The Doc Sadler led Nebraska Cornhuskers open their regular season on Friday night at home against the South Dakota Coyotes out of the Great West Conference. The tip time will be at 7 P.M. in the Bob Devaney Center.
The Cornhuskers were victorious in their two exhibition contests of the season versus Peru State & Bellevue, 75-43 and 82-58 respectively. The contest with South Dakota looks to have the chance of being a dangerous matchup for a team looking to build some momentum and fan support. Hopefully the Big Red fans can take a night to watch their basketball squad before the Nebraska football team takes on Kansas Saturday in Lincoln.
Nebraska is coming off a disappointing season where they finished 2-14 in Big 12 play and are once again picked to finish low in the standings in their final season in the Big 12. The Huskers return a large amount of players from last seasons squad in which the question has to be asked if that is a good or bad thing.
The Cornhuskers will be led by emerging big men Christian Standhardinger, who averaged 8.1 points & 3.8 rebounds last year, and Jorge Brian Diaz who averaged 8.8 points and 4 rebounds last season. Another large post presence,making his Nebraska debut, will be juco transfer Andre Almeida who is listed at 6'11 and 310 pounds.
On the perimeter, Lance Jeter returns for his senior campaign and will be flanked by fellow returnees Ray Gallegos, Eshaunte Jones & Brandon Richardson, all provide outside shooting ability. Two potential x-factors for how good Nebraska might be this season are the return of Toney McCray from injury and the eligibility of Oregon transfer Kamyron Brown. In McCray, you have a player coming back from elbow surgery who earned two Big 12 rookie of the week awards in his redshirt freshman season in 2008-2009. In Brown the Huskers have found a point guard who should be able to help distribute the ball as he led the Ducks in assists in both his freshman and sophomore seasons.
About South Dakota
The South Dakota Coyotes are coming off their seventh consecutive 20 win season where they won the regular season & tournament titles in the Great West Conference. Their season included a berth in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament where they lost to Creighton 89-78.
The Coyotes welcome back a strong returning cast led by preseason First Team Great West Conference guard Jake Thomas who averaged 13.3 points and 4.0 rebounds as a freshman. Three other Coyotes were named to preseason GWC lists as guard Kendall Cutler was a 2nd team selection and two juniors, Louie Krogman and Charlie Westbrook were honorable mention selections. South Dakota would appear to be a heavily guard oriented team on offense with all 4 preseason candidates listed at 6'4" or shorter.
What to watch for
A key for Nebraska will be to jump out to an early lead and use their size to wear down the smaller Coyotes who only have three players listed above 6'7" on their roster. The Cornhuskers should be able to pound the ball down low but will need to play good perimeter defense to not allow the Coyotes to get open 3 point looks for their guards and allow them to stay in the contest.