After a 46-point win over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday to open the season, Nebraska (1-0) will head to Philadelphia to square off with No. 11 Villanova Wildcats (1-0) on Tuesday night.
“I saw them last night up about 43 on Fairleigh-Dickinson and I saw about six different 6-5 to 6-7 guys just jacking up 3’s and making them, so that didn’t make me feel that good as a “pack (defense)” coach,” said Nebraska head coach Tim Miles on Saturday night.
“I’m really excited about some of those sub-plots and getting us out there and having a Philly Cheesesteak and seeing the Liberty Trail and doing the whole thing that way, too, so it should be a fun one.”
A national champion contender this season, Villanova was 17-0 at home last year, finishing the season 33-3 overall. The Huskers are a 15.5-point underdog according to Vegas Insider.com and will likely play at least three freshman major minutes in the contest.
“Ignorance is bliss,” said a smiling Miles when asked if his younger crop of talent was ready for an environment like Villanova. “It’s okay. I will be good for them.”
Nebraska forward Andrew White, a newcomer himself, scored 18 points against the Delta Devils on Saturday night – leading all Husker scorers. Two years ago a as a member of Kansas’ basketball team, White had a pair of steals and two rebounds against the Wildcats in a 63-59 loss.
“They are an aggressive team and really well coached. They stick to what they do,” said White. “I will try to help the young guys anyway possible. I’m not a real talkative person, but I will try to pull a guy to the side.”
Tuesday night’s affair between the two is part of the Gabitt Tipoff, a four-day even featuring the Big East against the Big Ten. Under Miles, the Huskers are 3-1 in conference versus conference tournament games.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP:
G.) Benny Parker – The senior had six assists in the home opener, but Villanova is the type of opponent he will need to hit a few shots on to keep defenses honest.
G.) Tai Webster – The junior has flashed during practices and had a big performance in the Huskers’ exhibition, but only scored two points and committed two turnovers in 19 minutes against MVSU.
F.) Andrew White - The Kansas transfer went 4 of 6 from three-point land in his debut.
F.) Shavon Shields – A typical night for the senior against MVSU, scoring 13 points and grabbing three rebounds – one of the most underrated players in the Big Ten.
C.) Jacob Hammond – Will the sophomore be able to rebound on a consistent basis against the better teams on the Huskers’ schedule. It’s important because offensively he’s limited.
FIRST EXPECTED OFF THE BENCH
G.) Glynn Watson – The Scout.com Top 100 freshman comes into the season with lots of hype surrounding him and looked nervous in the Huskers’ opener, going just 2 of 9 from the field with three turnovers.
F.) Jack McVeigh – The Australian native scored 16 points in just 13 minutes for Nebraska in the opener. If he continues to shoot well from deep, he will get major minutes in 2015-16.
F.) Ed Morrow – The true freshman played on one of the biggest AAU teams in the country and shouldn’t be completely rattled playing against Villanova.
F.) Nick Fuller – The sophomore has had a nice two weeks of practice and was rewarded on Saturday because of it. He came up big with 10 points and 9 rebounds. He will be rewarded again.
* While Watson isn’t expected to start, he will play meaning we will likely see some the battle of freshman point guards from Chicago. Villanova starter Jalen Brunson was the nation’s No. 26 overall player and the No. 5 point guard in last year’s class. Watson was the nation’s No. 86 overall player and the nation’s No. 13 point guard last year.
* Nebraska’s bench scored 60 points on Saturday against MVSU.
* Shavon Shields needs just four points on Tuesday to move inside 20th on the all-time Nebraska career-scoring list. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to see Shields approach the top five by season’s end.