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November 22, 2008
Huskers rebounding better than expected so far
Coming into the season, rebounding was supposed to be a major issue for Nebraska as a result of its overall lack of height or true post presence on its roster.
Though it first two games, however, it hasn't much of an issue at all.
In starting off their 2000-09 campaign 2-0, the Huskers have actually out-rebounded their two opponents this season – San Jose State and Texas Christian – by a combined 73-68. Despite the fact that both of their opponents have been taller overall, the Huskers have been able to find a way to make up for their smaller size with aggressive play on the boards.
"It's always a challenge to show people that, OK we lost (Aleks Maric), but we can come back from that by playing hard and rebounding and do all the things that Aleks was doing," junior center Chris Balham said. "We're going to miss him a lot, that's for sure. But I think we can pull it off with me and all the other guys we've got."
So far, not having a guy like Maric filling up the lane hasn't been too big of a loss, as Nebraska's smaller players, its guards in particular, have been able to pick up the slack in the rebounding department.
At the moment, guards Toney McCray (6-foot-6) and Ryan Anderson (6-4) have led the way for the Huskers in rebounding, as McCray is averaging a team-high seven boards a game and Anderson is right behind him with 6.5 per game.
Head coach Doc Sadler said he knew the Huskers would be challenged in rebounding this season, and though he's been pleased with his team's performance thus far, he knows NU will have to do an even better job once the Big 12 Conference schedule begins.
Still, he said he can't really complain that Nebraska is leading its opponents in a stat that many said would be one of its biggest weaknesses.
"We still need some guys to continue step up and help us, and I think they will."
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Nebraska got away with a win over TCU despite have senior Paul Velander end the night as its leading scorer with a whopping 11 points. Coming into the game, the Huskers made it a point to take high-percentage shots and take time off the shot clock on every possession.
While nine different players had points in the game, Nebraska was never able to pull away from the Horned Frogs and seal the win until the very end. The Huskers have been able to win ugly the past two games, but they're due for an offensive explosion one of these nights. Against the 0-3 Golden Lions, there's no reason it can't be tonight.
WHO'S HOT FOR THE HUSKERS
Redshirt freshmen Toney McCray and Brandon Richardson have been the sparkplugs this season off the bench for the Huskers. McCray appears to be Nebraska's next premier offensive threat, as he currently leads the team with 13.0 points per game.
Richardson on the other hand has done all the dirty work, making what Sadler described as "effort plays" in each of the past two games. He leads the Huskers with five steals, and his willingness to get on the floor and dive for loose balls is starting to make him a favorite of both Sadler and NU fans.
WHO'S HOT FOR THE GOLDEN LIONS
Washington leads the Golden Lions in scoring with 11 points per game to go along with five rebounds per game. Calvin has almost an equally productive start to the season, as he's right behind Washington in scoring (10.3) and rebounds (4.3).