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November 19, 2008The last time Nebraska left the state to play a road game in the month of November, leading scorer Toney McCray was just an 11-year-old elementary school student in Missouri City, Texas.
For the first time since the 2000-01 season, the Huskers will travel past state lines during the first moth of the season when they take on Texas Christian tonight at 7 p.m. in Fort Worth, Texas.
Not counting its annual series with Creighton, which has held games in Omaha, NU hasn't played a road game in November since falling to Oral Roberts 87-83 in its '00-01 season opener.
While head coach Doc Sadler isn't concerned with the timing of this season's first road trip, he is curious as to how his young team will respond to its first game away from the comfort of the Devaney Sports Center.
For five true and redshirt freshmen, tonight will be their first taste of playing in a college basketball road game.
"I think anytime it's your first game on the road, it's a concern," Sadler said. "And you add the fact that we have a lot of guys where it's their first time going on the road, sure, it makes a difference. But that's part of college basketball. You don't get a chance to play all your games at home, so we'll get a chance to go on the road and see what we're made of."
While the Huskers (1-0) are preparing for their first road contest, TCU (1-2) is looking forward to finally playing its first game at home. The Horned Frogs opened their season with a 67-63 win at Western Michigan, then traveled to South Carolina to compete in the ESPN Charleston Classic, where they fell to Clemson (70-58) and College of Charleston (86-75).
Sadler said the Huskers will get a good test in TCU, which he said compares quite a bit to Nebraska in terms of match-ups. Like the Huskers, the Horned Frogs aren't the biggest team, as they have just one player taller than 6-foot-8 in junior center Zvonko Buljan (6-9).
TCU is led by junior forward Edvinas Ruzgas, who's averaging 15.7 points per game. Senior forward Kevin Langford (13.0 ppg) is also a threat, as he scored 27 points in TCU's most recent game against College of Charleston.
"It's going to be a good basketball game," Sadler said. "They're a lot like ourselves. If there's a team that you watch on tape that you'd like your team to be a lot like, it'd be like them. They really are a tremendous defensive team. They pressure the basketball and make it difficult to run your offense. They're not overly big, but they're going to create problems for you offensively."
For the players, most are have been looking forward to taking their show on the road, even if it's earlier than any of them have experienced at Nebraska.
"That's going to be very exciting," junior guard Sek Henry said. "I'm going to have to talk to some of our other players that haven't played in road games, because it's going to be a new experience. It's not as easy as playing at home. That's why winning road games is bigger than winning home games."
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