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November 8, 2013

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska vs. Florida Gulf Coast

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 - 8:00 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Florida Gulf Coast (0-0, 0-0 Atlantic Sun)
Streak: None
Last Game: None
G Bernard Thompson (averaged 14.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.8 spg last season) Jr. 6-3 166
G Brett Comer (had consecutive double-doubles in last year's NCAA Tournament) Jr. 6-3 192
G/F Jamail Jones (transfer from Marquette who sat out in 2012-13) Jr. 6-6 215
F Chase Fieler (averaged 12.1 ppg and 5.4 rpg with 59 dunks last season) Sr. 6-8 205
F/C Nate Hicks (transfer from Georgia Tech who sat out last year) Jr. 6-10 217

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Streak: None
Last Game: None
G Tai Webster (had 12 points, 5 rebounds ad 3 assists in debut vs. UNK) Fr. 6-4 194
G/F Terran Petteway (transfer from Texas Tech who sat out last season) So. 6-6 209
F Shavon Shields (led NU with 16 points in exhibition win) So. 6-7 219
F Walter Pitchford (transfer from Florida who sat out 2012-13) So. 6-10 234
F Leslee Smith (Juco transfer from Seward County (Kan.) C.C.) Jr. 6-8 255

Find a way to score

Nebraska was dealt a pretty significant blow when it was announced earlier this week that senior guard Ray Gallegos would be suspended for the first two regular-season games for a violation of team rules. Gallegos was the Huskers' top returning scorer from last season and led the Big Ten with 83 made 3-pointers. With him out of the mix, NU is going to have to find someone to step up as a scorer on the perimeter. Look for freshman Tai Webster to be far more aggressive with the ball than he was in the exhibition win over Nebraska-Kearney.
Be smart with the ball

It's no secret what Florida Gulf Coast, a.k.a. Dunk City, wants to do every single game - get the ball in transition and attack the rim with high-flying dunks and alley-oops. The best way for Nebraska to limit those opportunities is to be patient with the ball on offense and take smart shots. The last thing the Huskers want to do is come down and take quick, bad shots that lead to kick-outs off the rebound and allow the Eagles to get out and run. Make FGCU work on defense and operate out of its half-court offense as much as possible.
Get to the line

Maybe the best way Nebraska can slow the game down and get consistent scoring opportunities is to force the issue in the lane and get to the basket. With the new rule changes benefitting the offense in college basketball this year, the Huskers need to find a way to draw contact and get to the free-throw line, which was something they definitely struggled with last year. Once it gets there, NU needs to make sure it capitalizes with made free throws. That's been a huge emphasis all off-season, so it will be interesting to see how far Nebraska has come.

Head coach Tim Miles on what he's expecting from Florida Gulf Coast under new head coach Joe Dooley:

"Joe Dooley is a smart dude. He has been a head coach before. He's seen success and been part of a powerhouse and a legendary program and a legendary coach like Bill Self. That guard (Bernard Thompson) is really good. (Brett) Comer is really good. They really have a nice team. They have a lot of different ways they can hurt you."
Dooley on his team handling the increased attention after last year's tournament run:

"The big thing to ask now is, can we handle expectations? We need to put ourselves in the best position to win on a consistent basis. Everybody can remember Dunk City. That's something the guys can hang their hats on. But if they lost, people wouldn't remember (expletive)."

Nebraska 71-70

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