Published Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm / Updated at 7:30 pm
NU's offense will stay aggressive
Nebraska at Michigan State
When: 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Mich.
Radio: 1110 AM KFAB

Starting lineups

Nebraska (9-7, 0-3)
C, Andre Almeida, 6-11, Sr., 6.6
F, Shavon Shields, 6-6, Fr., 4.9
G, Dylan Talley, 6-5, Sr., 13.4
G, Ray Gallegos, 6-2, Jr., 13.4
G, Benny Parker, 5-9, Fr., 3.6

Michigan State (13-3, 2-1)
C, Derrick Nix, 6-9, Sr., 8.9
G, Denzel Valentine, 6-5, Fr., 5.9
G, Branden Dawson, 6-6, So., 10.4
G, Gary Harris, 6-4, Fr., 13.1
G, Keith Appling, 6-1, Jr., 14.2

LINCOLN — It's no secret that the Nebraska men's basketball team is struggling to score.

The Huskers (9-7, 0-3) have opened Big Ten play with point totals of 44 against then-No. 8 Ohio State, 41 against Wisconsin and 47 against No. 2 Michigan.

Sunday's foe, No. 22 Michigan State, won't make it any easier for NU. The Spartans (13-3, 2-1) are in the top 30 nationally in scoring defense and field-goal defense.

What's less known is how drastic the offensive woes are.

The last time Nebraska, after three conference games, scored fewer than the current 132 points was 68 years ago. The 1944-45 squad began league play with 37, 38 and 33 points (108).

Coach Tim Miles acknowledged that the point totals might not rise greatly as the Huskers slow the pace to compensate for their lack of depth. But that doesn't mean he wants his shooters to grow shy.

That's particularly true of those firing 3-pointers.

NU, averaging 14 3s a game entering Wednesday's game at Michigan, attempted 26 vs. the Wolverines. The higher number could become the norm, especially with 6-foot-10 forward Brandon Ubel (elbow fracture) sidelined.

Miles said he feels like the coach in a scene from “Hoosiers” who yells: “Get 'er up there, boys, you can't score if you don't shoot.”

“We are going to have to shoot more 3s,” he said. “But you've got to drive the ball to shoot more 3s.

“I thought we attacked the paint OK early in each half (at Michigan). Then we got a little fatigued and didn't do it as well. I think we'll petition for a 65-second shot clock.”

A third straight road trip against a ranked opponent isn't leaving Nebraska much chance to catch its breath. But Miles likes the improvement in poise and effort from the first road game (Ohio State) to the second (Michigan).

“The kids really competed at Michigan,” he said. “They really did as much as they could to put themselves in a position to have a chance to win the game. We missed some makeable shots that hurt us, and fouled a little too much.

“We didn't make a lot of mistakes. But really good teams are going to make you pay. That's what Big Ten teams are going to do.”

Ľ NOTES: Michigan State's only loss in the past nine games was at No. 9 Minnesota. ... Husker guard Ray Gallegos' 16 3-point attempts vs. Michigan were a school record. ... Besides Ubel's injury, Nebraska will be without guard Mike Peltz (knee surgery) the rest of the season.

Contact the writer:


Contact the writer: Lee Barfknecht    |   402-444-1024    |  

Lee Barfknecht has won nine national writing awards from four separate organizations, and is a 12-time winner of the Nebraska sportswriter of the year award. He covers Big Ten football and basketball, Nebraska basketball and other college financial issues for The World-Herald.

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