Explaining The Grades:
Slightly below average night offensively, with the Huskers struggling to hit 30 points in each half against a very ordinary low-major program.
The thing that has been Nebraska's bugaboo the last fifteen years continued to be tonight - free throw shooting. Apparently Jorge Brian Diaz didn't work on it over the summer, and his effort at the stripe is very uninspiring, with a couple of bounces, a brief look up and a fire. It's almost like he's looking at the basket as an after thought when he shoots from the line. As a team, the Huskers were just 12-19 from the line.
I really liked what I saw on the offensive end from Caleb Walker, Bo Spencer and Dylan Talley.
Walker was very Walker like - taking advantage of open looks and creating easy baskets off of second chance opportunities and hard work. All in turn led to a career high 16 points.
Spencer played under control and VERY unselfishly. He carried 0 points well into the second half but you couldn't tell it by his consistent, calm approach to running the offense. Not a single force until a long three with under three minutes left.
Talley looks as though he can be a very good scorer, and I love his ability to shoot from downtown. He has a quicker release than I expected from people I'd spoken with this offseason.
Not to pick on Diaz again, but his low post defense was even more uninspiring than his free throw shooting. While he didn't give up as many points as he could have, due to missed looks and turnovers by USD, he consistently was beaten by sub par post players, as were Brandon Ubel and Christopher Niemann.
Really disappointed in our post defense and I think it could be an issue throughout the year.
Perimeter wise, I thought NU played well. Walker, as mentioned above, was Walker, and Richardson was Richardson. Very pleased with how we played defensively on the perimeter.
All in all, results were achieved, as the Huskers held the Coyotes to just 48 points.
The stat sheet shows NU did okay in this category, but again, like our low post defense, I fear this is going to be a tough, tough year keeping good teams off of the offensive glass.
Talley rebounded well, too. He and Walker could form a pretty dynamic rebounding combo out of the guard position.
WAYYYYY too sloppy, WAYYYYY too many turnovers (18), WAYYYYY too many near turnovers.
An optimist can say our turnover total went down since the Doane game.
However, we still have a long way to go!
Doc did a great job of keeping players fresh and not riding anyone, with an important road game on Monday night.
I also think the shuffling is probably the main reason we are so sloppy with the basketball right now. I know Doc would never use that as an excuse, but it would be a fair one.
However, if NU can't keep its turnovers under 15 on Monday night, it will not win.
One other thing - why Mike Fox for all of those minutes before Rivers? Who has the higher upside? Who is part of our long term plans? Who can put the ball in the basket this year? Very confused.
Overall, this is an average first game. There were some good things, such as the play of Walker, Talley, Spencer and B. Rich knocking down some nice looking three's. That is one thing that can not be understated, the importance of getting Richardson going again.
There were some bad things, such as ball handling, free throw shooting and the play of Diaz.
Obviously, NU will have to play much better on Monday night. And in scary news, we have just six weeks until Big 10 play begins. So, the Huskers will have to correct some things fast.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Caleb Walker
PLAYER OF THE GAME TOTALS:
Caleb Walker - 1