Nebraska Omaha (1-3) at Nebraska (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 18, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Devaney Center (13,595) -- Lincoln, Nebraska. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Nebraska Omaha 1-1, Nebraska 2-0. Away Record: Nebraska Omaha 0-2, Nebraska 0-0. Neutral Record: Nebraska Omaha 0-0, Nebraska 0-0. Conference Record: Nebraska Omaha 0-0, Nebraska 0-0. Series Record: Nebraska leads 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks will match up for the first time as fellow Division I squads when the instate foes take to the court at Devaney Sports Complex as part of the Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic.
In its first season as a Division I program, Nebraska Omaha has accumulated a 1-3 record through four games. The Mavericks began the season with back-to- back home games which they split with a win over Northern Illinois (77-64) and a loss to Saint Mary (96-86). Two more losses came on the road with defeats to Texas Tech (91-63) and Tulane (76-52).
Nebraska has yet to leave Lincoln and has also yet to lose. The Cornhuskers opened the season with a 66-55 victory over Southern. Then in Thursday's matchup with Valparaiso, the first game of the Cipriano Nebraska Classic, they survived in a 50-48 decision.
These two teams did meet up a pair of times before Nebraska Omaha's move to the Division I level. Nebraska came out on top both times, including a 76-62 victory during the 2006-07 season.
Poor shooting really hurt Nebraska Omaha in its loss to Tulane. The Mavericks shot at a 29.1 percent clip overall in the game and finished with only 16 total field goals. The Mavericks were also doubled up by the Green Wave on points from beyond the arc (24-12). Alex Phillips was the offensive standout in the contest with 13 points off the bench. No other player was in double figures.
Phillips has really excelled as a reserve this season. The junior guard is one of only two players averaging in double figures (11.8 ppg) but it has been his efficiency from the floor that has been really impressive. He has connected on 58,3 percent of his shots including 7-of-13 from beyond the arc. Center John Karhoff (12.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg) is the only other player averaging more than 10 points per game while also tying for the team lead on the boards. Point guard CJ Carter (7.8 ppg) has had issues with ball security while running the offense. Carter has turned the ball over 14 times while handing out 12 assists although he has made up for the turnovers a bit with a team-high seven steals. Justin Simmons (8.5 ppg) and Alex Welhouse (8.5 ppg) will also make contributions from the starting lineup.
Nebraska almost let its first half lead slip away against Valparaiso. The Cornhuskers, who led by as many as 14 points, struggled from the floor in the second half netting only 8-of-28 shots but was able to hold on by playing solid defense as the Crusaders shot 34.0 percent overall. The Cornhuskers perimeter defense was especially strong with the Crusaders netting just 2- of-15 3-point attempts. Both Brandon Ubel (17 points) and Ray Gallegos (14) got into double figures.
Although they have played just two games, the Cornhuskers' defensive efforts have been what has led them to a 2-0 record. Nebraska is holding teams to just 51.5 points per game while scoring only 58 itself. In fact by holding both opponents to fewer than 55 points the Cornhuskers have done something that only four other Cornhusker squads has ever accomplished. Ubel has really been the lynchpin (19.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg) from the inside for the Cornhuskers with double digit efforts in points in both games. Gallegos (15.0 ppg) has scored in double figures in both games as well after doing so only once during his career previously. Gallegos output has come primarily from beyond the arc (6- of-12). Together Gallegos and Ubel are the only players that have had much offensive success with the rest of the team accounting for only 34 points per game led by Dylan Talley (9.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg).
Even though Nebraska still needs improvement on offense the Cornhuskers will prove to be another speed bump for the Mavericks in its first season at the Division I level.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Nebraska 63, Nebraska Omaha 50
11/18 10:46:55 ET