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Husker Gamethread: Spartans vs. Huskers / Bowl Games

Tipoff: 3:00pm CST Location: Devaney Center - Lincoln, NE

Television: Big Ten Network

Live Stats and Internet Radio:

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

Sparty comes to Lincoln for the first time in 16 years, still riding high after a 15 point handling of #15 Indiana on Wednesday evening. Nebraska on the other hand, is still licking its wounds after the Badgers handed them their asses Tuesday night in Lincoln.

I've had a few days to think about what happened in that game. The Huskers started out so well - draining shots from the outside, and playing solid defense en route to a sizable early lead at home. The crowd seemed into the game, and Toney McCray seemed on pace to have a career game. Then it all went to shit....

So what happened?I'm not going to even try and put these two teams on the same level. Prior to tipoff, I was under the belief that Nebraska truly had an outside shot (puns..ughh) of winning this game, but even in a loss...would keep it relatively close. I would never have guessed a 24 point loss was in the cards at the Devaney Center. Hell, even Kansas rarely put that kind of whoopin' on the Big Red.

My only takeaways(another ironic pun) from this game, was that we really suffered from the lack of Talley and Diaz. Make no mistake, Wisconsin was hitting everything they threw up from the 3-point line, and their big guys shoot as well as most forwards do. That makes things tough. But you can't help but wonder why they were getting so many open looks to begin with. My take is that without Diaz's presence down low, the middle collapsed far to often to help Ubel on dribble-drives and feeds to the paint. It's a pretty common reaction, and probably necessary considering what Ubel had to face under the rim. So..the ball goes inside, we collapse to help, and they give it right back to the perimeter for an open shot. Pretty simple, but very hard to remedy.

I'm not sure that playing a zone defense would have helped either, since the way to beat that is to make outside shots. Something the Badgers had no problems doing.

We lost. Badly. The naysayers will start to come out now, and Doc will be chased down the streets with torches...that is, until his next win. To put things in perspective, Indiana- previously unbeaten, was throttled by the Spartans in a 15 point loss Wednesday. So, despite our flaws...we are still neck and neck with the Hoosiers (and half of the B1G for that matter) in the conference at 0-1. Sometimes you gotta find the small things.

Game Notes |

- Nebraska will face Michigan State for the first time since the 93-94 season. Nebraska won that meeting 96-91 in OT, at the Devaney Center, for it's second straight win over the Spartans.

- Nebraska trails the all-time series versus Michigan State with 6 wins and 8 losses.

- The 40 points scored in Nebraska's last contest versus Wisconsin was the lowest point total this season, and the lowest since the Huskers scored 39 points in a loss to Kansas State in the 1984 Big Eight Tournament.

- Jorge Brian Diaz is currently tied for 1st in the Big Ten in blocks per game. Gamebreaker Stat - The status of Diaz is a huge factor to being competitive in this game. MSU averages more rebounds (41-33) per game than Nebraska, and losing Diaz for a 3rd straight game will severely limit the Huskers chances of staying in the game.

**Update: I saw this article this morning. From a seemingly non-important review of the Husker lineup, I'm left wondering how I feel about Doc's comments. They do not exactly inspire me, and seem defeatist, which is the one gripe I've had about the guy. I've seen some poor locker room speeches, and now this. What do you think? Am I over-reacting?