Quick Keys for Nebraska In the Charleston ClassicPosted by Brendan Brody on November 21st, 2013
Nebraska has gotten off to a 3-0 start and has shown a versatile new-look roster that has looked impressive so far. Tim Miles has brought in eight newcomers who have jelled rather nicely in the early stages of the season. The Cornhuskers will be tested this weekend, however, as they will travel to the Palmetto State to play in the Charleston Classic (full bracket here). Nebraska kicks off the tournament on Thursday afternoon against UMass, and with a win could take on nationally-ranked New Mexico on Friday. Regardless of the opponents that Nebraska ends up facing, here are some things to look for during their three games in the tournament this weekend.
Offensively, the two things that stood out from the Huskers’ first three games was their ability to get to the free throw line and their low turnover rate. They went for over 80 points in two of the three contests, and they also shot over 30 free throws in each. They need to continue to use their abundance of athletic, rangy wings like Shavon Shields and Terran Petteway to get to the rim. If they fall into the trap of overdependence on the three-point touch of Ray Gallegos, they might be heading to the losers bracket rather quickly. Tai Webster has been the most aggressive Husker in terms of getting to the line, but he’s only 15-of-27 (55%) there thus far this season. Petteway and Shields are each shooting over 80 percent from the stripe, but Petteway needs to get there more instead of settling for shooting long mid-range shots.He’s gone 6-of-7 from the line, but obviously the problem is that he’s only been there seven times.
Nebraska ranks eighth in the country in turnover rate (11.9%) as their guards have done a phenomenal job in taking care of the ball. One thing that was noticeable, and it made them look a little lethargic in their last game against South Carolina State, was the fact that they were almost playing a little too slow for the type of team that they have. Tim Miles’ teams are never going to remind anyone of the Showtime Lakers, but at the same time, it would be to their benefit to push the pace when they have an advantage. It’s going to be a feeling-out process with so many new faces on the team, but if they can strike a balance where they figure out an ideal tempo between a low-turnover team and an ability to get out and run, they’ll continue their winning ways. They’re also 16th nationally in forcing turnovers, and this is where they really looked impressive against Florida Gulf Coast. They had several impressive sequences where they forced turnovers that ended in a layup or dunk or a trip to the line. They will be playing against a better quality of guards this weekend than they have seen so far, but if they can force turnovers like they have and continue to avoid turning the ball over themselves, they’ll do better than many people think while down in Charleston.