Head coach Tim Miles met with the media Friday afternoon to discuss Nebrasketball’s upcoming matchups with Gardner-Webb and Southern. Miles kicked off his press conference by praising the Husker volleyball team for their Final Four appearance.
“I’d like to congratulate our volleyball team on their Final Four bid,” Miles said. “It was tough to see them run into that buzz saw against Texas last night but John Cook and his staff and those young ladies have performed and done Nebraska proud. Quite a run here and I’m sure it will keep continuing so it’s really cool when you can sit there and text people and call people all across the country and [say], ‘Hey, turn on ESPN,’ and there’s your volleyball team competing for a national championship. Well done and kudos to them.”
As for the basketball team, Nebraska’s last game was this past Saturday. The extra time off has allowed Miles and his team to get some much-needed rest.
“We’re ready for the week,” Miles said. “It’s an important week for our basketball team to go out and get better and go out and get a win over Gardner-Webb and Southern.”
Part of getting that rest was also allowing the team the time to study and get through finals. Miles noticed a difference among the players as the week went on.
“We need practice but we also need rest,” Miles said. “Some of these guys are funny. They’re bouncing around. You ask one question like, ‘When was your last final?’ ‘Last week’ or ‘Monday.’ And you’ve got other guys that look like death warmed over like, ‘When’s your last final?’ ‘Friday at 2.’ You can just see the difference.”
Making use of practice time over the last week, Miles focused mostly cleaning up the offense.
“We practiced and really just tried to clean up some of our offensive stuff quite frankly and did our normal defensive buildup but concentrated more on offense,” Miles said. “We gave them a couple of days off and some individual work too so it’s been a good week so far and now we’ll get back into game prep mode for a two-day prep for Gardner-Webb and a one-day prep for Southern.”
After two tough games against Kansas and Creighton, Miles joked about Nebraska’s plan going forward.
“We’re going to try to make more shots,” Miles said. “That’s not giving away the game plan, is it?”
Speaking of making more shots, Miles does want to improve Nebraska’s shooting, especially from the 3-point line. In doing so, he wants to be careful not to harm his team’s confidence.
“As we go, how do we get out 3-point shooters better shots?” Miles said. “How do we get them more confident? Nothing succeeds success but how do you not make it a mantel thing too? I think you can get in a shooter’s head, so you have to be careful.”
As Nebraska figures out its shooting, could there be a change to the starting lineup? It’s possible, but Miles thinks it could look similar to what fans saw in the second half against Kansas. That lineup featured Tai Webster, Anton Gill, Edward Morrow, Evan Taylor and Jordy Tshimanga.
When it comes to Jack McVeigh, Miles said he’s in a bit of a slump right now. That slump benched McVeigh for the second half against Kansas after only playing seven minutes in the first half.
“There’s a certain point of diminishing returns and I thought we were at least past that,” Miles said. “It’s nothing against Jack. It’s just where I thought his play was. He’s got a chance to get better and get back on top. He’ll be out there again.”
In the meantime, Miles is pleased with what he’s seen from Webster. While he’s carried a majority of the Huskers’ workload, Miles wasn’t too worried about it. While he’d like to get Webster some help, he thinks the senior can handle it.
“It’s a good problem to have if I’m him,” Miles said. “You worry about that but this is a guy that is a physical specimen. He takes care of himself. Two years ago, I think he was doing our workouts, he was lifting, he was playing with the guys and then he was doing Crossfit with his girlfriend just for giggles. He’s a different athlete, so I’m not worried about it at this point.”
Nebraska and Gardner-Webb tip off Sunday at 1:05 p.m. CT at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.