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December 6, 2012

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska vs. Creighton

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Creighton Bluejays
Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 - 7:02 p.m. CT
TV: None / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network / INTERNET: ESPN3

Creighton Bluejays (7-1, 0-0 MVC)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated Saint Joseph's 80-51
G Jahenns Manigat (had 8 points and no turnovers vs. St. Joseph's) Jr. 6-1 175
G Austin Chatman (averaging 8.8 points and 4.8 assists per game) So. 6-0 185
G Grant Gibbs (leads team with 6.0 assists per game) Sr. 6-5 210
F Doug McDermott (averages 21.3 points and 7.1 rebounds a game) Jr. 6-8 225
C Gregory Echenique (second on team with 10.4 ppg and 6.5 rpg) Sr. 6-9 260

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (6-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 2
Last Game: Defeated USC 63-51
G Benny Parker (has a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio) Fr. 5-9 164
G Ray Gallegos (leads Big Ten with 3.3 3-pointer per game) Jr. 6-2 181
G Dylan Talley (leads Big Ten with 35.3 minutes played per game) Sr. 6-5 216
F Brandon Ubel (averaging 14.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game) Sr. 6-10 234
C Andre Almeida (hitting 66% of FGs to lead Big Ten, ranks 3rd in blocks) Sr. 6-11 314

Contain McDermott

While Creighton has several weapons at its disposal, there's no question who is the engine that makes the Bluejays go. Junior forward Doug McDermott comes into tonight's game as one of the most productive players in college basketball, as the 2011-12 first-team All-American is putting up more than 21 points and seven rebounds a game. Needless to say, if Nebraska is going to have any chance at pulling off the upset tonight, it's going to start with shutting down McDermott and making someone else step up.
Drive, drive, drive

If there's one glaring weakness on this Creighton team, it's the Bluejays' struggles defending guards who penetrate to the basket and make plays. That was most obvious in CU's one loss this year to Boise State, as guard Derrick Marks took the game over with 35 points driving right through the defense. The problem is outside of Dylan Talley, the Huskers don't have any guards who have proven they can get points off the drive. Someone other than Talley is going to have to fill that role.
Capitalize on the momentum

It's been a long time since there were as many good vibes surrounding Nebraska basketball as there right now. The Huskers have surprised everyone with their 6-1 start, and the recent signing of Tai Webster gives even more optimism for the future. As far as this game is concerned, there couldn't be much better circumstances for NU to pull off an upset tonight. It will be a near sellout crowd at the Devaney Center, and if one thing is for sure about this team, it's that it feeds off home court momentum.

Senior guard Dylan Talley on whether NU has exceeded outside expectations thus far:

"Yeah, from the things I was reading before the season, I would say we have. But, I mean, we believe in ourselves. We get up at 6 in the morning every morning over the summer and work hard just for positive results. We don't expect to lose, we just go out and play hard and see what happens."
Senior forward Brandon Ubel on if the Huskers are ready to pull off the upset over Creighton:

"We're about to find out, but we've just been getting better every game. With the exception of Kent State, there's been a growth from game to game in the way that we're playing and the way that we're playing together. I think you'll see another step forward come Thursday, and it'll be fun. A ranked opponent comes into your place, and you've got an opportunity to beat them, that's big time for us. Hopefully we can pull it together and get the win."

Creighton 76-68

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