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83 Days to B1G Basketball: Nebraska's Three Point Shooting Still An Area Of Concern

The Cornhuskers were the worst team on offense last season during conference play. If that trend continues in 2015-16 it's going to be another long year in Lincoln.

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

To put it mildly, Nebraska has had an up-and-down run the last two seasons in the Big Ten. In 2013-14 the Cornhuskers weren't expected to do much and yet they came back from a 11-10 start to finish in fourth place in the Big Ten and earn a NCAA Tournament appearance, their first since 1998. With Nebraska returning most of their key players, expectations went sky high as a lot of people saw them finishing towards the top of the Big Ten and getting back to the tournament. That didn't happen, though, as Nebraska fell to a lowly 12th place finish and went 13-18.

One of the main reasons for the Cornhuskers fall from grace was their offense, or lack of offense I should say. Nebraska never set the world on fire in recent years, but their 61.5 points per game was good for 310th in the nation. Even more problematic was the teams train wreck perimeter shooting, hitting 28.4% of their threes and finishing 343rd out of 351 teams. Those numbers became even worse throughout conference play, with Nebraska averaging 57.1 points per game (14th in the Big Ten) and converting on 26.5% of their threes (14th as well). Mix that with the fact that their only players with a shooting percentage above 30% from deep (minimum 30 threes) have all left the program and you have a legitimate problem that Nebraska will hope their incoming players can help remedy.

The problem heading into 2015-16 is it doesn't look like Nebraska is going to make a quick remedy here. One of the bigger stories for the team this year is that former Kansas wing Andrew White is now eligible, but the 6'7" ex-Jayhawk struggled from outside in his two seasons in Lawrence, hitting only 29.5% of his threes. Even more telling is Nebraska's two biggest recruits this season, Ed Morrow Jr. and Glynn Watson, aren't notable three point specialists. While there's mass potential with what Morrow can provide on offense, his long-range jumper isn't his main selling point. The same can be said for Watson, who made waves during the recruiting process for his ability as a passer and being a "true" point guard. Sure he can dish the rock and spread the ball effectively, but his teammates still need to hit shots .

Nebraska's problem with perimeter shooting is still definitely an issue for the team, with the Cornhuskers hitting 28% of their threes in their opening game in Spain. Things get a bit worse a few days ago when the team hit 3 of their 18 attempts, with the previously mentioned White and Watson going 1 of 7 from deep. Even when scoring 108 points yesterday the team only managed to hit on 7 of their 24 threes, good for a low 29.2%.

The reality is if Nebraska can't improve their shooting it's going to be more of the same this season for Tim Miles and company. While the Big Ten's beat 'em up brand of basketball keeps scoring down, slow offense and physical defense force teams to play efficiently if they want to win games. And while point totals do have a tendency to remain low, as Wisconsin proved last season, it doesn't mean you have to have an inefficient offense. The Badgers, who finished a solid 53rd in points per game, managed to have the highest offensive rating last season (per Sports-Reference) out of all 351 schools.

If Nebraska cannot find consistency on offense it'll make winning in the Big Ten a difficult affair. The Cornhuskers do enjoy a solid home court advantage, but it's not enough to carry the team on it's own. Nebraska became a disaster when it came to shooting the ball last season and now will lose most of their main contributors on offense. That could be a good thing, since the team can't really fall that much further, but so far things haven't shown that they're improving. And while Nebraska could be an interesting enough team led by a fun head coach (and a beautiful arena), if the offense woes can't be solved before November it's going to be another long season in Lincolne.