At around 1:00 PM Central time tomorrow, the Nebraska Cornhuskers will host the Michigan Wolverines in a less-than-pivotal game as far as conference title implications are concerned, but as far as OTE is concerned, this is serious business. You see, one of the best parts about having writers for most every team is that our internal messaging is basically a long line of trash talk that never makes it to the site. Like, we have good intentions, but our freeform is far from a finished product and getting to an end state is, well, difficult.
Nonetheless, we do sometimes prevail. You see, Graham Filler and I like teams that play each other. We also both think that momentum + some belief in our specific team - he of Michigan fandom and me of Nebraska fandom - is enough to put our money where our mouth is, or uh, put our food where our mouth is... I don't know, work with me. Basically, we decided that whoever loses tomorrow has to send the winner a local variety food box. We'll let you decide if we're both crazy for this, but first let's get to the preview and defense of our position!
Photo credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Graham Filler - Michigan Fan/OTE Founder/Dating Analogy Expert
Name of this game: I’ll Take My Threeballs at High-Volume and Low-Quality, Please, And Thank you!
Hmmm. So why do I believe Michigan beats Nebraska on Saturday? Simple. Nebraska does things that Michigan can stop, like shoot threes and utilize one-on-one matchups for offensive gain. The Wolverine zone can, at its best, slow those attacking points.
Further, Michigan does things that Nebraska struggles to stop, like take tons of three point shots. With an improving Zac Irvin running the show, I think Michigan comes out hot and forces Nebraska to take a bunch of wild shots to catch up.*
*It is noted that the Cornhuskers are pretty damn good at making these aforementioned wild shots.
The bigger question? What should Jesse send me from Nebraska? Omaha steaks are winners, of course, but Jesse has a new baby and probably shouldn’t break the bank. Any Nebraska microwbrews or maybe a high quality jerky?
Photo credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Jesse Collins - Nebraska Fan/Resident Person of Asian Descent/Almost-but-not-qute-Hipster
Contrary to popular belief, Nebraska basketball has been in most every game in conference. Sure, that meant giving up second half leads in each of their first games, but even the biggest dissenter could at least see a glimmer of hope. You see, Tim Miles had not been able to build on 2014's magical run to the NCAA tournament, with 2015 petering out in disappointment. Nonetheless, he slowly had been upgrading the talent and as of January 22nd, 2016, you're starting to see the rewards. Freshmen Glynn Watson Jr., Ed Morrow, and Michael Jacobson have seen significant playing time and if you haven't noticed, Watson might be a star in the making.
This trio's ability to keep up momentum will go a long way to deciding who wins tomorrow. Add to the fact that Shavon Shields has been breaking out of his tiny little slump, and the reality that Andrew White III is easily the best offensive player to come through Nebraska since maybe Cookie Belcher, and you can see why fans are excited. Nebraska is playing a slashing style of basketball that relies a lot on isolation, but they're good at it. If they can get that going, role players like Tai Webster - suddenly a competent player - and freshman Jack McVeigh - three point specialist - will only help them succeed.
So why am I concerned I might be sending Graham a giftbox of Nebraska's finest? Defensively, this team is still suspect. The four game winning streak has been fantastic, but we all saw how many open shots Michigan State got. While that seemed to be part of the gameplan - specifically not allowing MSU to get too much down low - I have watched just enough of Michigan to be terrified. They can shoot, and a team that lives by the three makes me wonder if Nebraska will be prepared to rotate efficiently.
All that said, give me my Cornhuskers at home. Like Graham said, I'll need all of your expertise on what I should expect to receive in the mail. It's not fruit season, so maybe some of Michigan's finest spirits? Let us know.