Saturday’s loss to Illinois, another headscratcher for Nebraska as they fell by a final count of 71-64. This was a team that was once a four-seed in the NCAA Tournament, now trying to tread water late in the season, with another daunting task ahead of them tonight as the 24th ranked team in the nation, Maryland comes to town. Earlier in the season, these two teams played and it was the Terrapins that came away with the victory 74-72, but tonight the Huskers host Maryland, so that will play a factor as well. This may be the last chance for Nebraska to salvage the season and make a run at a tournament bid, but tonight is a must-win for the Big Red.
Maryland is having a nice season all-around averaging 74 points per game, shooting 47% from the field, and allowing 66 points per contest as well. Nebraska will have to deal with a whole lot of size from this squad. The headliner might be junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. at 17 points per contest, but the 6’10 sophomore Bruno Fernando and the 6’10 freshman Jalen Smith are the players Nebraska will struggle with most.
First, for Fernando, he is scoring 15 points per game, grabbing 10 rebounds, and shooting 67% from the field. It will be quite the matchup for Roby and Borchardt to deal with and the best thing a team can do is to try and make those shots difficult. Smith is having a fantastic year as well, scoring 12 points and snaring seven rebounds per game as well.
For Nebraska, it’s plain and simple, you have to win this ball game. Not just for a potential Tournament bid, but to get back on track. Hosting a top-25 team in the vault is always a good way to get the ground back underneath Nebraska’s feet, but this will be a tough matchup against a quality team.
For Nebraska, it’s two major items that have been hurting them in this five-game losing streak and that’s poor point production and an inability to get key stops. Nebraska had opportunities to get stops at the tail end of the game against Illinois and couldn’t get the job done.
The “Big Three” for Nebraska which consists of junior Isaiah Roby, and seniors Glynn Watson Jr. and James Palmer Jr. combined for 37 points on 12-43 shooting. The point production from those three isn’t too bad, but the efficiency needs to improve for Nebraska to capture some victories. A bright spot is that Tanner Borchardt had 12 points and 18 rebounds, showing that he can make a big impact for NU. It will continue to be a committee effort for Nebraska if they want to find success.
Nebraska and Maryland will tip-off at 6:00 P.M. on KRVN.