{{ timeAgo('2020-01-11 06:00:00 -0600') }} basketball Edit

Hoops Game Day: Nebraska at Northwestern

WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN

Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-8, 2-2) vs Northwestern Wildcats (5-9, 0-4)

Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 - 3:30 p.m. CT

Welsh-Ryan Arena

TV: BTN

Radio: Husker Sports Network

Internet: Fox Sports App

Nebraska projected starters
NAME HT/WT YEAR NOTES

Cam Mack

6-2/175

So.

Has four points-assists double-doubles this season, the most by a Husker since 1985-86 (Brian Carr, five).

Dachon Burke

6-4/180

Jr.

Averaging 12.2 points per game and needs just four more points to reach 1,000 in his career.

Thorir Thorbjarnarson

6-6/206

Jr.

Ranks third in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage, starting 21-of-45 this season after going a combined 6-of-28 in his first two years.

Haanif Cheatham

6-5/195

Sr.

Leads team with 13.3 points per game and has scored in double figures in 10 of last 11 outings.

Yvan Ouedraogo

6-9/260

Fr.

Averages 6.3 rebounds per game to rank fourth among Big Ten freshmen. He's on track to post the highest rebounding average by an NU freshman since 2004-05 (Aleks Maric, 6.3).

Northwestern projected starters
NAME HT/WT YEAR NOTES

Pat Spencer

6-3/205

Sr.

A four-time All-American in lacrosse at Loyola (Md.) who is averaging 10.6 ppg and a team-high 4.1 apg.

Miller Kopp

6-7/210

So.

:eads the Wildcats in scoring at 12.6 ppg and is shooting 44 percent from 3-point range.

Robbie Beran

6-9/205

Fr.

True freshman making his fourth start, averages 4.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.

Pete Nance

6-10/225

So.

Scoring 9.8 ppg and ranks second on the team with 6.4 rpg while shooting the second-most 3-pointers (15-54).

Ryan Young

6-10/235

RFr.

Averaging 10.7 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game.

3 KEYS TO VICTORY

1. Find some consistency

If Nebraska can play anything like it did in Tuesday night's upset over Iowa, it should win this game. Northwestern is a pesky team that has caused some problems for superior opponents, but the Huskers are more talented and have more weapons. However, none of that matters if NU doesn't bring the same fire and energy it did against the Hawkeyes. The inability to string together consecutive strong efforts has plagued Nebraska all season, as the wild ups and downs in performance have defined the first two months of the Fred Hoiberg era. Today will be just as much about which Husker team shows up as it will have anything to do with Northwestern.

2. Own the paint

It seems odd to say Nebraska could have an advantage in the low post, but this is one of the only matchups it will see in the Big Ten where that's the case. As bad as the Huskers have been in terms of rebounding and post defense, Northwestern has been almost equally as inept. The Wildcats rank just in front of NU in rebounding margin at -2.1, and that's even with starting four players who are 6-7 or taller. They also rank dead last in the league in blocked shots (2.4 per game) and offensive rebounds (8.0). Nebraska has been outscored 104-50 in points in the paint over the past two games, but against a Wildcat squad that only shoots 31 percent from 3-point range and allows opponents to hit 51 percent of their two-point field goals, the low post could be a valuable area for NU today.

3. Manage the free-throw line

Is there's one thing Northwestern does pretty well it's getting to the free-throw line and capitalizing once it's there. The Wildcats rank 31st nationally and second in the Big Ten in free-throw percentage (76.3) and nearly 20 percent of their per-game scoring comes from the charity stripe. That's an important factor considering Nebraska has struggled, to say the least, to convert free throws all season. The Huskers rank 347th out of 353 Division-I teams in free-throw percentage at 59.1, making just 195 of their 325 attempts on the year. Against a Northwestern team that's going to want to slow things down to a crawl and muck the game up, NU can't afford to get into a free-throw battle today. Defend without fouling and then make sure to take advantage when you get to the line.

QUOTABLE

"We have to shift our mentality and go out with that togetherness and hopefully keep our chemistry at a high level. You're going to have to have that if you're going to have a chance to win on the road."
— Head coach Fred Hoiberg on the importance of Nebraska keeping up the energy and effort it had against Iowa.

PREDICTION

Nebraska 71, Northwestern 68

Robin's 2019-20 record: 8-7

vs. the spread: 5-10