Date: Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022
Time: 7 PM CST/8 PM EST
Television: Big Ten Network
Location: Welsh-Ryan Arena (7,039), Evanston, Illinois
Since thumping Nebraska 87-63 in Lincoln Feb. 5, Northwestern has done some stumbling of its own. Chris Collins’ club has won just once in its last four outings with the lone triumph coming against Indiana in Evanston, Ill. (59-51). The Wildcats are currently on a three-game slide after falling at Illinois (73-66), against Purdue (70-64) and at Minnesota (77-60).
With five games left on its regular season schedule, Nebraska is still grasping at the rope with hopes of pulling itself out of the Big Ten cellar. With only one game left in the friendly confines of Pinnacle Bank Arena, Nebraska desperately needs a W against the Wildcats to begin its ascent.
Nebraska (7-19, 1-14 Big Ten) travels to Northwestern (12-13, 5-11) Tuesday evening, hosts Iowa (18-8, 8-7), travels to Penn State (11-12, 6-9), goes to Ohio State (16-7, 9-5) and battles Wisconsin (21-5, 12-4) in Madison to close out the regular season. That’s not an easy slate for any Big Ten club trying to get on a roll and get the attention of the selection committee come March, let alone remove itself from the bottom rung in the conference standings.
Freshmen C.J. Wilcher (6-5, G) and Bryce McGowens (6-7, G) led Fred Hoiberg’s club with 15 and 10 points respectively in the last outing against Northwestern. Alonzo Verge Jr. (6-3, Sr., G) and Trey McGowens (6-4, Jr., G) chipped in with nine and eight points in the 24-point fiasco. Nebraska took a 10-8 advantage on Wilchers’ 3-Pointer with 14:36 left in the opening half, but never led again after Northwestern went on an 18-3 run over the next three and a half minutes.
In order for Big Red to reverse that outcome Tuesday evening, it will need to find a way to put a lid on Northwestern’s basket when Boo Buie (6-2, Jr., G) and Chase Audige (6-4, R.-Jr., G) have the ball. Buie buried the Huskers with 27 points on 10 of 15 shooting from the floor. He also ripped the cords on six of 11 3-Point attempts. Audige chipped in 16 points while Ryan Young (6-10, R.-Jr., C) finished in double figures with 12 points.
Collins, who is 8-2 against Nebraska, guided the Wildcats to a 49-27 advantage at intermission in the latest Wildcat win over Nebraska. His club now sits in 11th place in league play and holds a three and a half game lead over Hoiberg and the Big Red in the conference standings.
Buie is leading the way for Collins in 2021-22 with 15.0 points and 4.48 assists per contest. Pete Nance (6-10, Sr., F) adds 14.9 points a contest and pulls down a team-high 6.4 boards. Audige and Young add 10.5 and nine points a game while Ty Berry (6-3, So., G) and Robbie Beran (6-9, Jr., F) are good for 7.2 and 6.4 points respectively.
Nance is eighth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (133/274, 48.5-percent), fifth in free throw percentage (60/76, 78.9-percent) and eighth in blocked shots per contest (1.1). Buie, meanwhile, sits third in free throw percentage (67/83, 80.7-percent), 10th in 3-Pointers made per game (2.2), fourth in assists per contest (4.5) and fifth in assist/turnover ratio (2.4). Audige has put his name in the record books by averaging a Big Ten second best 1.8 steals per contest.
As a team, Northwestern is fifth in the conference in scoring average (73.7), fifth in 3-Pointers made per game (8.1), second in turnover margin (4.28), second in assist/turnover ratio (1.63), fourth in assists a game (15.76) and fourth in steals per contest (6.80).
A leading candidate for Freshman of the Year, Bryce McGowens spearheads Nebraska’s attack with 16.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest. Verge Jr. adds 13.6 points, 4.5 boards and 5.2 assists per contest while Derrick Walker (6-9, Jr., F) scores 9.5 points and rips down a team-high 5.7 rebounds a game. Wilcher and Keisei Tominaga (6-2, So., G) chip in with 7.9 and 6.3 points respectively while Trey McGowens adds 6.2 points per contest.
Bryce McGowens is eighth in the Big Ten in scoring (16.8) and second in free throw percentage (136/162, 84.0-percent). Verge Jr. is ninth in free throw percentage (76/102, 74.5-percent), second in assists per game (5.2) and seventh in steals per contest (1.4) while Walker sits 10th in the conference in shots swatted per contest (1.0).
As a team, Nebraska is fourth in turnover margin (1.08), third in steals per contest (7.15) and third in attendance (15,245).
Nebraska will host Iowa Friday, Feb. 25 at 8 PM CST and travels to Penn State Sunday, Feb. 27 for a 6 PM tipoff. Northwestern, meanwhile, travels to Penn State Friday, Feb 25 for a 6 PM tip and then heads to Iowa City for a 7 PM clash with the Iowa Hawkeyes on Monday, Feb. 28.
Series History: Northwestern leads, 10-9
Last Matchup: Northwestern 87, Nebraska 63 (Feb. 5, 2022)
Radio: Huskers Radio Network, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KXSP (590 AM) in Omaha, KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington. Also available on Huskers.com and the Huskers App.
Play-by-Play: Kent Pavelka
Analyst: Jake Muhleisen
Television: Tuesday’s game will be televised on the Big Ten Network with Dave Revsine and Stephen Bardo on the call. It is also available on the web, mobile devices and connected TVs via the Fox Sports App.
2021-22 Record: 12-13 (5-11, Big Ten)
Head Coach: Chris Collins
Record at Northwestern: 130-147 (9th Year)
Career Record: Same
2021-22 Record: 7-19 (1-14, Big Ten)
Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg
Record at Nebraska: 21-64 (3rd Year)
Career Record: 136-120 (8th Year)