On Wednesday night, the Huskers beat Butler in a tightly contested battle 80-76. That was the first time Nebraska had won an NIT game since 2008 when they beat Charlotte 67-48. Tonight, they look to get a second-round victory in the NIT in 15 years and the Huskers though will face the #1 Seeded TCU Horned Frogs on their home court. The #4 seeded Huskers come into Fort Worth after the Horned Frogs took down Sam Houston State 82-69 a game in which TCU trailed by double-digits in the first half, but came storming back and took complete control.
This Horned Frog team was one that many thought would be in the NCAA Tournament this season, but with a few key losses throughout the season including a quarterfinal loss to the #1 team in the Big 12 Kansas State, they fell to the NIT. TCU posts a record of 21-13 on the year and they have some really solid offensive firepower. They are averaging 74 points per game, 46% shooting, and they are dishing out 16 assists per game as well.
This team has an extremely balanced group of scorers as they have four players scoring in double figures. Leading the way is junior Desmond Bane. The junior guard is averaging 15 points per game, six rebounds, and two assists. Bane does a great job of controlling the game as he makes an impact in many areas. Fellow backcourt mate Alex Robinson will be key in this ball game as well. The 6’1 senior is a fantastic point guard as he scores 13 points per game and dishes out 7 assists per game. Limiting the number of points he contributes on will be key for the Huskers to have success in this contest. Kouat Noi will be another player on offense to watch as he is scoring 14 points per game. The sophomore though isn’t shooting a great percentage from the floor, as it takes him a lot of shots to get those points. The final Horned Frog that is scoring in double figures is the big man in the middle, 6’8 senior JD Miller. Miller is having a really nice final season as a member of the TCU Basketball team as he is scoring 11 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
For Nebraska, the Butler victory was one that took a lot of grit and determination. The Bulldogs came out firing on all cylinders, especially from three-point range. The Huskers found themselves down by a score of 14-2 but then went on on a 29-16 run to close the half and lead 31-30. A strong second half from Nebraska, specifically on the offensive end, allowed the Big Red to get the win.
This game was dominated by junior Isaiah Roby. He had 28 points on 9-12 shooting from the field and 9-10 from the free throw line. He also pulled down eight rebounds. Husker fans saw how truly talented Roby is and that game was a breakout one for sure. James Palmer Jr. had the quietest 23 point game that I have ever seen. The senior was only 7-18 from the field, but he picked his spots beautifully and got buckets when Roby was double-teamed. Fellow senior Glynn Watson Jr. was 4-8 from the field and 3-5 from three-point range as he scored 17 points. The “Big Three” played extremely well and will need to keep it up through the NIT. The X-Factor for this group is senior Johnny Trueblood. Trueblood is a stat sheet stuffer as he scored six points, had seven rebounds, and dished out five assists as well. The Huskers were also +6 when he was on the floor. That’s a big stat to determine wins and losses.
The Huskers will try to force a bit of an upset in Fort Worth tonight and advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT for the first time in 22 years. Pregame starts at 7:30 P.M. and tip-off is at 8:30 P.M. on 880 KRVN and 106.9 FM.