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2015 Gavitt Games, Nebraska vs. Villanova preview: 3 Things to Consider

Nebraska! Villanova! The Gavitt Games!

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After man-handling Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday, the Wildcats now turn their attention to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. This matchup is part of the first annual Dave Gavitt games, an event made to honor the late former Big East commissioner who played a big part in creating the conference and developing it in to the premier basketball conference in the country.

The Cornhuskers are coming off of a 13-18 season, recording just a 5-14 record in Big Ten play. Nebraska is also dealing with the loss of Terran Petteway to the NBA, and a few other key contributors to gradation. Nebraska won their first game of the season, dominating Mississippi Valley State 97-51.

Here are three things to consider for Tuesday night's showdown.

Nebraska Has Length

Tim Miles' tallest starter is only 6'10", but they have two forwards at 6'7", and a 6'4" guard. Villanova went to zone the majority of the second half against FDU, and you will likely see that again Tuesday. If 'Nova went man to man, you'd see Kris Jenkins on 6'7" Shavon Shields, and Josh Hart on 6'7" Andrew White III. Also keep in mind that either Ryan Arcidiacono or Jalen Brunson would have to defend 6'4" Tai Webster.

Villanova is giving up quite a few inches in every matchup, and quickness might not be able to make up for it. The solution? Go to a zone. The Wildcats played the zone pretty well Friday, but it will be interesting to see how they do against a much better Nebraska team.

Defend the Perimeter

Yes, it's an extremely small sample size. Yes, it was against a bad team, but Nebraska shot 10-22 (45%) from three against the Delta Devils. That's the same number of three's made as Villanova, just with 14 fewer attempts. Kansas transfer Andrew White shot 4-6 from deep, and Jack McVeigh, a freshman from Australia went 4-4 from downtown.

There isn't too much outside data on either. McVeigh just came over from Australia, and White didn't play all that much his freshman season at Kansas. White played double digit minutes only three times at Kansas, but in two of those games he shot 3-4 and 3-5 from deep. It isn't all that much to go on, but a small pattern is developing so if Miles gives him some consistent playing time he'll likely be a big threat.

That's another reason to look for a zone, as having Ochefu or Darryl Reynolds out on the perimeter defending McVeigh might not be the best idea. If they play zone, it will allow the big guys to stay and the guards can stop the three.

Bench Play

In their opener, Jack McVeigh and Nick Fuller scored double digits off the bench, and Bakari Evelyn added seven points. Fuller collected nine rebounds as well, giving the Huskers hope that they have some depth to rely on.

On the Wildcats side this will be a good test for Darryl Reynolds, as he will be going up against opponents who are just as big and strong as he is in McVeigh and Jake Hammond. For Mikal Bridges, it will be important for him to use his length to disrupt the players that have an inch or two on him. When Bridges is at the front of the 3/4 court press, it poses a strong advantage for 'Nova. He can use that length to generate steals of his own, or force bad passes for a turnover. At worst, he'll disrupt an offense that is still adjusting to a shorter shot clock.

This might not be the big game we were hoping for when the Gavitt Games were announced, but Nebraska is a Big Ten team with Big Ten size, which should present a much different look than FDU early in the season.