Tipoff Time: 4:05 p.m. (CT)
Venue: Pinnacle Bank Arena
2013-14 Record: 16-11, 8-7 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 31-29 (2nd year)
Career Record: 314-249 (19th year)
2013-14 Record: 12-16, 5-10 Big Ten
Head Coach: Chris Collins
Record at Northwestern: 12-16 (1st year)
Career Record: Same
Television: ESPNU (DirecTV Ch. 208, Dish Ch. 141, Ch. 235 on Time Warner Cable; Ch. 220 on Cox Cable)
Play by Play: Mike Couzens
Expert Analysis: Darrin Horn
Online: WatchESPN app on android and iOS devices
Radio: 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
Expert Analysis: Matt Davison
Satellite Radio: Sirius Ch. 135, XM Ch. 194
Pretty simple - if you want to get to the NCAA tourney, win this game today. Lose this game and your NCAA tourney chances are most likely gone (BAD LOSS AT HOME).
Northwestern comes into Saturday's game with a 12-16 record and 5-10 Big Ten mark looking to snap a five-game losing streak. The Wildcats have been off since a 61-56 loss to Indiana in Evanston on Feb. 22. The Wildcats are led by Chris Collins, who spent the last 13 seasons at Duke under Hall of Fame Coach Mike Krzyzewski before taking the Northwestern job last spring.
Northwestern, which returned four starters and eight letterwinners from 2012-13, got off to a slow start, going 7-9 including three straight losses in Big Ten play before playing some of their best basketball of the season. The Wildcats went 5-2 over a seven-game stretch, including road wins at Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota, heading into the first matchup with the Huskers. That day, Nebraska overcame a six-point halftime deficit to win 53-49, and Northwestern has dropped its next four, including six-point setbacks to both Minnesota and Indiana.
The Wildcats' strength is on the defensive end, as they are allowing just 63.7 points per game to rank fourth in the league in scoring defense. Northwestern is holding foes to 41 percent shooting, including just 32 percent from 3-point range to rank fourth in the Big Ten. On the other hand, Northwestern's offense has struggled at times, shooting just 40 percent from the field and are being out-rebounded by over four boards per game. The Wildcats average a conference-low 60.5 points per game.
Fifth-year senior Drew Crawford has been the catalyst for the Wildcats, as he leads the team in scoring (15.6) and rebounding (6.6). He had 30 points in a win at Wisconsin earlier this season and ranks among the top 10 in the Big Ten in both scoring and rebounding. JerShon Cobb has been solid for the Wildcats at the point, averaging 12.2 points per game and dishing out 57 assists, but missed the Indiana game with a foot injury and is out for Saturday's game. Sophomore Tre Demps gives Northwestern another outside scorer as he averages 11.1 points per game off the bench while shooting 36 percent from 3-point range. Sophomore Alex Olah mans the interior with 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while blocking nearly two shots a contest. If Cobb is unable to go, junior Dave Sobolewski will be relied on, as he started at the point for the previous two years before suffering a concussion in January.