2008 NIT Capsule: Nebraska
Big 12 (19-12, 7-9)
Big Wins: 2/20 Kansas State (71-64), 2/23 at Texas A&M (65-59), 2/27 Oklahoma (63-45)
Bad Losses: 1/15 at Colorado (51-55), 2/13 Missouri (78-86), 2/16 at Iowa State (52-60)
Coach: Doc Sadler
Cookie Miller, Freshman, Guard, 6.2 ppg, 3.8 apg, 2.0 spg
Steve Harley, Junior, Guard, 9.2 ppg, 1.5 apg
Ade Dagunduro, Junior, Guard, 8.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Ryan Anderson, Sophomore, Guard, 8.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Aleks Maric, Senior, Center, 15.9 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 1.7 bpg
Sek Henry, Sophomore, Guard, 5.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Paul Velander, Junior, Guard, 4.0 ppg
Jay-R Stowbridge, Sophomore, Guard, 4.5 ppg, 1.6 apg
Shang Ping, Junior, Forward, 3.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
There is one superstar at Nebraska. Aleks Maric, a 6-11 center, will get a double-double just about every day. On the season he averages 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds. The Cornhuskers will work through the post on most possessions and as long as they keep doing that, Nebraska make some noise in the NIT.
The best quality Maric brings to the team is on the defensive end. Maric blocks 1.7 shots per game and it is his presence that has turned Nebraska’s defense from good to great. The team only gives up 60.2 points per game and it is very difficult to find an easy shot against the Huskers and Maric. That is why the opposition shoots just 39.8 percent against Coach Doc Sadler’s squad. This team also has five players who average at least one steal per game and the team as a whole will nab nearly nine per contest.
Why They Can Disappoint:
With Maric in the paint, it opens up the outside shot. But Nebraska still will not hit the long ball. Steve Harley, Ryan Anderson, Ade Dagunduro, Cookie Miller, Sak Henry and Jay-R Stowbridge can all hit the outside shot, but none of them are very prolific or consistent. All those guys, especially Miller, are decent ball handlers, but shooting is not their specialty. Harley and Anderson will get to the basket and put up some quality numbers in the scoring column, but with Maric in the paint, these guys get some open looks and they need to knock them down more consistently.
Who To Watch:
Outside of Maric, this is a team full of guards. Maric does a good job of staying out of foul trouble, but he is still a big guy who needs his rest, which is why he averages just 28.9 minutes per game. When Maric is out of the game, the offense and defense must make some major adjustments. Shang Ping is the only other player not listed as a guard that averages over ten minutes per game. The 6-10 junior is a far cry from replacing Maric’s production, but if he can at least handle the defensive duties, it will give Maric a little time to rest without Nebraska falling too far behind.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.3 (207th in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.2 (14, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.0 (77, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.8 (27, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (263, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.2 (203, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.6 (252, 11)
Rebound Margin: 2.5 (97, 6)
Assists Per Game: 14.4 (103, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (85, 8)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Second Round loss to Mississippi
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