Tipoff: 6:02pm CST - Location: Welsh-Ryan Arena - Evanston, IL
Live Stats and Internet Radio: Huskers.com
Radio: IMG Husker Sports Network | KLIN 1400 in Lincoln - KFAB 1110 in Omaha - KRVN 880 in Lexington
Play by play - Kent Pavelka Color - Matt Davison
Let's just get it out there, for those who aren't aware. Yes, these are the only two Div I teams in college basketball that have yet to win an NCAA tournament game. Well, South Florida is now technically in that group I guess, as part of the Big East. Though, they joined in 2005...so that can't really count.
Nebraska and Northwestern. The battle of the "N"s. Who get's to claim the NU moniker? (For the record, I think that whole thing is stupid. )
Let's take a quick look; and I do mean quick, as I have some serious ravioli cooking in the kitchen that has to be done by game time. At least I'm done with working nights, which means I can now watch Nebraska make it's push into the post-season!
Northwestern makes it's living from beyond the arc, which I think poses problems for Nebraska. Remember the last time we got decimated by the long-ball?
Although to be fair...Northwestern is NOT Wisconsin. Then again, neither are we. The Wildcats are 12-8 on the season, with just a 2-6 record in the Big Ten. UN, or NU... defeated the #6 MSU-surprisingly, and basement dweller Penn State. The win over Sparty just proves yet again that the Big Ten conference is as tough a league to play in as any, and can surprise you with an upset on any given night. The 'Cats are shooting about 37% from behind the three-point line, and average about 69 ppg, good for 7th in the league. They are led by John Shurna and Drew Crawford, who make up the lions share (52%) of the teams scoring output. Defensively, the Wildcats are allowing about 66ppg. Shut down the outside shot, and you're looking at a really great chance to win.
Nebraska is in a very interesting position right now. Interesting meaning, "urgent".
The Huskers, 3-6 in B1G play, are coming off a nice little come back win over the boys from Iowa City, and saw Brandon Richardson emerge from his season-long funk by scoring a career high 25 points on 6 of 7 shooting from downtown. I'll take an 87% average any day of the week, even if it means we get shit from everyone else! Richardson was there when it counted, and sank several timely three balls as the game wore on. Iowa collapsed, and the Huskers got back in the winning column. Brandon would later become the first NU Basketball player to earn a conference award in the Big Ten, sharing the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week honor with Spartan Draymond Green.
The question now, that I find interesting, is whether or not Nebraska can put a run together this late in the season. The Big Ten has garnered enough attention to warrant getting 8 teams in the "Dance", something that has never been done before in the league's history. The Huskers ending at 9-9 in the confernce, may be able to ride the B1G wave into post-season play. They aren't quite out of it yet, but will need a streak of wins to get themselves eligible for the tournament.
To sum it up, the time has come. Nebraska needs to start winning- tonight!
Normally, this would be silly talk, and maybe it still is, but Nebraska has nine games left including tonight, with just two teams: #9 Michigan State and #23 Michigan, in the Top 25. Illinois is a crapshoot, and Minnesota may be tough...but hell, who isn't tough these days in the best damned conference out there??
Hopefully, this evening...it's the 'Cats.