Purdue (8-8) at Nebraska (9-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 16, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bob Devaney Sports Center (13,595) -- Lincoln, Nebraska. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Purdue 7-3, Nebraska 7-3. Away Record: Purdue 1-2, Nebraska 1-5. Neutral Record: Purdue 0-3, Nebraska 1-0. Conference Record: Purdue 2-2, Nebraska 0-4. Series Record: Purdue leads, 8-2.
GAME NOTES: The Nebraska Cornhuskers will try once again to record their first Big Ten Conference win of the season, as they play host to the Purdue Boilermakers on Wednesday night.
Purdue has had plenty of ups and downs this season on its way to an 8-8 overall record. A microcosm of its mediocre campaign has come in conference play, where it has split its four games, although it is coming off a 60-42 win over Penn State on Sunday afternoon. The Boilermakers haven't fared well outside of West Lafayette however, combining to go just 1-5 in road and neutral-site affairs.
Things have taken a turn for the worse for Nebraska after it began the season with wins in six of its first seven games. The Cornhuskers have lost seven of 10, including four in a row to league foes. They traveled the East Lansing on Sunday and were handed a 66-56 defeat by nationally-ranked Michigan State.
The Boilermakers have won eight of the 10 matchups in the all-time series with Nebraska, which includes both encounters during the 2011-12 season.
Purdue may have seen better days on the scoreboard than what it did against Penn State on Sunday, but it was still able to dominate the proceedings en route to an 18-point win, outshooting the Nittany Lions from the field, 45.1 percent to 25.9 percent, and winning the rebounding battle, 42-33. Ronnie Johnson led the way with 13 points, while A.J. Hammons tallied 12 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. D.J. Byrd (12 points) and Raphael Davis (10 points) were also effective in the triumph. The Boilermakers offense has been modest at best this year, converting less than 42 percent from the floor for 66.2 ppg, but it has been able to hover around .500 thanks to an impressive scoring defense (61.9 ppg). Terone Johnson hasn't been the most efficient shooter (.380), but he generates enough volume to be the team's leading scorer at 13.1 ppg. Hammons' freshman campaign is off to a great start, as he puts up 10.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 1.8 bpg, all while shooting nearly 52 percent from the floor. Byrd (9.9 ppg) and Ronnie Johnson (9.1 ppg, 3.3 apg) are also regular contributors for the Boilermakers.
Nebraska has been ice-cold from the field lately, scoring fewer than 60 points in eight of its last 10 games (including three below 50 points). It faced a tough Michigan State squad over the weekend, and although it kept the game within single-digits until the final minute, the team ultimately fell thanks to another lackluster shooting effort (.397). Amazingly enough, David Rivers was perfect in the setback, making all eight of his field goal attempts en route to 18 points. Dylan Talley tallied 17 points and eight rebounds, while Ray Gallegos tacked on 12 points. The Cornhuskers lack of shooting success over the past few weeks has resulted in the league's worst scoring offense () (58.2 ppg), which spoils its strong play at the defensive end (60.9 ppg). Talley (13.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Gallegos (13.3 ppg) have had a difficult time finding their stroke as each shoots under 40 percent from the field, but they are nonetheless the team's two top scoring threats. Nebraska hopes it can find a solid replacement in the frontcourt for Brandon Ubel (12.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg), who is out indefinitely with an elbow injury.
Nebraska has played poorly of late, but to be fair the team has faced four of the Big Ten's best (Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State) to open league action. The Cornhuskers have been strong at home (7-3), and against an inconsistent Purdue squad, they should be able to notch their first conference win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Nebraska 67, Purdue 64
01/16 10:34:17 ET