Q: Terran Petteway is the team's leading scorer - describe the style of his game and his strengths and weaknesses as a player.
Petteway is really the all-around type of player. He prefers to get to the rack and get buckets in transition, but isn't afraid to take a big jumper when the pressure is on. According to teammates and coaches, he's one of the hardest working players in college basketball. Just a sophomore, I think he's got a NBA future down the road. That being said, he sometimes loses his composure very easily. When things aren't going right for him, he's quick to get down on himself, which has often led to further mistakes this season. Example? A missed shot and then a quick foul 90-feet away from the basket.
Miles is just a very charismatic head coach and really beats to his own drum. Nebraska needed to find a way to standout with very little basketball history and Miles was the perfect fit. I really think in another life he was probably a pretty successful marketer. In addition, he has a track record of taking programs down in the dumps and turning them into winners. Everywhere he's gone, he's made better when he's left. He isn't afraid to surround himself with a high-profile staff and is dynamite when it comes to recruiting kids. They feel he is genuine and cares about him.
Q: Nebraska closed the season winning 10 of their last 12 regular season games in the Big 10, capped off by a big win over top 10 Wisconsin in the final regular season game. What was the key to that turnaround in their season?
The key was really on the defensive end. After being humbled a couple times early in Big Ten play, a young team decided to buy all in and see what happened. From there, it just snowballed and it seemed like each time out, they were getting better. This is a team that starts a freshman, three sophomores, and a junior. There were some expected growing pains early in the season. In addition to the defensive side of the basketball, the dismissal of junior college point guard transfer Deverell Biggs seemed to really change the chemistry in the locker room. Guys started to fill their roles and the unit became much more about the team than individuals.
Q: What style of play does Nebraska use both offensively and defensively?
On offense, they are a squad that really likes to penetrate and make a living at the free throw line or kick out for an open jumper. It will be interesting to see how they react to Baylor's length inside. On defense, you will see them play both man and zone, but pressure the ball pretty tightly. In the second half of the season they really frustrated teams with their on the ball pressure.
Q: Besides Petteway, who are the next 2 most dangerous players for Nebraska and what do they bring to the table.
The next two most dangerous players are sophomores Shavon Shields and Walter Pitchford. Shields is a small forward who likes to go to the rim. He's much bigger this year and has really learned how to take contact inside. He's also the team's leading rebounder. Pitchford is a 6-foot-10 power forward who plays like a wing player. He's got a 40 inch vertical and isn't afraid to go to the rack. He's also a threat as a three-point shooter shooting over 40 percent. Recently, he has started to really get comfortable with his mid-range game.
Bonus Question: I know the buzz is off the charts and the reaction of the fans was tremendous. With that said, does it seem like there will be plenty of Nebraska fans in San Antonio? Is there any particular buzz about facing a former Big 12 opponent like Baylor, or is most of the focus just elation about being back in the Big Dance and maybe even on a possible "third" round matchup against Creighton?
I fully expect Nebraska to be in full force in San Antonio. Husker fans are known to be some of the best travelers in college sports. Throw in the fact they haven't been to the NCAAs since 1998 and I expect there will be a lot of "Go Big Red" chants in San Antonio. The interesting thing to watch will be whether Creighton fan and Nebraska fan cheer for each other squads. They are rivals, but are only separated by about 45 minutes. To be honest, there hasn't been much discussion about playing a former Big 12 foe. I think it would be different if they were playing Kansas or Texas. The main focus is just being back in the tourney.