I hope this doesn’t go nearly as badly as I think it might. (Spoiler Alert: It did.)
6:45 – We won the tip! Highlight of the night!
6:45 – See. (Turnover)
6:47 – Villanova 2-0. Followed by a quick turnover courtesy of Tai Webster. This is going really well so far.
6:48 – Misses. Rebounds. Foul on Nebraska. 2-0 Villanova.
6:48 – Free throw 3-0. Free throw 4-0.
6:49 – Shields draws a foul on Brunson. Only 4 more to go.
6:50 – Turnover Nebraska(3). 3pt Nova 7-0
6:50 – 3pt Parker 7-3
6:50 – 2pt Nova 9-3
6:51 – 3pt Andrew White III 9-6
6:51 – Miss Nova. Miss Nebraska.
6:51 – Turnover Nova. 3pt Andrew White III 9-9. I really hope the hot shooting continues. We’ll need it.
6:52 – Big man over smaller man 11-9 Nova.
6:52 – Andrew White 3pt in and out. Blog curse. I’ll stop hoping for things now.(Not really)
6:53 TV Timeout. Not sure I can keep this pace up.
So far I think that the game has started fairly well for Nebraska. Mostly they need to whether each storm and just consistently get points. The several minute slumps the team has been prone to go through for the past decade have been problematic. It would not be good for them to have that issue against a team the quality of Villanova. It is also already apparent that defending posts will be an issue this year. That is not unexpected given the lack of size across the board.
Back from commercial. Whew.
6:57 – Free throw Nova 12-9. Miss. Rebound Huskers.
6:57 – 19ft fade-away for Glynn Watson goes in. Don’t like the shot but it is points.
6:58 – Misses for both Nova and Big Red. Foul on Watson. 12-11 Nova
6:59 – Miss by Nova, Shields takes on the break. That was an awkward move at the hoop which combined contact results in a miss, but Nova gives it right back on the other end.
7:00 – Nebraska is nice enough to return the favor. Stepping out of bounds. Yikes.
7:00 – Low post shot by Nova and that brings it to 14-12
7:01 – Shields for three! 14-14.
7:01 – TV Timeout
I know for a fact I can’t keep this pace up. It’s impossible. But I shall press on!
Short segment there. Mostly good play by Nebraska and Villanova. Nebraska’s hot shooting continues. Would like to know how many points Nova has from the posts already.
Back from TV Timeout. Nova coach stresses the three pointers. 4 so far.
7:04 – Nebraska tosses it in against the press.
7:05 – Miss by Nebraska, followed by a travel. Turnovers are starting to mount for both teams.
7:06 – Travel by Nebraska. I refer to my previous statement.
7:06 – Nebraska gets a long rebound. Two on One. Nada.
7:07 – Rebound Cornhuskers. Morrow pushes off, but gets away with it and scores. 16-14 Nebraska.
7:08 – Nova slashes in and lays it up and in to tie at 16. Not unexpected.
7:08 – Huskers answer under the hoop. Morrow doing some good things early.
7:09 – Block by Nebraska. Transition three is off target. I would have liked a better shot, but Nebraska gets another turnover courtesy of Villanova. Andrew White draws a foul. Nebraska under the hoop.
7:10 – Shields gets a leaner in the lane to drop and draws a foul. Chance at the old fashioned 3pt play. 21-16 Nebraska after the make.
7:11 – White takes it to the hoop and gets the layup to go after what appeared to be a no call on a walk by Shields. 23-16 Huskers.
Wow that was good for Nebraska. They need to take advantage early because holding off Villanova later in the game could be very difficult. Especially if the shots stop falling at some point.
Back from timeout. Promo for Fox Fight Night. Meh.
7:14 – 7:38 left in the 1st half. Nova takes a shot that’s off target, but Nebraska fouls on the rebound. Ugh.
7:15 – Another off target three from Nova, another offensive rebound, and this time the 3 goes in. 23-19 NU.
7:16 – Scramble on the floor. Jump ball favors Nova. That will not do. Nebraska must make it across half court every time. They canont give up possessions.
7:17 – Nova 3. 23-22 Nebraska.
7:17 – Teams trade turnovers. I think. Have to check the play by pay later.
7:18 – Off target shot from Nova. Off target shot by Nebraska. Neither team is having a good stretch right at the moment.
7:19 – Nebraska fouls and that will put Nova at the line. 0-2 but a lane violation gives him another chance which falls. 23 all.
7:20 – Three pointers are starting to find iron instead of net for Nebraska.
7:20 – Ochefu gets to and Nova takes back the lead at 25-23.
7:21 – Nebraska immediately turns it over, but gets it back as well.
That was a good stretch on the scoreboard for Villanova, but neither coach is going to be particularly happy at the moment. Some gifts to each team. Nebraska needs to play more controlled after a rebound. Pushing the ball up the floor is great, but we can’t get out of control.
Back with 4:26 left in the 1st.
7:24 – Webster gets caught in the air and the ball escapes out of bounds. Turnover Nebraska.
7:25 – 10-0 since Nebraska’s run. Ochefu gets another offensive rebound and lays it in. 12-0.
7:26 – Two more quick baskets 16-0 and Nebraska turns it over. This is starting to get out of hand and this is the long drought I mentioned earlier. Almost six minutes of game clock since Nebraska scored. Now 32-23 Nova. Yikes.
7:27 – Air ball Nova. White repays off the front iron.
7:28 – Another lay in makes it 18-0 since the run. 34-23 Nova.
Nebraska must get something quick.
7:29 – Blocking foul on Nebraska. 19-0. 20-0.
7:30 – Dunk Nova. 22-0.
7:30 – Foul on Nova, but Nebraska is losing contact. This problem is not new for Nebraska.
7:30 – Finally a jumper falls for Nebraska. 38-25.
7:31 – Nebraska gets a steal, but Watson can’t maneuver the score.
7:31 – Off target three and a travel leaves 0.2 on the clock. The lob is over Shields head. That brings the half.
That was more like what we expected from this game. Once the shots stopped falling, it became very difficult for Nebraska to score.
Long stretches without scoring have been a major problem for Nebraska in the past. It continues early this season. Sometimes you need a guy to go to the hoop until one falls. Nebraska does not always have that person. The last two years would have seen Terran Petteway putting up a couple shots during that sequence and often he was able to make it work. This season, we might not have found that person yet. Hopefully there is someone that will be able to accomplish that in the future.
Nova looks like a dangerous team. Smothering on defense at times. Aggressive on the boards. They will be tough to beat, and that goes double at home.
Nebraska has 13 turnovers in the half. Let that sink in a little. 13.
Tim Miles halftime tweet adds to the turnover discussion. Four minute segments. That’s not incorrect. Basketball is a game of runs. You have to win more than the other team.
7:49 – Nebraska starts with the ball after halftime and promptly travels. 14.
7:49 – Villanova 3. 41-25.
7:50 – Shields gets a shot to fall. 41-28
7:50 – Brunson draws a foul and makes both. 43-28.
7:51 – Nebraska brings the ball up confidently against the press, but the offense has issues finding space until Webster takes it to the hoop. 43-30 Nova
7:52 – Nebraska commits another foul, Hammonds’ 4th. That will bring in Morrow and the Nebraska lineup gets very small. Both shots go in. 45-30. Nebraska turns the inbounds pass over to Nova. 15.
7:53 – Nova draws another foul on Morrow. Three for him.
7:53 – Airball Nova. Nebraska needs to attack here. Shields three rims out.
7:54 – Nova returns the favor.
7:54 – White goes to the rim and gets the fall on a close one.
7:54 – Free throws brings it to 45-32.
7:55 – Short fade away for Nova is too strong, but another offensive rebound keeps the ball on their side. Another off target shot. Another offensive rebound. Size is going to be a factor all season. Nebraska needs to attack the boards stronger. Period.
7:56 – Foul on Webster.
Nebraska didn’t win that stretch, but they didn’t lose any more ground either.
Tim Miles stresses rebounding during the timeout. I couldn’t agree more.
8:00 – Another short shot goes in for Nova. 47-32.
8:00 – Nebraska loses track of a Villanova post, but commits a foul before any damage can be done.
8:01 – Villanova buries another jumper. 49-32
8:02 – Nebraska makes a three courtesy of Andrew White. 49-35.
8:03 – Nebraska makes a great save on defensive end, but then turns it over immediately. 16.
8:03 – Another jumper from Villanova. 51-35. Nebraska turns it over. 17
8:04 – Nova misses. Nebraska turns it over. 18. Nova dunk. 53-35.
8:05 – Timeout Nebraska.
Nebraska is out of control right now. Three turnovers in 2 minutes. Poise will be very important for this team. They are undersized, and will have less talent than many teams they face. Rebound and turnovers will be crucial.
Right now, it’s been difficult for the Huskers to find any kind of momentum. 18 points is a big deficit with 12:50 to play.
8:08 – Nebraska takes the inbounds having turned the ball over 3 possessions in a row. This time a Shields three goes off target, but Nova gets hit with a push off foul. Shields grabs his own rebound after a floater and Nebraska draws a shooting foul.
8:09 – White misses the first. Second drops. 53-36.
8:10 – Brunson charges the hoop and draws a foul.
8:11 – The front in bounces out. Nebraska makes another jumper and puts the press on.
8:11 – Nova breaks it without trouble and great ball movement gets them an easy one at the end. 55-38.
Commercials enter the screen again and Nebraska still hasn’t made up any ground.
18-5 on the turnover front. That will not win games.
Foul trouble for the Huskers as well. 4 for Hammond, 4 for Parker, and 3 for Morrow.
Villanova’s coach confidently tells his team that if Nebraska just plays straight man, they got ’em. He’s probably not wrong. Nebraska will need to shoot very well in the home stretch. They will also need to create some turnovers on defense.
8:16 – Nebraska comes up empty and Morrow fouls for the 4th time. That brings up another 1 and 1 for Villanova.
8:16 – 56-38. 57-38.
8:17 – Nebraska nearly gives it away early. Long jumper with 3 left on the shot clock goes in and out. Nova gets another dunk. 59-38.
8:18 – Webster is off target on a three.
8:18 – Another foul on Nebraska. That brings up three from the charity stripe. Bridges makes the first. The second goes off target. Third one drops in. 61-38.
8:19 – Glynn Watson tosses the ball away. 19.
8:20 – Knocks the ball away to stop a layup. Three pointer Nova. 64-38.
8:21 – Watson off target 3.
8:21 – Josh hart knocks in a jumper. 66-38.
8:21 – Watson bangs in a jumper as well. 66-40.
8:22 – Shields gets a steal and takes it right to the hoop. 2 + a foul. 66-42.
Commercial break before the free throw.
Villanova has been unrelenting and is now shooting nearly 48% from the field against what has recently been a very strong Nebraska defense. Make no mistake, this is a very good team. Sometimes the other guys are just better. Nebraska could have played better, but much of their struggling can be attributed to Villanova’s own intensity. The turnovers stand at 19-6 and it isn’t a mistake.
8:25 – Shields knocks in the free throw. 66-43.
8:26 – Another offensive rebound for Ochefu which grants him a double double. He lays it in to take it to 68-43. Nebraska bangs in a three. 68-46.
8:27 – Nova gets another easy shot and drains it. 70-46.
8:27 – Nebraska returns fire. 70-48.
8:28 – A quick miss and Nebraska draws a foul for free throws. 70-49
8:29 – Three pointer Nova. 73-49.
8:29 – White grabs an offensive rebound and gets it to go, but Villanova returns with a 3. 76-51.
8:29 – Nebraska promptly turns it over. 20.
8:29 – Villanova promptly dunks it. 78-51.
This game is not unexpected. Painful to watch? Yes, but not unexpected. Nebraska has a long way to go.
8:31 – Nebraska offensive foul for the turnover. 21. Villanova 3 which brings it to a thirty point lead. 81-51.
8:32 – Watson drains a shot. 81-53.
8:32 – Villanova misses a couple times, but gets an offensive rebound and a tip out by Nebraska to retain possession.
Villanova is now shooting 50%. Nebraska is shooting 38.5%.
3:37 left in the half and we are approaching mass substitution time. Early enough in the year that they might wait a bit longer, but it’s coming.
At this point, you just want Nebraska to keep competing. Play hard to the last buzzer.
8:35 – Morrow grabs an offensive rebound and lays it in. 81-55.
8:36 – Villanova off target for what seems like the first time this half. Webster draws a floor foul and misses the open end of the 1 and 1.
8:36 – Villanova shows that their last shot was fluke and Nebraska grabs another offensive rebound for 2. 83-57. 2:02 left after a Husker foul.
8:37 – Substitutions inbound. Front end goes down. Second does as well. 85-57.
8:38 – Some offensive rebound and a lazy pass that gets deflected out of bounds and the ball stays with the Huskers. Nebraska draws a foul. The Villanova crowd is clearly not happy with the referees at the moment.
8:40 – Nebraska gets both. 85-59.
8:40 – A rebound goes to Nebraska, and they turn it over. 22.
8:41 – Villanova grabs an offensive rebound, and drains another shot. 87-59.
8:41 – Nebraska fouls on a rebound sending Nova to the line. The Nova crowd singing “Hey Hey Hey Goodbye.” Unfortunately a sound I have heard far to often in the history of Nebraskaetball. The game comes to a merciful end at 87-63.
Sometimes, the other guys are just better.
Twenty-two turnovers is many too many.
That was a tough game for Husker fans. Many things that we’ve seen before. Nebrasketball has often seen rough starts, and that was definitely one of them. The guys did continue to compete until the end. There were also a lot of promising things. Nebraska is young and it will take sometime for the team to come together. This team has the talent to give teams some scares. However, they aren’t there yet.
They must be able to handle the pressure better. They must also be able to slow down the tempo. Villanova was able to control the tempo and playing at that tempo will hurt Nebraska. Half court defense has been a strength the past several years, but transition defense against more talented teams will always be a problem. Nebraska needs to limit transition opportunities. Despite the size differential and foul trouble, Nebraska did a pretty good job on the boards. Totaling 17 offensive rebounds, Nebraska needs to continue to create opportunities.
The result was not unexpected, and there are positive takeaways.
The Wildcats did a great job of controlling the game. After the initial surge by Nebraska, they never gave up control. The game moved at their speed the rest of the way. It will be interesting to see how this Nova team does against some of the other upper echelon teams. I suspect they’ll hold up quite well. When they meet a team that focuses on half court offense and stopping transition, it will be more difficult to get those layups. If they continue to shoot like they did tonight, they’ll be just fine. If I were a Nova fan, I would have liked them to trap Nebraska in the press. Trapping on the press has been Nebraska’s Kryptonite for years, but with a 24 point win any strategic criticism is nitpicking at best.
Nebraska comes back home on Thursday to face Delaware State on BTN Plus if I’m not mistaken.
Villanova moves on to East Tennessee State on Friday.
Twenty-five hundred words in just two hours and fifteen minutes, and I am signing off for tonight.