When: 7:45 p.m. on Saturday

Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena

TV: BTN

Radio: 590 AM (Omaha) 1400 AM (Lincoln)

Online stream: btn2go.com

Opponent Preview

2018-19 record: 12-12

Offensive efficiency (KenPom): 166th

Defensive efficiency (KenPom): 27th

Trending: Down. Since going to, and winning, the first NCAA tournament game in program history, Northwestern hasn’t done much. This year, it is starting to spiral out of control. After starting the year 10-5, Northwestern is now .500. Its best win is Indiana at home, but everyone has beat Indiana this year. So this is a game Nebraska, if it plays well, should be able to handle.

Players to watch

» Northwestern doesn’t have a ton of offense, but it does have Vic Law. He’s the Wildcats leading scorer, with 15.5 points per game, but does much more than that. The 6-foot-7 senior grabs 6.7 rebounds per game with 2.9 assists. He scored 24 against Iowa in a one-point loss on Feb. 10. He could be a matchup problem for Nebraska.

» Dererk Pardon’s first-ever game was a 20-rebound effort against Nebraska. So the 6-foot-8 center is always a threat. He scores 13.7 points with 7.6 rebounds. Against Ethan Happ, he battled, with eight points and 11 rebounds. Isaiah Roby will have have to keep him in check.

» A.J. Turner is Northwestern’s leader in assists, with 3.1 a game. The 6-foot-7 junior shoots 37 percent from the floor, and isn’t a volume scorer, but a glue guy for the Wildcats. He could very quietly break Nebraska down.

Three keys for Nebraska

1. The rest of the regular season has to be the Glynn Watson and James Palmer show, featuring Isaiah Roby. Watson and Palmer have to score about 35 to 40 combined a night, and Roby has to lock down the defensive end. He’s done that really well, and if he can pitch in 8 to 10 points, Nebraska should be in decent shape. The bench is improving. Roby’s playing great defense. Watson and Palmer have to be explosive, especially against a good Northwestern defense.

2. Embarrass Northwestern shooters. The Wildcats are 292nd in the country in effective field goal percentage, and 306th in shooting percentage inside the 3-point line. Nebraska, once upon a time, was the best effective field goal percentage defense in the country. Hold Northwestern to, say, about 25 percent, and Nebraska cruises.

3. Don’t lose this momentum. Don’t lose this hope. Nebraska has a chance to go on a run here, and a loss derails the season. A loss, and you might as well kiss every chance for a postseason goodbye, and watch as this thing spirals way out of control. Nebraska has to hang onto this little bit of hope for as long as it can.

Prediction

Vegas: Nebraska is a 5.5-point favorite.

KenPom: Nebraska wins, 67-60.

Chris Heady’s take: Northwestern is Nebraska’s easiest remaining game. Penn State has a worse record, but road games anywhere are tough. This is a Take Care of Business game. Don’t need to do anything special against Northwestern. If Nebraska just plays its game, and limits scoring droughts, this should be a relatively painless win. Nebraska 65, Northwestern 55.

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Chris Heady covers Husker football and is the Nebraska men's basketball beat writer. He started at The World-Herald in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @heady_chris. Email: chris.heady@owh.com.

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