When: 7:45 p.m. on Saturday
Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena
Radio: 590 AM (Omaha) 1400 AM (Lincoln)
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.
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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6--6, 218 | Sophomore | Guard | Bolingbrook, Ill.
Akenten clocked just 21 minutes his freshman year and shot 2 for 9 from the floor, eight of those nine shots coming from behind the arc. Akenten said he was “humbled” by last season, and he’ll get a shot this year to stay on the floor for much, much longer than 21 minutes.
6--1, 184 | Sophomore | Guard | Raleigh, N.C.
Nebraska’s fifth starter, Allen will have plenty of opportunity to prove he deserves serious playing time. Allen is Nebraska’s best bet for a sharp-shooter, and the Huskers’ season may depend on Allen’s ability to stretch the floor and give Nebraska a fifth weapon to add to the “Fab Four.”
6--8, 250 | Senior | Forward | Gothenburg, Neb.
Borchardt cut some weight and it proved beneficial in the closed scrimmage against Iowa State. He hit four of his five shots filling in for Isaiah Roby while he was in foul trouble. That’ll be Borchardt’s main role this year — filling in for Roby and Isaac Copeland when they’re in foul trouble or need a rest.
KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD-HERALD
6-4, 180 | Junior | Guard | Orange, N.J.
Burke is a transfer from Robert Morris who has to sit out this season. He’s on deck to be Nebraska’s next star.
6-9, 225 | Senior | Forward | Raleigh, N.C.
A key cog in the Nebraska machine, Copeland will be NU’s stretch-four. He’s playing better than any time in his career, Tim Miles said. Copeland was honorable mention All-Big Ten last season with 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
6-1, 200 | Freshman | Guard | Omaha
Costello is a walk-on from Omaha and won the Class B state title in 2017 with Elkhorn South. He averaged 18.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
6-6, 215 | Freshman | Forward | St. Louis, Mo.
Davis is out this season after tearing his Achilles during fall practice.
6-6, 205 | Freshman | Guard | Frederick, Md.
Harris is the true freshman most likely to immediately contribute this season. Harris can defend positions one through four. His jumper will determine how much he see’s the floor.
6-10, 215 | Freshman | Forward | Springfield, Neb.
Heiman is Nebraska’s one in-state scholarship freshman. He’s Nebraska’s first in-state high school enrollee since 2001. As a four-year starter at Platteview, Heiman scored 1,315 points, racked up 883 rebounds and blocked 523 shots.
6-6, 207 | Senior | Guard | Upper Marlboro, Md.
Nebraska’s best player in years, Palmer is a returning All-Big Ten first-team guard. The senior sniffed the NBA but decided to return for one more year. He averaged 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists as a junior.
6-9, 230 pounds | Junior | Forward | Dixon, Illinois
Roby is a key cog in Nebraska's machine. The junior recorded a double double in Nebraska's exhibition and could do that consistently this season for the Huskers. The owner of a 7-foot-1 wingspan, he’s a potential All-Big Ten player.
6-6, 206 | Sophomore | Guard | Reykjavik, Iceland
Thorbjarnarson appeared in nine games as a freshman and was 3 for 7 from the floor. He’ll likely play cleanup duty this year and will look to contribute more as a junior and senior.
6-3, 194 | Junior | Guard | Omaha
Trueblood has appeared in 17 games in his two seasons on the team. The backup point guard won’t be a huge factor this season.
6-3, 180 | Senior | Guard | Bellwood, Ill.
The final of the "Fab Four," Watson is a four-year starter and Tim Miles’ eyes and ears on the court. Watson’s production dropped a bit as a junior, averaging 10.5 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Miles is hoping Watson has a year more like his sophomore season, when he scored 13 a game and shot nearly 40 percent from 3-point range.