Explaining The Grades:
As Doc Sadler said after the game, 76 points should be enough to win at home.
And while Nebraska had two of its patented scoring droughts which led to extended Oregon runs (one at the end of the first half and one in the middle of the second half), NU still shot 47% from the field and 84% from the foul line en route to its 76 points. And it was a legit 76 without any cake points at the end.
We continue to say it but it can't be said enough - it is SO NICE to have two players who can score at any time and take over a game in Bo Spencer and Dylan Talley. The last time NU had TWO guys like this, that can create for themselves and carry a team, was probably the Lue and Hamilton combo in 1998.
Player of the Game nearly went to Brandon Ubel, who helped get NU off to a good start on the offensive end and finished with 15 points in 33 minutes including 5-7, 1-1 and 4-4.
But Jorge Brian Diaz played just a bit better, especially down the stretch, as the 6-10 junior scored 21 points on 8-11 and 5-7 in 34 minutes and as such, earns our Player of the Game honors.
I am very concerned about his minutes played as the year goes on and wearing down come conference play, but that's a different conversation for a different day.
Nebraska was a train wreck defensively, and it started with doubling the post for the first 10 minutes of the game and giving up open jumper after open jumper, or penetration after a pump fake on what was perceived as an open jumper.
Credit Oregon, however, for hitting the open shots and for crisp and sound ball movement. The Ducks connected on 49% from the field tonight, including 42% from downtown, and seemingly couldn't miss in the first 30 minutes of the game.
NU was no doubt poor tonight defensively, but I think you have to give Oregon a lot of credit, too. They sure looked a lot like an NCAA team tonight and one that played a GOOD game. There is at least some comfort to be had in losing to a good team that played a good game.
Nebraska was average on the boards tonight, but there were a couple of offensive rebounds allowed that just killed NU.
The obvious one was in the last minute, Diaz not being stronger with the basketball and in a tie game, giving Oregon another possession, which ultimately led to points and NU's demise.
The other was off of a two shot foul miss late in the second half, when Ubel and Diaz were both rebounding. I don't remember the exact time left or situation but NU was in the midst of making a comeback and it was a huge swing that undoubtedly cost the Huskers a lot of time and effort, not too mention two points.
The defensive rebounding has GOT to get better. Its by no means awful - but it's also not good.
The Huskers finished with 15 turnovers, which is the MAX you ever want to give up in a regulation game.
However, it really didn't feel like that many turnovers and NU did a nice job of keeping Oregon out of easy fast break baskets. The Huskers also only directly turned it over once out of the Duck press (when Talley made a bad pass).
I really thought Nebraska handled the ball well tonight and for the most part, this allowed NU to get a good shot in its offensive sets.
I really have few qualms with Doc tonight. I thought he coached a good game and his team battled and played hard.
The Huskers got good shots out of timeouts and out of bounds plays. Doc did a nice job managing timeouts. He switched out of the doubling the post when it was clear it wasn't working. He mixed in some zone. And he stuck to a tight rotation and kept guys as fresh as he could.
NU's only downfall tonight was its defense, and we all know that's not because of Doc's coach but rather, a byproduct of an off night by his personnel and an opposing team that deserves an awful lot of credit.
All in all, I didn't think Nebraska played that badly tonight.
As mentioned above, NU was good offensively, bad defensively and fair on the boards. The effort was good and even on a night where it didn't play great, the Huskers were right there until the end against a likely NCAA team that was firing on all cylinders. I suspect Oregon played a "B+" level game tonight and while its not good to say "it's a good sign we kept it close," I really have a hard time feeling like the world is closing in on the Huskers after this.
Before the season began, I believed NU needed to get through this schedule with 2 losses heading into Big 10 play. As long as NU beats Wake Forest on Wednesday and splits the games at TCU and at Creighton, the Huskers will enter the Big 10 with ZERO bad losses and as the season goes on, a Top 65 RPI. If NU can take care of business Wednesday versus Wake and split those two games, and somehow near .500 in the league, it will be a legitimate Bubble Team come Selection Sunday. And in the end, that's the minimum progress we should expect this year and honestly, what I believe will happen.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jorge Brian Diaz
Caleb Walker – 2
Brandon Richardson – 1
Jorge Brian Diaz - 1