Explaining The Grades:
Nebraska shot the ball at insane clips today, especially in the first half (60% from the field). For the game, NU connected on 57% from the field, including 44% from downtown, and from the foul line, the Big Red nailed three out of every four free throws it shot (9-12).
Our Player of the Game goes to Caleb Walker, who connected on 7 of 8 from the field en route to 17 points, 4 assists and 1 turnover in 28 minutes.
As a team, the Huskers completely demolished URI's man to man defense, and even after seeing a zone for the game's final 30 minutes, NU still managed to score 55 more points.
Even if Nebraska hadn't shot the ball at the level it did today, which it won't most nights, it still would have earned a high "B+" for its execution.
Small sample size, but the Rams had been averaging 90 points per contest coming in, and the Huskers played good enough defense where there was a possibility of Runza's happening until about halfway through the second half. That in itself is quite the accomplishment.
Nebraska saw OUTSTANDING defense from nearly everyone who played, including Brandon Richardson, Dylan Talley (whose defense is getting much better) and Walker. The team forced 18 turnovers on the foundation of creating 10 steals, led by a team high 4 from the aforementioned B-Rich, and 3 from Bo Spencer.
If there was one area to be concerned with, it was the fact that the Rams grabbed 15 offensive rebounds AND out boarded the Huskers for the game (34 to 32). Of course, when you miss far more shots, you're bound to get more long misses, but still, there were many times that Nebraska did a poor job of boxing out and as Doc Sadler pointed out after the game, "your defense isn't as good as you think if you can't secure rebounds out of it." This must improve.
24 assists to 13 turnovers. It doesn't get a whole lot better than that, especially against a team that likes to press you full court.
Nebraska did a good job of showing the URI press for what it was early - a "Mickey Mouse Press."
And out of the press, I loved seeing NU make URI pay for pressing, converting on some easy buckets, especially early on.
Doc kept everyone fresh, most notably the big men, with frequent substitutions. He was able to get the freshman five quality minutes together and still get a 20 point win in the process.
The team played tremendous defense and was obviously ready for this game.
As Doc himself always points out, things look a lot better offensively when the ball goes in, but as I also said above, it seemed as though NU had much more purpose within its offense in this game, and that's great to see, especially for it only being game number three.
Nebraska put the gas pedal on Rhode Island early and never let off. They broke a press with ease, they made open shots that they created off of ball movement and screens, they played terrific defense and they passed the basketball as well as they have in several games, dating back to last year.
Great win today, and lots to look forward to!
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Caleb Walker
Caleb Walker - 2
Brandon Richardson - 1