It’s hard to win on the road in the Big Ten Conference.
The 84-87 loss in overtime to #14 ranked Illinois gave you some insight on why it can be so hard.
We can start with the usual disadvantages when playing on the road like sleeping in a hotel bed instead of your own warm bed. The food isn’t the same and you likely had to take a plane to get there.
The sights and sounds of the gym also add into the difficulty of winning on the road.
What shouldn’t be a problem is the officiating and rather the inconsistency in the officiating for teams who are playing on the road in the Big Ten.
This isn’t a woe is me thought that is solely aimed at Nebraska playing on the road. The inconsistent officiating is the only consistent aspect of Big Ten Basketball that we have seen this entire season and it is league wide.
The most recent example that comes to mind that does not include Nebraska is Northwestern’s loss to Purdue. In that game Purdue attempted 46 free throws compared to eight attempts for Northwestern.
Some of that can be attributed to the fact that Purdue has one of the best big men in the country in Zach Edey and Northwestern planned on being more physical.
In tonight's game the inconsistency was more about the touch fouls called on Nebraska in the second half and overtime to Nebraska getting raked across the arm (Reink Mast) or boxing out a Illinois player and him falling on Keisei Tominaga. Or you can throw in the non-jump ball that was somehow called a foul on Sam Hoiberg.
Then it’s the touch fouls on one end and the continued contact on the other end.
It is a lot to overcome for Nebraska, which is still searching for it’s first conference win away from Pinnacle Bank Arena this season.
I’m not sure what the answer is but if this continues then it is a problem the conference has to address. Again, Nebraska has been nearly unbeatable at home so they are likely getting the benefit of doubt in Lincoln as well when it comes to officiating.
But on a night like tonight when Keisei Tominaga goes for 31 points it feels like a lost opportunity.
For what it is worth, this Nebraska basketball team is resilient. They were down 10 points late in the second half and came back to force the game into overtime.
This resilience should benefit this team at some point this season but it wasn’t tonight. They just weren’t resilient enough I guess.