Nebraska coach Tim Miles tuned into ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon — 24 consecutive hours of college basketball — early Tuesday morning.
He bypassed a couple of overnight games, including Davidson at New Mexico.
“I’ve seen The Pit firsthand,” said Miles, the former Colorado State coach, “so watching it on TV doesn’t do much for me.”
But Miles made sure to wake up for the 7 a.m. game, only to probably lose some more sleep after doing so.
He watched Valparaiso — Nebraska’s opponent on Thursday night — shoot 13-of-24 on three-pointers in a 69-46 victory over Northern Illinois.
That might not be so eye-popping, except that the Crusaders were also 13-of-24 on three-pointers in their season opener, an 85-54 victory over Georgia Southern.
That’s 54.2 percent three-point shooting through two games.
“They do it once, and you go, ‘Oh boy, they can shoot,’ ” Miles said. “They do it twice in a row, you go, ‘Gulp.’ They’re good.”
So naturally, Valparaiso’s long-range shooting will be of utmost concern Thursday night when Nebraska (1-0) hosts the Crusaders at 8 p.m. in the first game of the Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic.
Miles said he’s uncertain of how well his team can defend the three, partly because Nebraska doesn’t have similar three-point threats to guard in practice.
His goal is to limit Valparaiso’s looks to a reasonable number.
“Because they’re still going to make ‘em when they get ‘em,” Miles said. “We don’t have a whole bunch of depth and athleticism that’s just going to pressure them off their spots, where you can just overwhelm them with defensive pressure.
“So we’re going to have to play our system but limit opportunities. Byproduct of that is, they’re going to drive it harder on you, they’re going to be at the rim more, so we’re going to have to protect the rim, stay out of foul trouble.”
Making matters more difficult, Valparaiso doesn’t have just one or two threats. Six different players have made three-pointers, including 6-foot-7 forward Ryan Broekhoff, who’s 6-of-11, and guard Jordan Coleman, who’s 5-of-5 off the bench.
Broekhoff had 20 points and 13 rebounds in Tuesday morning’s victory.
Valparaiso (2-0) returns five starters from last year’s 22-12 team that advanced to the National Invitation Tournament. The Crusaders are receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25 and were picked to repeat as Horizon League champions.
“They’re an excellent shooting team, they’re excellent in transition, they’ve got great depth, they’re well-coached, they defend,” Miles said. “I think they’re a really good team to have in. I think it’s a great early-season opponent.”
* Miles said freshman forward Shavon Shields, who’s recovering from an infection in his elbow that required surgery, will be out another week. “But he’s coming along,” Miles said. “I think he’ll do some shooting this week.”
* Former Husker Christian Standhardinger had 14 points and 11 rebounds in Hawaii’s 73-60 victory over Houston Baptist, a game that tipped at 3 a.m. Tuesday local time. Vander Joaquim, a former Husker recruit, had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Hawaii.