Nebraska Basketball: B1G Ten, Round 1 Preview for the Huskers


Had you asked Nebraska basketball fans what they thought the B1G Ten tournament would mean going into this season most would have said “seeding for the NCAA tournament and a shot at the B1G Ten championship.”

Feb 19, 2015; College Park, MD, USA; Nebraska Huskers forward Shavon Shields (31) drives for a basket defended by Maryland Terrapins forward Jake Layman (10) at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Fast forward to March 11, and Nebraska sits at 13-17 overall, well out of any postseason contention. The only way for the Huskers to sneak into either the NIT or NCAA tournament? A massive run through Chicago by winning 5 games in 5 days. I won’t say the task is impossible, but it very well may be.

Mar 21, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers guard/forward Shavon Shields (31) and guard/forward Terran Petteway (5) and forward Walter Pitchford (35) react in the second half of a men

NU comes into the tournament on an 8 game losing streak starting at Penn State, and ending with the regular season finale at home against Maryland. During that time the Huskers topped 60 points just twice and one of those games they scored 61.

First up in the B1G Ten tournament is the Penn State Nittany Lions who are coming off of a road victory at Minnesota. Of note, because PSU won that game it actually gave Nebraska a chance to play themselves out of the first round game against Maryland, but the 3 point home loss solidified NU’s match-up against PSU.

Terran Petteway leads all Husker scorers with 17.8 points per game while Shavon Shields adds 15.3. Both will need to be on top of their game as they’ll go up against scoring machine DJ Newbill. Newbill is scoring 20.7 PPG while no one else on the Lions’ squad is averaging more than 10.

The last time these two teams met PSU won 56-43. Petteway and Shields combined for 25 of the 43 Husker points. PSU had three double digit scorers, 14 from Geno Thorpe, 11 from Brandon Taylor and 11 from the aforementioned D.J. Newbill.

Feb 10, 2015; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Terran Petteway (5) and guard Shavon Shields (31) react after a foul during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers in the second half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Wisconsin won 65-55. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

For the Huskers to get past PSU they’ll need to limit Newbill while finding someway to get a third scorer going behind Shields and Petteway.

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Another key will be for the Huskers to drive the lane. NU had success when going to the basket against Maryland. Unsurprisingly, NU did not have success shooting the three ball. They were only two from 14. This has been an ongoing struggle for the Huskers as they’re shooting just 28.3% on the season. Petteway, in particular has struggled. Against Maryland he was 1/6 and overall on the season he is 64/210. The volume of threes taken (and missed) has killed many a Nebraska possession.

Game one of the Huskers’ B1G Ten tournament begins at 3:30 pm central time on ESPN2/WatchESPN. GO BIG RED!!!