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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 26, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bob Devaney Sports Center (13,500) -- Lincoln, Nebraska. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Northwestern 7-7, Nebraska 7-5. Away Record: Northwestern 3-1, Nebraska 2-5. Neutral Record: Northwestern 2-0, Nebraska 1-0. Conference Record: Northwestern 3-4, Nebraska 1-6. Series Record: Nebraska leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: The Nebraska Cornhuskers welcome the Northwestern Wildcats to the Devaney Center for a Big Ten Conference clash on Saturday.
Northwestern has split its last six contests, and that includes Wednesday's 55-48 win over 12th-ranked Minnesota. The Wildcats played three ranked opponents in a one-week span and beat two of them, as they also downed then No. 23 Illinois in the road last Thursday, 68-54. Following this tilt, the Wildcats will head to Ann Arbor to take on 13th-ranked Michigan on Wednesday.
Nebraska hosted the Fighting Illini this past Tuesday and was dealt a lopsided, 71-51 loss. It marked the Cornhuskers' sixth loss in their last seven games as they have slid down the conference standings. They have a chance to turn things around during a current stretch that will see the Huskers play four of five at home.
Nebraska leads the all-time series, 3-2, although Northwestern claimed an 84-74 home victory when these teams met up last February.
The Wildcats were outrebounded by a 45-31 margin against Minnesota, but they made up for it by holding the Golden Gophers to 33.3-percent shooting from the floor. Trailing 37-32 with 13 minutes remaining, NU switched to a 1-3-1 defense and then went on an 18-4 run to take control. Jared Swopshire finished with a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds, while Reggie Hearn and Tre Demps scored 13 and 10 points, respectively. On the season, Hearn paces the squad with 14.4 points per game and is shooting 50.6 percent from the floor. Second-leading scorer Drew Crawford (13.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg) was lost for the season in mid-December after undergoing right shoulder surgery, and while his scoring is certainly missed, the Wildcats have found ways to win in Crawford's absence. Dave Sobolewski (11.0 ppg, .410 3-point FG) and Swopshire (9.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg) have stepped up their games of late.
Nebraska had no answer for Illinois guard D.J. Richardson on Tuesday night, as he nearly doubled his previous career high with 30 points, 20 of which were scored in the second half as the Illini snapped a three-game slide. After rallying to make it a seven-point game with eight minutes to play, the Cornhuskers were held without a field goal the rest of the way. For the game, they shot just 31.8 percent from the floor, 2-of-14 from beyond the arc, and were outrebounded by a 40-28 margin. Dylan Talley finished with a team-high 16 points in the loss, while Brandon Ubel scored 10 and pulled down six boards. Talley (13.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Ray Gallegos (12.8 ppg) are the top two scorers and have been in the starting lineup together for all 20 games, although they are shooting a combined 36 percent from the floor and have accounted for nearly half of the team's field-goal attempts.
The Wildcats just got through an awfully challenging portion of their schedule with fine results. Now, they must be careful to avoid a letdown game on the road against the struggling Cornhuskers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northwestern 68, Nebraska 62
01/26 10:36:29 ET