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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 1, 2000)
Cornhuskers' title bid begins with Princeton
BY BRIAN CHRtSTOPHERSON t
Tonight, the Nebraska }
volleyball team begins what 1
it hopes will be the first of six c
consecutive victories on its c
road to the school's second \
national championship in
school history. i
The 28-0 Cornhuskers ]
take on Princeton, the 20-8 1
Ivy League champions at '
7:30 p.m. at the NU
Coliseum. South Carolina i
and George Washington will ]
play at 5 p.m. at the colise- <
um, with both winners meet- i
ing Saturday night.
While a huge underdog i
BY SAMUEL MCKEWON
The password is ... umbrel
It’s become the catchphrase
for Saturday’s Big 12
Championship between No. 1
Oklahoma and No. 7 Kansas
State in Kansas City, Mo., a con
test that has one half of the
national title game hanging in
It's the surprise Sooners (11
0) who could earn a Orange
Bowl ticket to play No. 3 Florida
State if they can beat the
Wildcats (10-2) again after win
ning in Manhattan 41-31 earlier
“I just think it’s exciting,”
Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops
said earlier this week. "It’s
another game to play. We’re fired
up about it”
But on top of the onus to
beat KSU twice in one year is an
added K-State advantage: a new
defensive strategy to combat
OU’s passing attack, led by Big
12 Offensive Player of Year Josh
Heupel, that riddled nearly
every opponent in its wake this
Texas A&M first employed
the “umbrella” defense in a 35
31 loss to the Sooners three
weeks ago by deploying a glut of
defensive backs into coverage -
the reverse of KSU's blitz-first
strategy in the first game and
Nebraska’s pressure package in
its 31-14 loss to Oklahoma.
A&M, whose base 3-4
defense allows for greater flexi
bility, started the trend that
forced Heupel into poor games
against Texas Tech (a 24-14 win)
and lame-duck-led Oklahoma
State (a 12-7 win).
The Cowboys, in fact, began
dropping nine, even ten, defen
sive backs into coverage while
holding Heupel to just 154 yards
passing, a career low.
I ve never seen a defense
quite like that before,” Heupel
The Heisman Trophy candi
date should expect some sort of
wrinkle from K-State Saturday,
as the Wildcats can’t possibly
duplicate its defensive scheme if
they hope to win. Heupel had
his finest game in Manhattan,
completing 29 of 37 passes for
“That’s more than pretty
good in anybody’s book,” KSU
Coach Bill Snyder said, adding
Oklahoma State was the first
team this season to show OU
new and challenging defensive
By contrast, the Wildcats’
Jonathan Beasley completed
just 36 percent of his passes,
largely because eight were
dropped, both early and late in
A critical drop came from
All-American Quincy Morgan
with OU ahead 38-31.
“That's been haunting me all
season,” Morgan said.
That’s not all. K-State still
smarts from a 33-27 loss to A&M
in the 1998 Championship,
which cost the Wildcats a shot at
the national title.
Snyder pushes aside any
notions of revenge. But he does
not deny still remembering it.
“If you fail to succeed then
obviously there is some pain
that goes along with it, and there
was at that time,” Snyder said.
“Maybe that game, more so than
others, perhaps because ofwhat
was on die line.”
to No. 1 Nebraska, the Tigers
aren’t willing to concede just
yet. Princeton senior outside
hitter Emily Brown was quot
ed as saying that Princeton
could pull one of the biggest
upsets in volleyball history.
“I like their spunk and
attitude,” Nebraska Coach
John Cook said, after reading
Brown’s quote aloud at
Tuesday’s press conference.
middle blocker Amber
Holmquist said Nebraska
doesn’t need bulletin-board
material to fire them up.
"We're just prepared to
show them the same things
we’ve been doing all year,”
Holmquist said. “We have
enough motivation. We’re
used to teams going all out
Princeton Coach Glenn
Nelson didn’t offer any bold
statements about Friday’s
contest, going instead with
the “happy to be there” route
that is notorious of major
NCAA tournament under
“We’re excited to play in
front of a big crowd,” Nelson
said to the Daily
Princetonian. "It’s really a
nity for these girls.”
“We’re there to represent
the Ivy League. We know our
chances of winning might be
slim, but we’re just going to
represent and play the best
Princeton’s chances are
slim, with height playing as a
major disadvantage for the
Princeton has only three
players that stand over 6
feet-tall. Nebraska has no
one under that height in its
Cook said Nebraska
won’t take Princeton lightly,
“We always feel like each
match we play is the most
important match at that
time,” Cook said.
One thing definitely
important to the Huskers is
home court advantage. With
the No. 1 seed in the central
region, NU can stay in the
cozy confines of the
Coliseum until the Final
Four, provided it continues
Holmquist said nothing
beats NCAA Tournament
volleyball in Lincoln.
“It’s magical every time
that I step on the floor at the
coliseum.” she said. “It’s an
DN Hie Photo
NU senior Kim
Beh rends and
the No. 1
into the first
round of the
Princeton at 7
tonight at the
NU power for
strength to pull
down a team
game so far this
game last sea
son to go along
with 11 points
Power big part of Bradford's game
BY JOSHUA CAMENZ1NP
Steffon Bradford doesn't like to mince words.
When describing his game, the Nebraska
power forward prefers just one - power.
And he has a tattoo to show for it - a pit bull on
his left bicep that he refers to as “Pit.”
“It represents power,” Bradford said. "Pit
already has a determined attitude. Once he bites
you, he doesn’t let go until you are dead.”
So do “Pit” and Bradford have similarities?
Most definitely, Bradford said.
Bradford is the team’s warrior under the
boards, controlling the paint and averaging 11.3
rebounds per game.
A 240-pound tireless worker, Bradford has
earned the praise of his new coach after only three
games this season.
“Steffon is a real warrior on the boards,” NU
Coach Barry Collier said.
One example of Bradford’s effort comes look
ing at his rebounding statistics. The senior has 34
rebounds total, 19 of which are offensive.
“It’s hard to go out there and get offensive
boards,” he said. “Over half of my rebounds are
"You can’t tell someone to go out there and get
five or six offensive boards. That’s hard work. You
have to take the elbows in the mouth and take peo
ple cheap-shotting you.”
There is no secret to Bradford's rebounding for
mula. He said it is all about good instincts that God
has blessed him with.
"Coach said I have bad positioning, so it isn’t
that,” Bradford said. “It is just outworking your
opponent. Every time I grab a rebound, I think
about my family.
“That’s my ftiel, my drive and the fire that keeps
Bradford must have been thinking about his
family a lot last year as he averaged eight rebounds
per game to go along with his scoring average of 11
points per outing. '
But with the absence of center Kimani Ffriend
from NU's first two exhibition games and the
Husker’s opener at Oral Roberts, Bradford needed
to pick it up offensively.
He did, scoring a career-high 26 points against
ORU after being a dominant force in the exhibi
tions, averaging 18.5 points per game.
“Steffon has played real aggressively and has
been a big factor for us offensively,” Collier said.
“If I get the ball, I know how to finish,” Bradford
In 2000-01, Bradford is finishing on 73 percent
of his attempts, making 19 of 26 field goals on the
Last year, Bradford shot 50 percent but didn’t
always finish when he was near the rim, much like
many of his teammates.
Bradford didn't see much in the way of motivat
ing factors when times were rough, either.
Please see BRADFORD on 9
offense battles Pitt
BY JOSHUA CAMENZ1ND
Dunking gets the crowd
pumped up, the players off the
bench and is a big momentum
shifter in the game of basketball
The execution is significant
enough that it has its own vocabu
lary- slam, stuff, flush and jam.
Whatever the name, Nebraska
has seen plenty in its first three
games this season.
“I notice somebody had the
idea of changing the rule and
counting dunks as one point
instead of two,” NU Coach Barry
Collier said. “Of course, we are
against that. I would rather have
them go up strong and attack
Collier is against the proposed
rule because his team has com
piled 20 dunks thus far, just under
seven a game.
The slams have come from all
different areas - fast breaks, post
feeds and the Husker favorite:
“For the most part they have
done a really good job of complet
ing those passes,” Collier said.
“When you have as much room
for error with how Cookie
(Belcher) and Kimani (Ffriend)
can jump, you expect to get some
Belcher and Ffriend lead the
team with seven dunks a piece
and Steffon Bradford and Rodney
Fields trail with four and two
Bradford said the jams were
commonplace last year in prac
tice and are showing in games this
year because of unselfish play.
“Dunks are a momentum
giver,” Bradford said. “This year
we enjoy each other and have so
“We know what we can do
together. In practice, all we do is
dunk on each other. Last year, we
were in a war amongst each other,
but this year we are like a family.”
NU, which will enter
Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. contest at
Please see HOOPS on 9
National meet offers stern early season test for NU wrestlers
BY VINCE KUPPiG
After breezing through its first three dual
meets of the season, the Nebraska wrestling
team is now prepared to face its toughest
competition so far at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas
Collegiate Invitational this weekend.
The tournament field consists of 53
teams, with action starting this morning
and concluding Saturday night.
The tournament features team scoring
along with individual titles and will be the
first non-dual meet of the season for the
Comhuskers, who are 3-0 and ranked sixth
by Amateur Wrestling News.
Eleven teams competing at the invita
tional are ranked in the top 20, including No.
5 Illinois, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 8 Lehigh, No. 9
Michigan and No. 10 Arizona State.
"It is going to be the toughest competi
tion we’ve faced all year," NU Coach Mark
Manning said. “Our team is ready for the
The most difficult match appears to be
for NU senior Ati Conner at 174 pounds, in
which the nation’s top three wrestlers are
Conner, who just achieved his career
high eighth-place ranking, is coming off a
summer of rehabilitation for a surgically
“If I could get a good performance, I will
get confidence that my arm is holding up
and that I’m ready for the season,” he said.
Manning said his 174-pounder is well
on his way back.
“Ati’s been training extremely well and is
only going to get better,” Manning said. “I
think it’s important for him to see these top
three ranked guys because he wants to end
up on the top.”
Besides Conner’s 174-pound weight
class, the invitational features four other
weights with top-ranked wrestlers, includ
ing the 197-pound division where NU sen
ior Brad Vering is atop the rankings.
Looking to climb up in the individual
rankings is senior Charles McTorry, who is
returning to competition at 184 pounds for
the first time this season. He has been side
lined with a nerve problem that causes
numbness in his left arm.
Manning said he doesn’t know how long
McTorry is going to be able to make it this
weekend because of the injury, but the
invite should provide him with some much
The competition will be helpful for the
team, Manning said.
“We’re going to see how our guys match
up with some of the other top wrestlers in
the country,” he said. “It’s a good indication
to see where we are and what we need to
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