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March 2, 2013

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska vs. Illinois

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
Saturday, March 2, 2013 - 4:15 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Illinois (20-9, 7-8 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 1
Last Game: Lost to Michigan 71-58
G Tracy Abrams (averages 10.6 points and 3.4 assists per game) So. 6-1 185
G D.J. Richardson (scoring 12.8 ppg with team high 68 3-pointers and 42 steals) Sr. 6-3 195
G Brandon Paul (fourth in the Big Ten in scoring at 16.2 ppg) Sr. 6-4 200
F Sam McLaurin (averaging 4.3 ppg and 3.4 rpg) Sr. 6-8 220
F/C Nnanna Egwu (scoring 6.5 ppg with 4.5 rpg) So. 6-11 235

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (13-15, 4-11 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 1
Last Game: Lost to Wisconsin 77-46
G Dylan Talley (averaging 19.8 ppg over last five games) Sr. 6-5 216
G Ray Gallegos (held to just six points against Wisconsin) Jr. 6-2 181
G/F Shavon Shields (averaging 9.9 ppg and 6.1 in last 14 games) Fr. 6-6 215
F David Rivers (questionable for today's game with muscle strain in leg) So. 6-7 191
F Brandon Ubel (ranks seventh in Big Ten with 6.8 rpg) Sr. 6-10 235

Limit transition

With the number of athletes Illinois has across its roster and also the limited size it has in the post, the Fighting Illini love to get out and run at any chance they can get. That obviously does not suit Nebraska's style of play at all, as the Huskers are built to control the tempo and work out of the half-court offense. In order to keep the game at a manageable pace and not let Illinois get on a run with some fast breaks, NU needs to limit turnovers, win the glass on both ends and convert when it has the ball. The Illini lead the Big Ten with 13.5 forced turnovers per game.
Defend the 3

During the early portion of the season, when Illinois was off to a ridiculously hot start and was ranked as high as No. 10 nationally, a huge portion of its success was due to its 3-point shooting. In their first meeting this season, D.J. Richardson lit the Huskers up for a career-high 30 points in Lincoln behind six made 3-pointers. For Nebraska to keep a repeat of the 12 treys Wisconsin poured in on Tuesday night from happening again, it has to guard the perimeter and not allow any uncontested looks.
Keep your composure

When head coach Tim Miles asked his team what went wrong in its 31-point loss to Wisconsin, his players told them they let the Badgers' hot start negatively affect them the rest of the game and couldn't recover. Tonight is yet another hostile road environment for NU, and to make matters worse it will be Illinois' Senior Night for its three senior starters. Emotions will definitely be running high in Assembly Hall, and the Huskers will have to find a way to keep their focus and not let a few bad breaks early on do them in.

Head coach Tim Miles on Nebraska making the most of its final three regular season games:

"There's no doubt we have to get back on the same page and the right path. I just thought kind of the way we played in the first half against Iowa, we played the entire night (against Wisconsin). It was an OK game for seven or eight minutes, and all of a sudden it's 3 after 3 after 3. When we give up 3s, we've got a real problem on our hands."
Senior guard Dylan Talley on his recent hot scoring streak:

"I try and have the same approach every game. I just get mentally focused the night before and the day of the game, prepare the way Coach teaches us to prepare for games. Ain't nothing changed. I'm just playing better, that's all."

Illinois 70-58

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