Bumped - P
Coming off a win on Friday against CSUN, the Trojans take on the visiting Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-0). For those who weren't able to make it out to Galen or watch online, it wasn't a very pretty win but we got the W and are moving on. Dewayne Dedmon played just as advertised, hustling and running all over the court and trying to block everything. Perhaps it was too much too soon for Dedmon who had to leave the game a couple of times to deal with cramping in both legs. Let's hope he can give us more than 25 minutes tonight as we're going to need it to deal with Nebraska's big men.
6-10 junior Brandon Ubel (6.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG) came on at the end of last season for the Huskers, establishing himself as their top post player. He'll be paired with 6-11 junior Jorge Brian Diaz (10.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG) who is somewhat of an enigma on defense. He isn't a particularly threatening player on defense and isn't all that strong on the glass. His wiry frame should be tested by Dedmon, Aaron Fuller and James Blasczyk. He is however very effective on the offensive end making 89.2% of his 2pt attempts last year, best in the nation. Focus on the match-up of Diaz and whoever is guarding him as he could make our "big man advantage" a moot point.
Head coach Doc Sadler has a team full of upperclassmen and he relies almost entirely on them throughout the game. 6-4 senior Caleb Walker (6.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG) is an athletic wingman who will definitely be a keep matchup against our 3, presumably Byron Wesley. Walker is a much improved 3 point shooter, making all 3 in the Huskers first game against South Dakota. He was a 36% shooter from deep last season but also possesses the ability to slash and get to the hoop, something which Wesley wasn't able to stop against CSUN. He is also big on the glass so Wesley is going to have to bring his A game tonight to help keep Walker from getting offensive rebounds.
Point man Brandon Richardson is making his return home tonight. The Hawthorne HS graduate isn't much of an assist man but rather the cog that keeps the offense well-oiled. Richardson is also a very good on ball defender and will test Maurice Jones' ball handling abilities tonight. Richardson doesn't score a whole bunch but the Huskers offense is predicated on working the clock and getting good shots. They were 47th in the nation last year with a 46.1 FG percentage and they play fantastic defense, holding opponents to 60.5 PPG on 38.9% shooting.
Also keep an eye on senior Bo Spencer (14.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.7 APG in 2009-10). The LSU transfer has the propensity to score in bunches, recording 11 games of 20 points or more in his last year with the Bayou Bengals. When he was on the floor against South Dakota, the Huskers were +21 as opposed to -13 when Richardson was out there. Fifth-year senior Toney McCray (8.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG) is another athletic 6-6 wingman but he is battling chronic knee problems which caused him to miss 10 weeks of the summer. He'll most likely be used to provide an offensive spark off the bench.
The player I'm most worried about is JuCo transfer Dylan Talley. He averaged 24 PPG at Blinn (Texas) College last season and two years ago he was America East ROY at Binghamton after averaging 11.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He is a 6-5 guard who can handle the ball but much like our own Fuller, he can play much bigger than his size and is a workhorse on the glass. If Sadler goes to Talley and exploits us at the 2/3 spot, I think he can cause lots of trouble.
It's going to be a defensive, slow-down battle tonight and I think we can hang with the Huskers. They may have many experienced upperclassmen but that doesn't mean they always play with poise. In their one game against South Dakota, the Huskers committed 18 turnovers and that's something the Trojans will have to exploit and work on ourselves as we had 20 against CSUN.