MEN’S BASKETBALL: Cornhuskers bring unorthodox style to Hilton

MENS BASKETBALL: Cornhuskers bring unorthodox style to Hilton

MEN’S BASKETBALL: Cornhuskers bring unorthodox style to Hilton

Michael Zogg

Iowa State and Nebraska’s teams look very different on the court, yet statistically, they yield similar results.

Nebraska (11-3, 1-0 Big 12) will travel to Ames on Wednesday to take on the Cyclones (11-5, 0-1 Big 12) in what is expected to be a defensive struggle.

The Cornhuskers and Cyclones are ranked number one and two in the Big 12 in scoring defense respectively. Conversely, Nebraska has the worst scoring offence in the conference, narrowly behind Iowa State.

Both teams struggle on the boards and both teams take good care of the ball with just under 12 turnovers per game. But that is where the similarities end.

Nebraska plays more of a high-tempo pressure defense then the Cyclones do.

“Neither of us turn it over a lot, but we don’t force a lot of turnovers because of how we play,” head coach Greg McDermott said. “They do force a lot of turnovers.”

McDermott feels that one of the keys to the game will be the Cyclones taking care of the ball.

“I can live with a five-second call or a travel, but we can’t throw it up for grabs and we can’t put it on the floor and have it slapped away, and that leads to a three-on-two or two-on-one for them,” he said. “As I look back to last year’s game in Lincoln, a couple of those plays were really the difference in the game.”

One of the reasons that Nebraska plays defense at such a high tempo is it plays a four-guard system and its center stands just 6-foot-8, that is the largest line-up the play as well. In Nebraska’s first Big 12 game of the season against Missouri, the Cornhuskers played just two players over 6-foot-5 who combined for just 19 minutes.

“Often times, they don’t have any big guys on the floor,” McDermott said. “[Ade] Dagunduro often times is their tallest guy at 6-foot-5 on the floor and he was playing small forward for them last year.”

“They may be small; but these kids are tough.,” McDermott said. “They are hard-nosed, they understand what coach Sadler wants and their positioning is good and their effort is outstanding.”

Although Nebraska has an unorthodox team, the Cyclones do not plan to deviate from their usual game plan right away.

“I think we have to prepare to do both, but it’s my hope that they have to adjust to us,” McDermott said.