Mascot: Willie the Wildcat
Last time out: Beat Maryland
Point Spread: Nebraska by 1.5
Typical Rotation Depth: 7
KenPom rank: 59
- It's alumni weekend and specifically Nebraska is honoring the 1993-94 Big Eight Tournament Champion team including a returning Danny Nee. Nebraska expects around 64 alumni of players and staff to be present dating from Lloyd Castner, a student manager for Jerry Bush from 1954-57, to Derrick Walker, class of 2023
- Fred Hoiberg is 0-7 vs Northwestern at Nebraska and the Huskers haven't beaten the Wildcats since 2019
- Northwestern ranks 337th in bench minutes as they have 4 starters who average over 30+ minutes per game
- Nebraska gutted out a 70-66 OT win vs Maryland during last season's alumni weekend game
- There is supposed to be a football player dunk contest around 12:45 today
KenPom most used lineups
Player to watch: Boo Buie
5th year starting PG Boo Buie was one of the main catalyst behind Northwestern's surprising run to the NCAA tournament last season and continues to play at a high level, leading the 'Cats in scoring and assists. If Nebraska finds themselves in a close game at the end, NW will be at the advantage simply because they have arguably the best PG in the conference.
Player to watch: Ty Berry
Northwestern isn't quite the defensive team they rolled out last season with Chase Audige graduating but have increased their offensive output in part due to Berry finding his shooting stroke back. After a 38.3% 3pt success two years ago, Berry struggle last season, shooting 29.1% from 3. This season he's hitting a career high 43.3% from 3 and 52.7% from 2.
Player to watch: Brooks Barnhizer
Barnhizer is Northwestern's glue guy where his most important contribution is grabbing rebounds for a Northwestern team that is one of the worst in the conference at this statistic. Barnhizer will add some rim protection along with competent shooting ability.
Player to watch: Ryan Langborg
The Princeton transfer is another high level 3pt shooter for the Wildcats and is currently shooting 37.5% from 3.
Others to watch
Matthew Nicholson might be the most noticeable player on the court due to his unmissable stature. He's NW's best rim protector and he almost always makes the right plays. For the last few games 6'10" 255# Luke Hunger has been getting the start over Nicholson, presumably because he allows the 'Cats to play 5 out. Both centers tend to be foul prone. 6'7" forward Nick Martinelli averages 20 minutes of the bench where he brings rebounding and inside scoring.
UNL Game Notes
Will update if needed when the B1G releases their injury
5 Ahron Ulis 6-3 190 lbs Junior - Likely out for the season
15 Blaise Keita 6-11 257 lbs Junior - Ongoing ankle injury recovery
Day to Day
4 Juwan Gary 6-6 221 lbs Junior
Possible starters for Nebraska
10 Jamarques Lawrence 6-3 183 lbs Sophomore
30 Keisei Tominaga 6-2 179 lbs Senior
3 Brice Williams 6-7 213 lbs Junior
53 Josiah Allick 6-8 231 lbs Senior
51 Rienk Mast 6-10 248 lbs Junior
0 C.J. Wilcher 6-5 214 lbs Junior
9 Jarron Coleman 6-5 213 lbs Senior
1 Sam Hoiberg 6-0 183 lbs Sophomore
11 Eli Rice 6-8 213 lbs Freshman
21 Matar Diop 6-10 213 lbs Freshman
35 Henry Burt 6-7 216 lbs RS Freshman
2 Ramel Lloyd Jr. 6-6 210 lbs RS Freshman
31 Cale Jacobsen 6-4 200 lbs RS Freshman
24 Jeffrey Grace III 6-3 197 lbs Sophomore
Nebraska comes into this home game after a two game road skid that finds them without the services of Juwan Gary at the moment. While it seemed that Gary might have endured yet another season ending injury in Piscataway, it turns out the diagnosis is a calf strain. While you never want to be without the services of your starting 4 man, this Northwestern team is one of the better conference opponents to face in that scenario. The Wildcats aren't a very good rebounding team, they play at one of the slower paces in the country, and they're unlikely to get the Huskers into a ton of foul trouble. Anything helps as the Huskers try to notch another conference win.
As bad as Nebraska's defensive effort has been in conference play, it's Northwestern that ranks last in conference defensive efficiency. When you pair these numbers with how well both teams can shoot, any outcome is on the table today. For Nebraska the big key will be holding on to the ball as the Wildcats are a sneaky ball-hawking squad. This game also represents one of the rare games where a 'referee clown show' would benefit Nebraska as the Huskers have the bench depth advantage. Speaking of depth, how will Eli Rice and/or Matar Diap perform as the two players potentially in the rotation to fill in for Gary? FWIW freshmen tend to play better at home.
While you like the chance of winning this game it's worth noting that Nebraska has never defeated a Northwestern team with Boo Buie.
Prediction: Nebraska 76 - Northwestern 72