Maverick Maniac's Musings

November 12, 2011

2011 UNO Men’s Basketball – Game 1 Preview – IPFW

Filed under: College Sports,Omaha Mavericks — Jon Green @ 12:45 pm

The UNO Men start their first Division 1 campaign today, and they start it against a Division 1 and future conference opponent, IPFW. IPFW should provide a good test for UNO to start.

I commend Rob White’s article previewing today’s game to you.  Highlights:

“This is the least experienced team we’ve had going into an opener in awhile, and it’s probably the highest quality of opponent we’ve started with in awhile, and it’s a road game,” UNO coach Derrin Hansen said. “I’m interested to watch our team play and see how they react.”

The Mastodons feature preseason All-Summit guard Frank Gaines and 6-foot-10 center Trey McCorkle.

“Gaines is an all-league player who is obviously very talented and — at 6-4 or 6-5 and 200 pounds — we don’t have anyone who looks like him physically,” Hansen said. “McCorkle had a good year, and his size can cause us problems.”

Both of these guys have size that will bother UNO.  Last year UNO could have put Torrian Harris on Gaines and I think Torrian could have held his own.  This year you are looking at smaller guards or Mitch Albers. How Hansen handles players like this will be interesting to watch.

Inside UNO was able to hold their own last year as John Karhoff and Matt Hagerbaumer developed, but neither have the size of a legit D1 center. Not ever D1 team is going to have one, but those that do have one will be a challenge. Today will be a great first test for Karhoff going up against McCorkle. Fortunately McCorkle hasn’t put up huge numbers in the past, but his size is still a major issue.

UNO will be staring Caleb Steffensmeier at the point, it’s hard to believe he wasn’t starting last year since he did play major minutes and was the #1 PG. Apparently freshman C.J. Carter is poised to become the first true freshman since the super Andrew Bridger to start as a true freshman. I am VERY excited to see the new young back court of Carter and Steffensmeier!

In the front court we’ll see Mitch Albers and Alex Well house. I’m excited to see how Welhouse looks this year. He probably needs to become the #2 option on this team as an experienced player. His size should help him at the larger D1 level, but I do have some concerns when he plays bigger PFs who will look to take him inside and try to bang at him. Finally the 6-8 Karhoff will start at Center. Karhoff has supposedly put on weight this offseason and will need it! His passing brings a different aspect to UNO though and should open up some good driving opportunities for the guards.

I think UNO can compete with IPFW. IPFW is apparently introducing nine new players, so their inexperience should give UNO a better change to hang. I don’t think UNO will win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the game was still in doubt with 5 minutes to go.

My three things to watch:

1) How does UNO defend against the size they will run into on the D1 level. Both 6-4 wing Frank Gaines and 6-10 center Trey McCorkle will be issues.

2) How does the new backcourt of Caleb Steffensmeier and C.J. Carter look? UNO has been blessed with many talented guards over the last 5 years, will these 2 be the next in that line?

3) Do the Mavs shown any sign of nerves at coming to the big time? Senior leadership is going to fall on Mitch Albers, how does he handle it?

I’ll pick IPFW to edge the Mavericks 78-67.

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