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February 16, 2011

Gameday: Nebraska vs. Oklahoma

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011 - 8:05 p.m. CT
TV: ESPNU/ RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Oklahoma Sooners (12-12, 4-6 Big 12)
Streak: Lost 3
Last Game: Lost to Missouri 83-61
G Steven Pledger (averaging 12.2 ppg, including 38 points vs. ISU) So. 6-4 212
G Carl Blair Jr. (leads team with 4.3 apg) So. 6-2 209
F Cade Davis (team's second-leading scorer and rebounder with 12.3 ppg and 4.9 rpg) Sr. 6-5 209
G/F Cameron Clark (averaging 9.8 ppg and 4.8 rpg) Fr. 6-6 189
F Andrew Fitzgerald (leads team with 13.6 ppg and 5.2 rpg) So. 6-8 226

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (16-8, 4-6 Big 12 Conference)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated Oklahoma State 65-54
G Lance Jeter (Top-5 in Big 12 in assists, steals and A/TO Ratio (2.4-to-1)) Sr. 6-3 222
G Brandon Richardson (shooting 97% from the FT line in Big 12 play) Jr. 6-0 190
G Caleb Walker (three games with at least 10 rebounds this season) Jr. 6-4 205
G Toney McCray (scored career-high 23 points against Baylor) Jr. 6-6 210
F Jorge Brian Diaz (scored season-high 16 points vs. Texas A&M) So. 6-11 245

Wear them down

While Nebraska is known for its deep bench and the number of players who see significant minutes each game, Oklahoma is the exact opposite. The Sooners have used pretty much exclusively a six-man rotation every game, with their five starters playing an average of 33 minutes per game. A key for the Huskers will be to make OU work on both sides of the ball on every possession, especially on the offensive end. By wearing down the Sooners through the first 35 minutes, Nebraska should be able to capitalize on its fresher legs.
Use the big guys

Among Oklahoma's six-man rotation, the biggest player comes in at just 6-foot-8, 226 pounds. Obviously Nebraska has a few guys bigger, taller and stronger than that. That means the Huskers would be best served to pound the ball inside on as many possessions as possible as well as using bigger lineups that put as much of their size on the floor at the same time as they can. By controlling the paint on both ends, NU could force the Sooners to get into early foul trouble and make them rely on their perimeter shooting to put points on the board.
Just win a road game

There might not be a more written or talked about losing streak in the Big 12 Conference right now than Nebraska's 13-game league road losing streak. Tonight certainly won't be any easier than the previous 13, as Oklahoma is 42-1 in its past 43 home games against unranked opponents. The biggest problems for the Huskers on the road has been finishing out games in the final minutes. If they want to have any chance of keeping their post-season play hopes alive, they'll find a way to get it done in the end tonight.

Senior guard Drake Beranek on this week's games against Oklahoma and No. 3 Texas:

"I think that's always in the back of your head. Coming to Nebraska, this is the kind of stuff I came here for. This opportunity to be able to be in a situation like this and be able to make a difference, it's just something that I think every competitor would love to do.
Senior guard Lance Jeter on the importance of finally getting a road win tonight:

"It's definitely big because we don't have one yet. It's a good opportunity. Oklahoma is a good team, so we are going to try and win. We definitely need to be mentally tough with the crowd not being on our side."

Nebraska 67-59

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