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January 26, 2014

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska vs. Minnesota

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Sunday, Jan. 25, 2014 - 5 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Minnesota Golden Gophers (15-4, 4-3 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated Wisconsin 81-68
G Austin Hollins (averaging 11.8 ppg and 6.3 rpg) Sr. 6-4 190
G Deandre Mathieu (had team-high 18 points in win over Wisconsin) Jr. 5-9 165
G Malik Smith (had 14 points in 34 minutes vs. Wisconsin) Sr. 6-2 200
F Oto Osenieks (scoring 7.1 ppg with 3.4 rpg) Jr. 6-8 220
C Elliott Eliason (ranks 3rd in Big Ten with 8.4 rpg and 2nd with 2.6 bpg) Jr. 6-11 240

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (9-9, 1-5 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 1
Last Game: Lost to Penn State 58-54
G Tai Webster (held scoreless in 15 minutes vs. PSU) Fr. 6-4 194
G Ray Gallegos (had 10 points against Penn State) Sr. 6-2 182
G/F Terran Petteway (ranks 4th in Big Ten with 17.2 ppg) So. 6-6 209
F Shavon Shields (had 10 rebounds against the Nittany Lions) So. 6-7 219
F Walter Pitchford (scored eight points with seven rebounds vs. PSU) So. 6-10 234

Run the offense

After playing about as well offensively as a team as it had played all year earlier in the week against Ohio State, Nebraska looked completely lost and confused with the ball in Thursday night's loss at Penn State. The Huskers settled for far too many 3-pointers, especially early on, and there were countless times where to opted for a bad shot instead of making the extra pass for an easy basket. Minnesota is a team that forces you to be as efficient as possible on offense with a aggressive pressure defense, so NU has to be patience and take good shots every time down.
Take care of the ball

The biggest difference in the loss to Penn State was the Nittany Lions scored 22 points off of 14 Nebraska turnovers, including some crucial mistakes with the ball in the final two minutes that ultimately decided the game. Again, Minnesota is a team that thrives on getting the ball out in transition off of turnovers, and its depth and talent in the backcourt will be as good as any team NU has faced yet this season. Nebraska simply can't afford to give the Gophers any easy scoring opportunities by being careless with the basketball.
Protect home court

Nebraska's performance in State College, Penn., once again showed just how different of a team it is on the road than it is at home at Pinnacle Bank Arena. While the Huskers need to figure out their road woes at some point, they also need to keep their home-court advantage going strong. Despite its 9-9 record on the season, NU is still 8-1 at PBA with its one loss coming on a near game-winning miss at the buzzer. On the other side, Minnesota is just 3-4 on the road this year and has lost its past two games away from home. This could be a perfect opportunity for Nebraska to bounce back.

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles on Nebraska needing to respond to adversity:

"It's what happens when you get smacked in the mouth. What happens when you've had the lead all night and they take the lead? Do you take a bad shot or put your head down and try to make a play? Or do you run the play? For the most part, we did pretty well."
Miles on the boom-or-bust season junior point guard Deverell Biggs has had so far:

"We don't win the Ohio State game without Deverell Biggs. Dev is a home run hitter."

Minnesota 81-69

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