Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Can Northwestern continue its fun stretch of hoops facing the Huskers, or will they crush all the hope like we all expect? Here's a look at what to expect Saturday as the Wildcats head to Lincoln:
It's Northwestern's second-ever chance to dance with Nebrasketball! The Wildcats - coming off their best three-game stretch of the year - head to Lincoln with hopes of keeping all right in the world of NU basketball, as well as the world if Northwestern sports teams in general winning things in Lincoln. Let's talk about it!
Are they good?: Not Big Ten good, no. They're 172 on Kenpom and their only conference win thus far is against Penn State. They just lost at home to Illinois by 20, which, transitive property says is great news for Northwestern.
What are they good at?: Confession: I'm a Big Ten basketball junkie, and even I had the heart to sit through Nebrasketball this year. So I have to let Kenpom do the work: they're a pretty decent defensive squad, namely, they grab defensive boards, and they've been holding B1G squads to just a bit over a point a possession for the most part. They also tend not to turn the ball over much - under one in five of their possessions is a turnover of any sort.
What are they bad at?: Well, for starters, they can't shoot: Dylan Talley and Ray Gallegos each shoot a bunch, and neither shoots over 32 percent, which means you're fine with either one gunning.
Who they got?: I'd say the most worrisome player for NU is center Brandon Ubel: he's 6-foot-10, leads the team in two-point attempts, and hits over 80 percent of his free throws.
B1G: I've been waiting all year to watch Andre Almeida. He's Brazilian, but he's farm-strong.
Whither 1-3-1?: We'll see if it's necessary. Nebraska doesn't turn the ball over well a lot, which makes it seem useless, but they also don't shoot particularly well, so they don't murder it. I guess it really depends on how well Alex Olah is doing with Ubel. Keep Michael Turner off him, pls.
Ways to win: This is a team that's seen the Princeton once. Northwestern should ideally be able to win just by running the offense and playing modest defense against a team that struggles to score.
Should NU win?: It's not a lock, but it's certainly what you expect. Northwestern has lost to a worse team on the year - UIC is Kenpom 178 - but Northwestern's been trending up and playing well against better teams, and Nebraska's been trending down, so hopefully those momentums - momenta? - continue tomorrow. A loss would be bad for NU's postseason hopes.