Published Monday, January 13, 2014 at 12:25 pm / Updated at 9:44 am
Tim Miles considers changes to add energy to Husker lineup

LINCOLN — Nebraska coach Tim Miles is pondering some changes as the Huskers — 8-8 overall, 0-4 in the Big Ten and on a five-game skid — are in a stretch of eight days between games.

The first is a potential lineup shuffle, with an eye toward expanding his current eight-man playing rotation.

“We've got some guys struggling,” Miles said. “I don't know if they're tired. But maybe injecting some new energy in the lineup, whether that be changing the starting lineup or adding somebody new, I've not decided yet.”

Recently, Miles has discussed adding playing time for junior forward David Rivers and senior guard Mike Peltz.

Rivers, who started six games earlier this season, has only played in three others since. Peltz has played 33 minutes.

Another element being studied is how much 2-3 zone defense to use. The zone has been more of a change-up from the usual man to man, but was successful in spots against Michigan and Purdue.

“If we continue to have success with it, we'll continue to use it more,'' Miles said. “We're pulling clips to look at all of our zone stuff for teaching for our guys and to talk about how we'll use it with our team.''

Nebraska's next game is Monday at home against No. 11 Ohio State (15-2, 2-2). The Buckeyes drilled NU 84-53 on Jan. 4.

Miles said most of this week will focus on self-evaluation, especially on how to close out games. The Huskers' biggest deficit in losses to Michigan and Purdue was eight points.

“We've learned we've got this losing thing down pat,” Miles wryly noted. “We really know how to just play good enough to lose. We have to learn that small concentration errors can cost us at any point.”

So can scoring droughts. The Huskers went the final eight minutes at Ohio State without a basket, and another 6:43 of the final 7:17 at Purdue.

“We did it for six minutes against Purdue, so I'd say we're getting much better,” Miles said, pushing the sarcasm button. “That's a 25 percent gain. If we can get that down to four minutes against the Buckeyes, who knows what might happen?

“Seriously, it usually comes down to decision-making or playing through fatigue. With newcomers — we've got one senior, two junior college kids as juniors and everybody else is a freshman or sophomore — that's just part of the deal.”

Contact the writer: Lee Barfknecht    |   402-444-1024    |  

Lee Barfknecht has won nine national writing awards from four separate organizations, and is a 12-time winner of the Nebraska sportswriter of the year award. He covers Big Ten football and basketball, Nebraska basketball and other college financial issues for The World-Herald.



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