Huskers vs. Baylor Bears Report Card
Huskers win easily 76-47. . Box ScoreOffense: B+ While it was not the prettiest of games offensively, the Huskers did what they needed to do from 3-point range to beat the zone employed by Baylor all game. Jason Dourisseau made his first start of the year in place of the struggling Corey Simms and made the most of it. He came out feeling good from long range and made 3-of-4 from deep. Brian Conklin also hit 3-of-4 from outside as part of a team effort of 11-of-18. The biggest problem offensively was lack of ball movement at times and ugly turnovers. The 16 turnovers is not a season high, but the type of turnovers is what made them harder to understand. Lazy passes, poor dribbling, and simply a lack of concentration at times caused the majority of the mistakes. Part of that problem was probably due to the level of competition, but another part has to do with who was running the point. Charles Richardson started and played more minutes than anyone else in this game. He has not committed a turnover in the last six games while racking up 21 assists. He has been outstanding. The problem occurs when Marcus Neal comes into the game. Marcus seems to struggle to find a groove during his limited minutes and that leads to poor floor leadership. The starting line-up in this game could be the one that finishes out the year. That is something to watch for after so many different combinations have been used by Barry so far this season.
Best: Dourisseau - 7-12 FG, 3-4 3-point for 18 points. JD started and does not want to give up that spot. He looked smooth, put up smart shots, and played very good defense. A permanent spot in the starting five and many more minutes are in Jason's future after this efficient performance. Special note: Tony Wilbrand's 2-for-2 night puts his season total at 7-for-7!
Worst: Corey Simms - 0-3 FG for 0 points. Corey has nearly lost all of his playing time over the last few games. He lost his starting spot and only played ten minutes against Baylor. This is mostly due to his inability to do anything on the offensive end. He is 0-for-7 combined over the last two games.
Defense: ABaylor is not very good obviously, but Nebraska's defense was fantastic at the same timel. The Bears had to force up almost every single shot with a hand in their face. This led to BU's 30% shooting from the floor and 16 turnovers. It was a great effort against a much overmatched Baylor team. Terrance Thomas, BU's leading scorer, had 16 points, but was 5-for-15. R.T. Guinn and Harvey Thomas, the only other potential scorers for the Bears, were held to a combined 15 points on 5-of-19 shooting. You cannot find more than minor flaws in the defensive effort in this game. Great Job!
Best: Jake Muhleisen - 1 block and 5 steals - "The Captain" was more active defensively than at any other time this year. He was stripping balls, picking off passes, and even notched a block on the night. A great defensive game from the team leader.
Worst: Nobody - Almost all of Baylor's points came on forced shots that just happened to go in, so no player played too badly on defense. The worst defensive play would probably be Tony Wilbrand flying out at R.T. Guinn and blatantly fouling the Bear on a 3-point attempt in the first half. It was an extreme lack of body control by "The Alliance Animal", but provided some comic relief at the same time.
Rebounding: ABaylor does not have much height or athleticism so winning the rebound battle was far from difficult, but a nice showing nonetheless. Nebraska finished with 14 more rebounds than Baylor, 39-25, and only allowed six offensive rebounds to the Bears. Everyone contributed on the glass and boxing out was solid throughout the game. It was a workmanlike effort that will help win games in the future if repeated.
Best: Corey Simms - 4 rebounds with 1 offensive. While his offensive production is non-existent and his minutes steadily decreasing, he stepped up his rebounding in this game. He grabbed four boards in only ten minutes with a few of them way above the rim.
Worst: Nobody - As mentioned above, everyone that played contributed something beneficial on the boards, so no player should be singled out as failing to perform in this area.
Free Throw Shooting: B-
The referees called very few fouls in this game, so free-throw attempts were difficult to come by for both teams. Nebraska finished with a 9-for-13 showing at the line, which is decent, but below average for this team. There was nothing too exciting in this department, which is becoming a welcome theme this year. It is nice to know that free-throws should not be a problem late in close games.
Best: Bronsen Schliep - 2-2 FT. "LaBronsen" hit both of his chances. Well done in garbage time.
Worst: Jason Dourisseau - 1-3 FT. It would be nice if this part of the game would improve for JD. He is still the worst regular at the line, so it would be a plus if he could step up as his minutes increase.
The concentration was lacking at times, but that is understandable when facing a team like Baylor. The Bears fought hard, but just do not have the talent to compete on the road in the Big 12. The battled Texas Tech at home in their previous game, but did not do much more than show up in this game. Nebraska did their job and blew out the less-talented Bears for their first conference win. They were not always pretty, but the Huskers were excellent from outside the arc, which blew away Baylor's zone defense. A starting line-up may have been found during this game with Richardson and Dourisseau becoming mainstays to finish the season assuming their play continues at the current level. After three tough losses, this win is a big building block and may lead to a winning streak. Even at 1-3 in conference, Nebraska has as good of a chance as any team in the Big 12 (except Baylor of course) to make a run at the title and a spot in the NCAA tournament. I do not believe this will happen, but anything can happen in this down year for the Big 12.
Up Next: Saturday at Missouri, 5:00 pm ESPN Full Court
The Tigers are easily the most disappointing team in the country thus far this year. They came in with Final Four expectations and Top-5 talent, but are currently 7-7 with bad losses to Belmont, Memphis, and Syracuse among others. Senior leaders Ricky Paulding and Arthur Johnson have not performed up to their potential most of the year and the rest of the team has not picked up the slack. One of the few players that has exceeded expectations is freshman Linus Kleiza. The big man from Lithuania has done very well as a hustler, rebounder, and scorer. With excellent perimeter defense and a serviceable interior defense, the Huskers should be able to contain the talented, yet streaky, Tigers. The question is if Nebraska can shoot well enough on the road to pick up the victory. Luckily, for Barry Collier and crew, Missouri is not a good defensive team and will likely give up enough open threes for the best 3-point shooting team in the conference to grab the game. A win in Columbia would be a HUGE boost to this team and start a possible long winning streak. I've been burned before by thinking the Huskers can win on the road, but after the performance at Texas a week ago I believe they can get it done.
Prediction: Huskers 65 Mizzou 63
You can reach Bobby Ludemann with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org