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The big addition won’t be able to help immediately. Former Louisville guard Anton Gill opted to transfer to Lincoln for his final two seasons but he won’t play until next year. Gill was a former top 100 recruit who struggled early on at the Ville but was playing better and contributing late last season. He’ll likely see a significant role when he becomes eligible for the Huskers.
NU also added former Florida Atlantic guard Malcolm Laws as a walk on, but he likely won’t be in the rotation, as he only was able to earn 11 minutes of playing time as a freshman at FAU.
As of right now, other than a foot injury to forward Michael Jacobson, the Huskers appear to be healthy and ready to go. As you may recall, this team was a big surprise two years ago, which led many to overrate them heading into last season. Honestly, they weren’t as good as the record indicated in 2014 and probably not quite as bad as it looked in 2015. Slowly but surely, I think Miles is doing what was expected…improving the talent base bit by bit and establishing a style of play and a level of expectation. He’s got what most believe to be his best recruiting class coming aboard, so that’s a reason for optimism.
Yet, it’s not going to be easy for the Huskers. They were one of the worst deep shooting teams in America last season and an August trip to Spain saw them only hit 22% of their threes in those games (though I’m assuming that was with the international line, which is a bit deeper than the one they’ll play with this season. Still, not a good development). They do have a go-to guy in Shields, which is always a nice place for a team to start. Kansas transfer Andrew White and incoming freshman guard Glynn Watson and returning point guard Benny Parker should be able to provide help. I think the problem for NU is the same one we’ve seen in recent seasons, though…can they find enough offense around the big dawg in Shields to win games? The Huskers are a decent defensive team but they’ve also gotten smaller from last season, losing most all of their size and not adding much of anything over 6’8″ to the roster. I think overall I probably like Minnesota’s roster a tiny bit better but I think Nebraska’s schedule is slightly kinder. I have them at 6 wins, tied for 10th, after looking at the Big Ten slate. That’s about the ceiling unless someone steps up as a major offensive contributor alongside Shields.