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Nebrasketball: Northwestern Preview

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The Wildcats look to start winning again in Lincoln on Saturday

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Northwestern Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern Wildcats Preview

Date: Saturday, February 16th

Time: 7:30pm CST

Location: Lincoln, NE

TV: BTN

2017-18 Record: 15-17 (6-12 Big Ten Conference)

2018-19 Record: 12-11 (3-9 Big Ten Conference)

Coach: Chris Collins (6th Season)

Previous Season

The wonderful Wildcats of Northwestern finished at 10th place in the Big Ten Conference. A bit of a disappointment from the previous season where they went 24-12 and not only made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history but also won their first round game. Making Nebraska the only power conference school to not have a win in the Tournament.

Sorry, I had to put that last part in there. We need reminders folks.

Current Season

Right now there are two teams that are below Nebraska in the conference pecking order. The bottom is Penn State who Nebraska already beat. Sitting on top of the Nittany Lions are the Northwestern Wildcats. They are 12-11 and 3-9 in the Big Ten. Their only wins are against Illinois, Rutgers, and Indiana. None of which are contending for the top of the conference.

So this first name you should know well by now because it seems like he has been at Northwestern for a least a decade now. Forward Vic Law is finally a senior. He is also still leading the team with 15.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. While Vic is only 6’7” he commands himself well on the court and plays well against some of the tougher squads in the conference. If Copleand was still playing I would say he would be pressured enough to not be as much of a problem for the Huskers, but we do not have that luxury anymore. Nebraska will need to shut him down early in the game.

Dererk Pardon sits at center for the Wildcats. At 6’8” he can be a problem under the basket but does not quite have the athleticism that most players in the Big Ten at his position do. Dererk is averaging a nice 13.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. He has done well for the Wildcats because he has had to in most of the games. Expect a lot of points overall from him as the game goes on.

Also of note is guard Ryan Taylor. The senior guard is playing his first and only year for Northwester after two years at Evansville and one year at Ohio. The sojourner averages 11.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists while shooting 36% from the floor per game. I like how he matches up against Nebraska and the Huskers should handle him well throughout the game.

Prediction

Northwestern is still trying to find the magic that brought them to the NCAA Tournament two years ago. They have been struggling all year against decent opponents and are in the middle of a five game losing streak. If this was in Evanston then I might go with the home team to win this. However, it is in Lincoln and I like the home team’s chances here.

University of Nebraska 71 Northwestern University 65