LINCOLN — Nebraska’s 51.9 percent shooting in its season-opening 66-55 win over Southern didn’t change coach Tim Miles’ opinion of his team’s firepower.
“We are challenged offensively,” he said. “That is loud and clear. We have to do a better job of handling pressure.
“Right now, it’s going to be hard for us to beat a good team.”
Miles’ theory will be tested Thursday night when Valparaiso (2-0) comes to the Devaney Center at 8 p.m. to face NU (1-0).
The Crusaders, defending Horizon League champions, are picked to win the league again. Five senior starters return from a 22-12 team, including conference player of the year Ryan Broekhoff, who averaged 14.9 points last season.
This year, the 6-foot-7 forward from Australia scored 14 points in an 85-54 victory over Georgia Southern and produced 20 points and 13 rebounds in a 69-46 win over Northern Illinois.
The scouting report on Valparaiso — a school of 4,000 in Valparaiso, Ind. — is relatively simple.
Look out for 3-point shots. The Crusaders hit 13 of 24 (54.2 percent) in each of their first two games.
“That is a big key to the game,” Miles said. “In theory, we’re trying to limit the number of attempts.
“They’ve already shot 24 in each of two games. So the idea is to get that number down to 16 or 18. They’ll still make them when they get them.”
Before the season, Miles expressed concern about Nebraska’s perimeter defense, and it’s still a worry.
“We don’t have a whole lot of depth and athleticism to pressure them off their spots where you just overwhelm them with defensive pressure,” the coach said. “So we’re going to have to play our system and limit opportunities.”
Nebraska will still be without Shavon Shields (elbow surgery). Miles said he expects the freshman wing to begin shooting again within a week.
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