penn State.
Considering NU played without Diaz, out rebounding a competetent basketball team with some athleticism by five (29 to 24) is pretty good.
For the second straight game, Nebraska was solid on the offensive boards, pulling down twelve second chance rebounds. Brandon Ubel was especially good in this department, as the Overland Park junior finished with five offensive rebounds!
On the other side of things, it would have been nice to keep CMU under nine offensive boards, especialy when they shot 52% from the field, but minus Diaz, I'll take it.
After two straight games of eleven turnovers, the Huskers finished with 14 tonight, though only six in the second half.
I didn't feel as if turnovers really had much of an impact on this game, either way, so I consider that "good."
Who would have ever thunk Doc would get the highest grade tonight?
I thought Nebraska responded well to an abysmal performance against Alcorn State by coming out with more energy and focus, especially offensively. Sure, some of that were that the three point shots were going in early, but NU looked a lot more into this game and at times, was quite sharp.
Honestly, there was a time around the second media timeout of the second half, that I thought Nebraska looked like a REALLY GOOD basketball team, on both sides of the court. I believe the Huskers lost some focus when they get up in double digits and probably, were a bit fatigued.
I liked Doc mixing things up on defense with the doubling of the post and the press.
I thought NU did some nice things offensively, too, and a great call by Doc at the end of the first half to get Toney McCray an open look and a momentum changing three pointer.
Doc did a nice job getting the two freshman in to play meaningful minutes, and I want to point out that I was VERY VERY VERY impressed with how Josiah Moore looked tonight. I'm starting to think he's going to be a good one. I was happy to see that.
Doc deserves some credit for how he's brought both Moore and David Rivers along. Neither have been rushed in and the way he used Mike Fox tonight was good, as well. It's becoming more and more clear that as long as Diaz is out, which could very well be a lengthy amount of time, we're going to need 7-9 minutes a game out of Fox, as Niemann doesn't look capable of doing anything but fouling