NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS Game: Exhibition Game 1 2010-11 Record: 0-0, 0-0 Big 12 Head coach: Doc Sadler Record at Nebraska: 70-58 (5th year) Record at Division I: 118-76 (7th year) Career Record: 238-115 (13th year)
PERU STATE BOBCATS Game: Exhibition Game 1 2010-11 Record: 0-1, 0-0 Midlands Collegiate Athletics Conference (MCAC) Head coach: Troy Katen Record at Peru State 6-55 (3rd year) Career Record: Same
HUSKERS ON TV/RADIO/INTERNET Television: None Radio: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka Color: Matt Davison Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com Satellite Radio: None
HUSKERS OPEN EXHIBITION SLATE VS. PERU STATE The Nebraska basketball team opens the exhibition season on Wednesday, Nov. 3, as it plays host to the Peru State Bobcats. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center and will be broadcast by the IMG Husker Sports Radio Network with Kent Pavelka calling the action and Matt Davison adding color commentary. The game will be heard for free on Huskers.com and will be aired on KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln and KFAB 1110 AM in Omaha. Fans should check with other network affiliates for more broadcast information. The Huskers will celebrate Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday with extended team introductions prior to the game, in-game giveaways and a postgame autograph session for fans.
After entering last season with just four players with Division I experience, the 2010-11 Huskers feature a roster which features 10 returning lettermen for fifth-year coach Doc Sadler, including four players who earned at least 15 starts last season. The experience starts in the back court with senior Lance Jeter and Brandon Richardson. Jeter started all 33 games last season, averaging 7.5 points, 4.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game to earn a spot on the Big 12 All-Newcomer team. The 6-foot-3, 222-pound point guard ranked in the top 10 in the league in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9-to-1).
Richardson is the veteran of the Husker lineup, as he has played in 58 games during his two-year Husker career. The 6-foot guard is the Huskers' top returning scorer, averaging 8.9 points per game while also chipping in 2.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals per contest. He ranked among team leaders in points (276, 2nd), steals (35, 2nd), field-goal percentage (45.6, 2nd) 3-pointers (27, 3rd) and assists (56, 4th), while shooting a team-high 82.5 percent (85-of-103) from the charity stripe during his sophomore campaign. In the front court, sophomores Jorge Brian Diaz and Brandon Ubel anchor a front line which could be the deepest in Sadler's five seasons at NU. Diaz, who has been slowed by a hamstring injury suffered prior to the start of team drills, provides a solid presence averaging 8.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and a team-high 1.2 blocked shots per game during his freshman season. He made 26 starts and shot a team-high 52.2 percent from the floor. He set a school freshman mark with 41 blocked shots in 2009-10.
Ubel made 16 starts as a true freshman last season, averaging 4.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. An excellent shooter for his size, he shot just 41 percent from the field, but was 11-of-21 from 3-point range. Ubel, who has added 20 pounds over the last year and is up to 240 pounds, has been one of the Huskers' most consistent performers and could be poised for a strong sophomore campaign.
Wednesday's opener will also mark the Husker debut for four players, including junior college transfers Andre Almeida and Caleb Walker, Oregon transfer Kamyron Brown and senior Drake Beranek, who sat out last season after spending three seasons at Nebraska-Kearney. Almeida and Walker were both junior college All-Americans, while Brown led Oregon in assists in both his seasons at Oregon (2007-08; 2008-09). Beranek scored nearly 1,500 points at UNK, averaging 21.9 points per game in 2008-09.
PARKING CHANGES FOR 2010-11 SEASON With the creation of UNL Innovation Campus on the property previously used for the Nebraska State Fair, fans will be charged $3 per car to park in the public lots this season. Two cashier stations will be set up on the Saltcreek Roadway Extension to assist fans entering and exiting the parking area on gamedays. Fans can purchase parking passes in advance by calling UNL Parking & Transit Services at (402) 472-1800, as season and 10-game packets are available. Here is a quick primer on the parking areas and how to access them.
Public Parking Lots: From 27th Street: Enter from the east on North Fair Park Drive, which winds around to the public cashier entrance into the north entrance of the lot. Please exit the same way you entered. From Military Road or Antelope Valley Parkway: Take the Saltcreek Expressway to the public cashier entrance and head north into public parking area. Please exit the same way you entered.
Lot 51: - Enter from Antelope Valley Parkway (formerly 14th Street) onto West Entrance Road. Exit to Antelope Valley Parkway.
VIP Lot and Lot 52: Enter from the west at the intersection of Military Road and Antelope Valley Parkway. Take a right to curve around the west side of the Devaney Center to Court Street. Please exit the same way you entered.
Lot 56: Enter from Antelope Valley Parkway heading north. Exit to Antelope Valley Parkway heading north.
Lot 57-58: Enter from Antelope Valley Parkway to West Entrance Road. Exit to West Entrance Road to Antelope Valley Parkway.
Lot 59: Enter from 10th Street or Antelope Valley Parkway to Military Road. Exit to Antelope Valley Parkway heading north.
HUSKERS IN EXHIBITIONS Nebraska is 47-6 all-time in exhibition games, including a 6-1 record under Doc Sadler. The Huskers have won their last five exhibition contests, including wins over Arkansas-Fort Smith (85-66) and Hastings College (71-39) last season. NU is 8-0 in exhibition contests against in-state teams, as Nebraska has annually played at least one exhibition against one of the state's small colleges since 2005.
HUSKERS GO PERFECT IN BAHAMAS The Nebraska basketball team spent part of August in the Bahamas, taking on teams from the Bahamas Basketball Federation in an exhibition tour. The Huskers went 4-0 on the trip, their first overseas travel since going to Australia in 2004. Sophomore forward Christian Standhardinger led the Huskers in both points (15.3 ppg) and rebounds (7.5 rpg) on the tour and joined sophomore forward Brandon Ubel (12.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and junior college transfer Caleb Walker (11.5 ppg, 4.5 ppg) in averaging double figures. The Huskers averaged 96.0 points per game, as the team played FIBA rules, including a 24-second shot clock.
HUSKERS LOOKING FOR IMPROVED HEALTH IN 2010-11 One of the main reasons for the Huskers' youth movement in 2009-10 was the loss of a pair of players to season-ending surgery. Forward Toney McCray and center Christopher Niemann were both expected to be contributors, but the pair combined to play in just three games. McCray suffered an elbow injury in September and tried to play through it before being shelved in mid-November. McCray averaged 6.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, and was able to shoot 53.3 percent despite the injury. Niemann suffered a torn ACL for the second time in a six-month span in August of 2009, forcing him to take a redshirt season. He has seen limited duty during practices, while McCray has been healthy throughout the fall.
NEW FACES ON THE BENCH One of the biggest changes for the Huskers is on the sideline, as assistant coaches Wes Flanigan and Tracy Webster are in their first year at Nebraska, while Chris Croft moved from an administrative role to the bench this season.
Flanigan came to Nebraska from UAB, where he spent two seasons helping the Blazers to 47 wins and a pair of postseason appearances. He also served as an assistant at Arkansas-Little Rock and Northwest Mississippi CC following his playing career at Auburn, where he was an All-SEC performer.
Tracy Webster comes to Nebraska after previously serving coaching stints in the Big East, Big Ten and Southeastern Conferences. Last season, he was an assistant at DePaul before being promoted to interim head coach on Jan. 12, 2010, where he finished the season. He has also been an assistant at Kentucky, Illinois, Purdue and Ball State following a decorated playing career at Wisconsin, where he was an All-Big Ten guard for the Badgers.
Croft served as NU's director of operations for the last four seasons, but had previously been an assistant coach at the Division I level for eight years. He had been an assistant at Washington State, Southern Miss and Maryland-Eastern Shore and was the head coach at Martin Methodist College for three seasons.
HUSKERS LOOK TO RECLAIM BIG 12 DEFENSIVE TITLE Throughout Doc Sadler's four seasons at Nebraska, the Huskers have been one of the Big 12's top defensive teams. In 2009-10, NU was fourth in the Big 12 in scoring defense, allowing 65.7 points per game. That snapped a two-year streak where the Huskers led the conference in scoring defense. In 2008-09, Nebraska allowed just 60.4 points per game to rank 22nd nationally and lead the Big 12. A year earlier, it gave up just 60.7 ppg and held on to a final No. 18 national ranking in that category.
HOLDING COURT Nebraska has been strong on its home court over the years, and will try to continue an impressive run at home under Coach Doc Sadler. In the history of the Bob Devaney Sports Center, Nebraska has posted a 410-131 record for a .757 winning percentage. In the past four seasons under Sadler, Nebraska has dominated to the tune of a 54-17 record (.761 winning percentage) against all teams. Facing non-conference opponents, the Huskers have been nearly unbeatable at home under Sadler. During his tenure, the team has earned a 37-1 record at the Devaney Center, with the lone loss coming in the 2008-09 season. The Huskers enter the 2010-11 campaign with a 13-game home winning streak against non-conference foes.
FRESHMEN MADE THEIR MARK ON HUSKER RECORD LISTS With five freshmen in the Huskers' playing rotation during the 2009-10 season, it was natural that some of the Husker rookies would find their way on to NU's single-season freshman charts. A school-record five freshmen made at least one start (Jorge Brian Diaz -26; Brandon Ubel-16; Christian Standhardinger-4; Ray Gallegos-3; Eshaunte Jones-2) last season.
Diaz set NU's freshman record with 41 blocked shots, topping the old mark of 39 set by Venson Hamilton (1996) and John Turek (2002). Diaz also finished in the top 10 among Husker freshmen in field goals made (133, fourth), points (291, eighth), rebounds (133, seventh) and points per game (8.82, 10th).
Eshaunte Jones proved to be one of the Huskers' best long-range shooters, finishing his redshirt freshman year ranked second in 3-point shooting percentage (38.8 percent) and fifth in 3-pointers made (40).
PLAYING WITH A DEGREE Under Doc Sadler, the Huskers have enjoyed success in the classroom. In all, 10 of 12 seniors who have completed eligibility under Sadler have received their degrees from Nebraska. This season, senior Matt Karn is the 11th senior to earn a degree under Sadler, participating in commencement ceremonies earlier this year. Fellow seniors Drake Beranek (May of 2011) and Lance Jeter (August of 2011) are on schedule to complete their course work in the next year.
The Nebraska basketball program ranks second among Big 12 programs with an 82 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR) in the most recent rankings released on October of 2010.
WALK-ON TRADITION CONTINUES While the Nebraska football program is nationally known for its walk-on program, the Husker basketball team has gotten major contributions from walk-ons in Doc Sadler's four seasons. The most notable was Paul Velander, who received the Jack Moore Award, symbolizing the team's MVP, after helping the 2008-09 squad to the NIT.
At the start of the semester senior guard Drake Beranek was recognized for his hard work, as he was placed on scholarship for the 2010-11 year. Beranek walked on to the program after spending three years at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. He scored 1,453 career points at UNK and ranked 11th nationally in Division II with 21.9 points per game in 2008-09.
For the 2010-11 season, the Huskers added five walk-ons, including in-state products Trevor Menke (Beatrice), Kye Kurkowski (Grant) and Jordan Tyrance (Lincoln), as well as Marshall Parker (Fort Smith, Ark.) and Bo Spencer (Baton Rouge, La.).
REGULAR-SEASON SCHEDULE NOTES *-Nebraska faces a rugged schedule with a minimum of 16 regular-season games against teams that reached the 2010 postseason. Among the Huskers' opponents that reached last year's NCAA Tournament were: Elite Eight participants Kansas State (twice) and Baylor, NCAA second-round qualifiers Kansas (twice), Missouri (twice), Texas A&M along with NCAA qualifiers Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State and Texas. NU will also face 2010 postseason NIT qualifiers Jackson State and Texas Tech, along with CIT qualifiers South Dakota and Creighton. In addition, the Huskers could face two more postseason qualifiers in Puerto Rico, including Final Four participant West Virginia, NCAA qualifier Minnesota, NIT runner-up North Carolina and CBI qualifier Hofstra.
*-The Huskers are set to play 19 regular-season games at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, the most regular-season home games since the 2005-06 season. Last year, the Huskers went 12-6 in the building and NU is 54-17 at home under Coach Doc Sadler. The Huskers also played 18 regular-season home games in 2007-08, but one game (vs. Oregon) took place at the Qwest Center in Omaha.
*-Nebraska will look to keep an outstanding home winning streak alive in 2010-11 as the Huskers look for their 35th straight winning season at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers have never had a losing season in the Devaney Center since the building opened for the 1976-77 campaign.
*-Nebraska heads to San Juan for the Puerto Rico Tip-off in November. This will be the fifth time the Huskers have traveled to Puerto Rico for a tournament and first since winning the San Juan Shootout title in 2000. That season, Nebraska won its three games by a total of four points, earning one-point wins over Iona and Kent State before winning the title with a 72-70 win over SMU. Nebraska is 8-4 in its four previous tournaments in Puerto Rico, reaching the finals of the 1990 San Juan Shootout and placing third in the 1994 San Juan Shootout.
*-The Huskers will face USC in the fourth annual Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Classic on Nov. 27. Nebraska won the 2009 matchup in Los Angeles, 51-48.
*-The Huskers will have at least 20 games televised regionally or nationally, including five games set to be seen around the country on the ESPN family of networks and another nationally televised on Fox Sports Net. The Huskers have averaged more than 20 televised contests (national, regional and local) each of the past four years.
*-The Huskers' schedule features a school-record 10-game homestand beginning with the USC contest on Nov. 27. Prior to this season, the longest stretch of home games in school history was seven, which had been done four other times, most recently during the 2007-08 season.
TALK WITH DOC LUNCHEON SERIES The University of Nebraska is proud to present the fifth-annual Talk with Doc luncheon series, sponsored by the Rebounders Club. These popular luncheons with Head Men's Basketball Coach Doc Sadler have become a big hit with fans, providing an opportunity to enjoy a great lunch, interact with other Husker basketball fans, hear directly from Coach Sadler about the team's progress and ask questions about the games or the Huskers.
This year, the series will feature two preseason luncheons (one in Omaha and one in Lincoln) in November, with a midseason luncheon held prior to the start of Big 12 Conference action. The first Talk with Doc event takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 11:30 a.m. with a luncheon at the Old Mattress Factory, located at 13th and Cass Streets, in downtown Omaha.
The first Lincoln luncheon will be on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 11:30 a.m. at the Lincoln Station, located at 7th and P Streets in the Haymarket in downtown Lincoln. The final luncheon will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 11:30 a.m., also at the Lincoln Station. Each luncheon will last about one hour.
Tickets for each of the luncheons cost $15 each, or fans can purchase a reserved table of eight for $120. Reservations for all three of these events must be made no later than three days in advance. New this year, fans can reserve seats online at http://huskers.donornetpac.com (click on Special Events after logging in). Fans can also download the reservation form on Huskers.com, or call the Athletic Development Office at 800-8-BIG RED or (402) 472-2367 to make reservations.
UP NEXT The Huskers will wrap up the exhibition schedule on Monday, Nov. 8, when they take on the Bellevue Bruins. Tipoff for that contest is set for 7 p.m. NU's regular-season opener is against South Dakota on Friday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m.
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