The Huskers will look to start a winning streak at home tonight against Illinois who comes into the game with three straight losses. Last time out, the Huskers got their first B1G win of the season and on the road at that, against Penn State. After holding on for the 68-64 victory, the Huskers will look for conference win number 2 against a slumping Illinois team who lost 68-54 to Northwestern in their last game.
The Huskers will win if:
Someone besides Dylan Talley and Ray Gallegos contribute to the scoring. Lately it has been B1G freshman of the week Shavon Shields, who poured in a freshman record 29 points in the win against Penn State. Shields is coming off a week in which he averaged 23.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. It's tough to expect that kind of production consistently but if he can keep scoring in the teens, it makes Nebraska a much better team. The Huskers will also need to keep playing good defense since the Illini currently score 72.8 points per game and the Huskers are only putting up 58 points per game.
The Huskers will lose if:
Brandon Paul scores above his 18.2 points per game average. Lets face it, the same story of the Huskers scoring struggles have been well documented. Letting a great player like Paul get whatever he wants will put a lot of pressure on the Husker offense to do something they don't have a real ability to do. Holding Brandon Paul in check will be critical to pulling off a victory. Also, the Huskers will need Andre Almeida to have a good night against Nnanna Egwu, the 6-11 center that he will be matched up with all night. The Huskers have problems matching up with talented big men so giving Andre help and mixing in some zone may be a good strategy for Tim Miles.
All in all, I feel slightly optimistic that Nebraska can pull the upset.The Illini are slumping right now and we aren't sure if they are the surprise team of the conference that started the season 12-0 or if they are the team that is 1-4 in conference play with each loss coming by double digits. For Nebraska, games like this are chances to build momentum in a program that is rebuilding but has some excitement and buzz.
Tonight is Strip the Bob Night as fans are encouraged to wear Red or White depending on the section.
Red: A-Section, C-Padded (rows 8-18); C-Bench (29-34)
White: B-Section; C-Plastic (rows 19-28).
Game Date: Jan. 22, 2013 Tipoff Time: 7:36 p.m. Venue: Bob Devaney Sports Center
Television: BTN and BTN2Go (Ch. 610 on DirecTV; Chs. 439, 9500 on DISH; Chs. 24 and 333-SD, 1333-HD on Time Warner Cable; Chs. 80 SD, 1080-HD on Cox Cable) Play-by-play: Kevin Kugler Color: Eddie Johnson
Radio: Across the state on the IMG Husker Sports Radio Network, including KLIN (1400 AM/94.5 FM) in Lincoln, KFAB (1110 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington. Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka; Color: Matt Davison Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com Satellite Radio: Sirius Ch. 123, XM Ch. 190