Preview: Rutgers vs Nebraska

Rutgers travels this weekend for a Sunday afternoon game at the spacious Devaney Center, on the campus of the University of Nebraska in a showdown with the Cornhuskers (5-1). Allow me to share with you what I have learned regarding this Big12 opponent:

Second year Coach Doc Sadler is known for being an intense, competitive, fierce and driven individual. It shows in his coaching style and is demanded of his players on the court. He employs a variety of offensive and defensive schemes, while tending to switch often throughout the game. He uses an offensive attack that features a big player in the paint and a designated point guard. The other three players(2, 3 & 4 positions) he refers to as “wings” which have interchangeable spots and responsibilities as the game progresses and schemes are altered. Billed as a top recruiter on the national scene, he set out to bring in players of character and outstanding athleticism. As promised, he has brought in 8 new scholarship players this year to add to his five remaining players from last season.

His star player, who was born in Serbia but raised in Australia, is 6’11” 275lb senior center Aleks Maric. The senior captain, a Big12 preseason 1st team pick, averaged 18.5 ppg and 8.7 rbs pg last year. He is relieved by backup Chris Balham a 6’8” 235lb native of France, who contributes 2.6 ppg and 1 rb per game.

The point guard position has been shared by 5’7” Cookie Miller and 5’11” Jay-R Strowbridge who are averaging 5.7 and 5.2 ppg respectively. The “wing” positions are shared by a mix of 6 different players, with Ade Dagunduro and Ryan Anderson the biggest contributors to date, averaging 10.7 ppg with 3.8 rbs and 9.3 ppg with 6.3 rbs respectively. An intriguing “wing” is 6’10” 230lb Shang Ping, a native of China, who is beginning to see increasing action as the season moves along.

As a team, the children of the corn are averaging 68.7ppg while shooting 49.2% on 2 pointers, 37% from beyond the arc, and 66% from the charity stripe. They average 34 rebounds per game with Maric and Anderson the leaders.

It is no secret Coach Sadler loves to feed the ball to his star center, and relies on him to be the key of the offensive attack. The senior center has carried this team through their 5-1 start.

It should be an interesting matchup for much of the same reason for both sides, the inexperience of playing together as a team. I expect the dominant Nebraskan center will represent a good taste of a solid Big East big man for young Hamady N’Daiye and veteran captain Byron Joynes. Their combined defensive efforts will be of supreme importance in the outcome of this game.

With such a dominant man in the middle, JR Inman, Corey Chandler, Mike Coburn, Jaron Griffin and Anthony Farmer may need to quickly find that rhythm for the 3 point shot they dazzled us with against Lafayette.

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