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Exhibition B: Nebraska-Omaha Preview

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Your MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS vs. the UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-OMAHA MAVERICKS
THE BRESLIN CENTER, EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN
MONDAY, 7:00 PM (ET)
TV: BigTenNetwork.Com ($)
ONLINE RADIO FEED: Spartan Sports Network

 

Let's the get the fun, off-the-court storyline out of the way:

Tuesday's game features a battle between brothers as MSU's Draymond Green welcomes brother Torrian Harris back to Michigan. Harris is Green's older brother by a little more than two years and averaged 7.4 points and 3.3 rebounds last year off the Maverick bench. Green was the 2010 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year for the Spartans.

Harris, a 6'1" guard, transferred to UNO from Lansing Community College, where he was a second-team all-American.  The fraternal connection was actually the impetus for the game getting scheduled.  Final fun fact: Harris, according to family legend, originated the "Day Day" nickname as a toddler.

Maverick bullets after the jump:

  • Overall record of 22-9 last season; 12-8 conference record in the [fairly-made-up-sounding] Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association.  Won its first ever conference tournament championship.
  • UNO is picked to finish third in the MIAA this year.
  • The team is led by 6'2" senior guard Tyler Bullock, who was an honorable mention Division II all-American last year.  Bullock averaged 19.0 points and 3.3 assists/game.  The numbers indicate Bullock is a guy who gets the rim: he shot .516 on 2-point attempts and .856 from the line, on a healthy 6.5 FT attempts per game.  Meanwhile, he shot .270 on just 63 attempts from 3-point range.
  • Besides Bullock, the team only returns one starter from last season: 6'2" guard Jeff Martin.  Martin averaged 12.5 points on .397 three-point shooting last season.  He had a team-high 247 attempts from beyond the arc.
  • Harris ranks third among returning players in minutes/game from last season, so he should see quite a bit of playing time, regardless of familial considerations.
  • UNO head coach Derrin Hansen in in his sixth season; he was previously an assistant coach in the program.

UNO played a pretty up-tempo game last season, averaging 76.9 possessions per game.  And they were pretty efficient with those possessions, scoring 84.6 points/game.  So this has the potential to be a fairly entertaining exhibition bout.

The Mavericks are very inexperienced inside.  The team has no returning players taller than 6'6" who played at least 10 minutes per game last season.  MSU should obliterate them on the boards.

Korie Lucious will be in the rotation for MSU for this one.  I'd still expect to see quite a bit of Mike Kebler, though, as he prepares to get some point guard duty in Friday's regular season opener, when Lucious will serve the second leg of his reckless driving-related suspension.  Update: Lisa Byington reports that Kebler is out with an ankle sprain.  The injury saga continues.  I think we're down to Appling and Nix as the only two guys who haven't suffered some sort of injury causing missed time since March.  Anyway, Appling will need some real time at the point tonight, since he may need to play there for 10+ minutes on Friday now.

There's no word on Garrick Sherman's status for the game yet.  Hopefully, both he and Alex Gauna are good to go for decent stretches as Tom Izzo evaluates rotation/redshirt options. 

According to Rexrode, Izzo was impressed with Keith Appling's defense in the first exhibition game.  Also, MSU has incorporated a "drag" offense into its play set to take advantage of the quickness in the back court, spreading the court and using dribble penetration.  Something to keep an eye (and read up on; an answer to some of MSU's historical turnover issues?).