The Coming Down from Bama and Clemson’s CFP semi-finals
Here we are, we’ve arrived at the end of a long, exciting, and difficult road with non-conference opponents that will prepare the Huskers for the tough slog of a B1G season (or, rather, the 18 remaining games in the B1G season). Ok, let’s be honest, it’s more realistic to say that we have reached the end of good “tune-up” opportunities amid a few challenging games. Either way, the final non-conference opponent comes to Lincoln the day after the CFP semi-finals and the only football will be NFL on this day. Also sadly, Kool-Aid be damned, Husker football’s bowl will have already occurred in all likelihood (if the past weekend is any indication). Now onto the preview and don’t forget that it’s close enough the season opener is officially on the clock!
Texas A&M Corpus Christi
Date: Sunday, December 29th 1 or 3 PM CT BTN
Location: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, NE
2018-2019 Season Record: 14-18
2018-2019 Conference Record: 9-9 (6th)
Mascot: The Islanders
Head Coach: Willis Wilson
Entering his 9th season as head coach with a career record at A&M CC of 124-133 and Southland Conference record of 80-62. Prior to Corpus Christi, Wilson was head coach at Rice for 16 seasons, with a 218-247 record with the Owls, and had a 107-141 conference record during his tenure there across three alignment changes. He led his team to second place in his first season with Rice, then finished 3rd or tied for 3rd five other times. At CC he has finished 2nd or tied for 2nd three times, most recently in 2016-17 when he led the Islanders to runner-up in the CIT. A native of Silver Spring, MD, Coach Wilson played at Rice in undergrad from 1978-1982.
Entering its 21st season of DI basketball tenure, Texas A&M Corpus Christi—here on out they’re “CC” because this is way too much to type out, and next time the founders of the school should just name them directional Texas or something for crying out loud people—has made the NCAA tournament once, losing to Flopsconsin 76-63 (Wisconsin to anyone not familiar with my pejoratives for the cheese makers) in 2007. Last season, the Islanders finished sixth overall in the Southland Conference (which consists of 13 teams) and, of note, they finished one place behind Southeastern Louisiana, who Nebraska bested last season 87-35.
CC’s 14 wins from last season came almost exclusively from inferior opponents in RPI, or against non-D1 teams in four cases. Only two wins came against teams that finished with a higher RPI (TA&MCC finished 282nd in RPI). Of these opponents, included is a win on the road at Texas Arlington 73-67; TX Arlington finished with a 14-17 record and 177th in RPI. The other win was against New Orleans who CC beat at home 76-61, while New Orleans would go on to a 15-13 record and finish 209th in RPI.
CC returns their second leading scorer from last season, now junior guard, Myles Smith. Smith contributed 10.4 points a game on 36.7% shooting from behind the arc, and also had 2.3 assists over his 25.9 minutes a game. He only played in 14 games last season, starting 12, before succumbing to injury. Also back is the third leading scorer from last season, senior guard Jashawn Talton, who contributed 9.2 points a game. Leading rebounder, forward Elijah Schmidt, is back for his senior season, and will look to improve his 5.4 average rebounds a game and 6 points over 22.6 minutes from last season.
This is a cupcake opponent during break. The Huskers can look past them and still win. Expect the final score to be in the ballpark of 89-34. GBR!