#28 Nebraska Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Nebraska Cornhuskers

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #28
Conference Rank: #6 Big Ten

Nebraska Team Page#28 Nebraska Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Nebraska Basketball Tickets

Nebraska made a huge turnaround last season. The Cornhuskers went 15-18 in the 2012-2013 season and boosted their win total to 19 in Coach Tim Miles’ second season at the helm. Of course, more important than the number of wins, was the fact that Nebraska went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. The team did not have any success in the postseason though, falling to Ohio State in their opener in the Big Ten Tournament and losing against Baylor in the Round of 64. But with five players back who started at least 14 games and seven players back who averaged at least 14.9 minutes per game, the hopes are even higher this time around. The higher expectations rest on the shoulders of Terran Petteway. The 6-6 forward burst onto the national scene last year, averaging 18.1 points per game and almost single-handedly carried the Cornhuskers to some massive wins. He is a shooting threat and certainly an all-around solid player, but Petteway does most of his damage attacking the basket.

2013-14 Record: 19-13, 11-7
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tim Miles
Coach Record: 34-32 at Nebraska, 313-250 overall

Who’s Out:
Ray Gallegos was a part-time starter during his senior season, but his shooting numbers dipped. The Big Ten’s most prolific three-point shooter back in 2012-2013, Gallegos made just 54 three-pointers last season, compared to 83 the year prior. However, he was more consistent and could spark the offense whether starting or not. Deverell Biggs was the team’s third leading scorer before being dismissed from the team. The guard averaged 9.9 points per game during his 15 contests and will spend his senior season at Texas Southern. Freshman wing Nathan Hawkins had a couple decent games, but lacked consistency. He will continue his collegiate career at Texas-Arlington.

Who’s In:
Nebraska will not need too much production from their newcomers, but there are some holes to fill. Frontcourt depth is a potential issue. Georgetown transfer Moses Abraham is a big 6-9, 252 pound center who played for three seasons with the Hoyas. He is not going to be an offensive threat in the paint, but he can hit the glass and play some defense. Incoming freshmen Jake Hammond will add some depth up front and redshirt freshman Nick Fuller and point guard Tarin Smith are options in the backcourt. Fuller beefed up during his redshirt year and is a big 6-6 shooting guard who can shoot and use his new found strength to get to the basket.

Who to Watch:
Shavon Shields emerged as a solid secondary scoring option to Petteway. Shields, a 6-7 guard, had a breakout sophomore season, averaging 12.8 points and a team high 5.8 rebounds. He is not a great shooter either, but he was playing great, and more importantly consistent, basketball at the end of last season. Tai Webster had an up and down freshman campaign, but did start 30 games. The expectations are high for the point guard and Nebraska hopes his international experience playing for New Zealand in the FIBA World Cup over the summer will give him the confidence boost to live up to his potential. Benny Parker will compete with Webster for playing time. Parker is a great defender and knows how to run the offense.

Final Projection:
The Cornhuskers need some shooters. Walter Pitchford was the team’s most consistent three-point shooter, knocking down 41.0 percent of his 117 attempts from beyond the arc. Pitchford can really stretch out the defense and provide space for Petteway and Shields to attack the basket. David Rivers is really a wing like Petteway and Shields, but he is tough enough to mix it up in the paint defensively. He may not score much at all, yet Rivers is turning into a very good glue guy who will do the dirty work. Leslee Smith is a tough rebounder, but an ACL injury will limit his playing time this year. He hopes to be back for conference play, but that is pretty ambitious. Without Smith, the newcomers will have to contribute to the frontcourt right away. The good news is that this team can play small if frontcourt depth becomes a big issue. Players like Petteway, Shields and Rivers are big wings who all have versatility. That gives Coach Miles plenty of options and plenty of talent to get this team back to the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Tai Webster, Sophomore, Guard, 3.9 points per game
Shavon Shields, Junior, Guard, 12.8 points per game
Terran Petteway, Junior, Forward, 18.1 points per game
David Rivers, Senior, Forward, 3.0 points per game
Walter Pitchford, Junior, Forward, 9.3 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.8 (274th in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.2 (53, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.7 (253, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.0 (92, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (204, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.3 (206, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.7 (111, 8)
Rebound Margin: -1.9 (256, 11)
Assists Per Game: 9.5 (337, 12)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.9 (52, 5)

Madness 2015 NBA Draft Rankings:
#23 Terran Petteway


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