The Nebraska men’s basketball team will run through its final trial run as the Huskers host Division II Northwood (Mich.) and head coach, and former Husker captain, Jeff Rekewg tonight at 7 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“Tomorrow night’s exhibition game will be fun from an aspect of I’m doing this because of Jeff (Rekewg) and his career here at Nebraska. I thought it was a good idea to play him. He’s had a chance to play the Michigan schools before, but getting back here so he can show his players where he played and we can just reconcile and bring a guy back and celebrate him, hopefully by just kicking the crap out of him,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said in his Monday press conference.
This is the first time that Nebraska will face a team from Michigan in an exhibition. Since his first season at Nebraska, Miles has typically scheduled smaller local schools such as Chadron State and Nebraska-Kearney, along with Southwest Minnesota State and the University of Mary and Northern State – schools that Miles has coached at.
Miles mentioned Monday that he enjoys scheduling small regional schools to be a good neighbor and to take care of schools that have ties with the Huskers.
For its final exhibition, Miles said Monday that his team will be without sophomore Isaiah Roby (finger) and Anton Gill (knee and groin) due to injury. Miles said that these injuries don’t appear to be serious and that, after going hard in practice for two consecutive days, it’s about getting ready for Saturday.
Despite the absence of Gill and Roby, Miles will have a heavy roster to experiment with for the last time before the season officially starts. The Huskers have played more than 10 players in both of their exhibition wins over Mississippi State and Iowa State.
“It might depend on the night,” Miles said. “We could play big or small or medium. I like the versatility of this team. I think you have to have a real pulse for your team. Basketball is it’s own little beast – the largest guys in the smallest area, high-traffic, high-turnover kind of sport, like hockey, for instance.”
After drawing some jokes on his optimism for the sport of hockey, Miles continued to say, “Depending on what group’s working well together, the biggest thing with this team is communication. There are some groups that, right now, do not communicate well together, are not switching screens, aren’t doing the things that, just normal game plan stuff.”
This will be the last time Miles can get some players opportunities to find spots in rotations before the season begins – including freshman Thomas Allen, Nana Akenten and Thorir Thorbjarnarson.
Miles said the subject of a redshirt has come up, but that it has not been discussed in depth. Ultimately, the sixth-year head coach said he will let the players make the final decision in if they want to redshirt or not.
The season will officially begin Saturday night as Eastern Illinois will travel to Lincoln to face the Huskers in their season opener at 7:30 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Panthers are coached by the son of former Husker (Charlie Spoonhour), Jay Spoonhour.
“Coach Spoonhour’s done a terrific job continuing to rebuild that program. I’ve been at regional schools before; it’s not always the easiest gig in the world when it comes to budget and everything else,” Miles said. “We’re going to get started with a bang. You realize in a hurry in college basketball there are no nights off. You’ve got to be able to be ready to go.”
Eastern Illinois, after knocking off Illinois in Champaign 80-67, lost its last exhibition to Southern Indiana 95-92.
Headin into its season opener, Nebraska looks to remain undefeated in exhibition games as it hosts Northwood (Mich.) at 7 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
You can listen to the exhibition game live by tuning in to the Husker Sports Network, or you can watch live via BTN Plus.