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January 21, 2012

Gameday: Nebraska vs. Ohio State

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Ohio State (16-3, 4-2 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated No. 8 Indiana 80-63
G Aaron Craft (2nd in Big Ten with 5.3 assists, 1st with 2.5 steals per game) So. 6-2 190
G Lenzelle Smith (averaging 6.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game) So. 6-4 205
G William Buford (scoring 15.2 ppg and shooting 36% from 3-point range) Sr. 6-6 220
F Deshaun Thomas (averaging 15.1 ppg and 4.1 rpg) So. 6-7 225
F Jared Sullinger (shooting 60% from field, 2nd in the Big Ten with 9.3 rpg) So. 6-9 280

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (10-8, 2-5 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated No. 11 Indiana 70-69
G Bo Spencer (led NU with 23 points in win over Indiana) Sr. 6-2 196
G Brandon Richardson (leads NU with 1.9 spg and second with 2.8 apg) Sr. 6-0 190
G Caleb Walker (has scored in double figures four times this season) Sr. 6-4 205
G Toney McCray (second on team with 10.4 ppg) Jr. 6-10 235
F Brandon Ubel (leads team with 5.3 rebounds per game) Jr. 6-10 235

Defend the post

The first time Nebraska took on Ohio State, the Buckeyes exposed the Huskers in the post in a big way. Obviously preseason Big Ten Conference player of the year Jared Sullinger had a lot to do with that, as the All-American finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds in what ended in a 31-point rout by OSU. Not only that, Ohio State ended up with more rebounds (44) than Nebraska had points (40). Tonight's rematch will be a little different, however, in the sense that the Huskers now have junior center Jorge Brian Diaz back in the lineup. With more size and depth down low, NU should be able to match-up a little better in the post this time around, and it's going to need all the help it can get.
Pick it up offensively

One of the things Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler said his team would have to better this time around against Ohio State was be much more crisp and fluid in its half court offense. In order to counter the Buckeyes' stingy defense, Sadler said the Huskers had to pick up the speed of their ball movement and be ready to pull the trigger whenever a window for a good look at a shot opened up. Efficiency will be huge against an OSU team that generally dominates the glass against every team it plays, as Nebraska had just six offensive rebounds against the Buckeyes in the first meeting.
Keep it up

For the first time in a long time, Nebraska finally has something to feel good about coming off its biggest win of the season in Wednesday night's upset over No. 11 Indiana. Going into that game, the Huskers were very aware that for them to have any chance at keeping their season goals alive, this week would have to be the week they turned things around. It was obviously a lot to ask for NU to have to knock off two top-15 teams in four days, but such is life at this point. It will definitely be an extremely uphill battle for the Huskers to have any shot at making one last run at the Big Dance, but another upset tonight would be a huge step in the right direction.

Head coach Doc Sadler on the importance of Nebraska moving on from its upset of Indiana:

"It was a good win. Any win in this league though I think is a good win. I don't care who it's against. It looks like it's that balanced and that difficult. We beat a good basketball team last night, and it took 40 minutes to do that. But if we sit back and think that we've arrived, then we're fixing to get our head beat in on Saturday night. So we better move on, and we better move on quick."
Junior guard Dylan Talley on the Huskers' confidence coming off Wednesday night's win:

"We're a lot more confident. I feel we're going to be ready. Wisconsin beat us by out 25 at home, and then we go on the road to Wisconsin and we only lose by five. We felt we should've won that game, we just didn't get the rebounds that we should've got. We're definitely ready for Ohio State at home. Actually, we expect to come out and play well against them."

Ohio State 63-50

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