Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mini-preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers

Is there a weirder team in the conference than Nebraska? Colorado is certainly the worst – as the 45 point loss to Missouri should prove – but Nebraska looks like a high school team. They are playing six guys 20+ minutes a game. Of those six, the tallest is 6'5" Ade Dagunduro – he of the 11 points and nearly four rebounds per game. Behind those six, you have 6'6" freshman Toney McCray – thus far he's averaged just under 18 minutes, 7 points and 4 boards. And finally, you have Chris Balham. Those in the area may remember him from his days at Shawnee Mission West. After moving from Paris with his family, Balham became a decent HS player (with averages of 11 points, 11 boards & 4 blocks) in garnering honorable mention All-State consideration as a senior.

Wow, that is one tiny little team! I suppose that should explain how they were able to lose to the Baltimore-Maryland County Retrievers. And make it all the more hilarious that they recently beat the Missouri Tigers. But really, I like Steve Harley's game – despite completely dominating them beyond belief the last few years, he showed some promise and is a solid college guard. And I'd echo those same sentiments about Dagunduro and Henry. Both are long athletes that can challenge (guard's) shots, can get to the rim and even pull up a little bit. Even Cookie Miller, despite his height disadvantage is a decent little PG that can take care of the ball and dish it out as well. But what makes this team so hilarious to me is that despite having less height than most AAU teams, they can't shoot the ball either. They have exactly one guy – Paul Velander – worth really accounting for from three point range. For the year, Velander is 40/84 for 47.6%. A true marksman, Velander has only attempted 9 two point FGs on the season. Yes, you read that right – he's taken 93 shots, but 84 have been from beyond the arc – so I think we know how to play him. Second is Sek Henry at 40%, but 16/41 doesn't exactly put the fear of God into you.

Despite how it seems, I'm not posting this simply to ridicule Nebraska. Hell, they beat Missouri, who beat current Pac 10 leader Cal, who beat Arizona, who beat our Kansas Jayhawks. So according to the transitive property we just might be in some trouble. In fact, Reid Gettys doesn't think the odds makers will have us favored when we make our trip to Lincoln in two weeks. Then again, that's what makes him Reid Gettys.

Up next: Colorado


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