There’s a lot at stake tonight as the 13-4 Nebraska Cornhuskers host the 6th ranked team in the nation, the 15-2 Michigan State Spartans. This win would catapult Nebraska into the top-25 polls, it would provide a clear cut quad-1 win which is important in getting to the NCAA Tournament, and finally, this would be the 21st straight win in Pinnacle Bank Arena. So yeah, tonight’s kind of a big deal and that home crowd will be fired up for this marquee matchup.
Head-to-head, there are similarities, but there are advantages for each team. First, for the similarities, each team has a high powered offense as Michigan State averages 85 points per game and Nebraska is scoring 79 points. In field goal percentage, the Spartans are at 51% and Nebraska shoots at a 47% clip. For the advanatges, the clear one for Michigan State is size and rebounding. Michigan State is pulling down 44 rebounds per game which is fourth in the nation and as we have seen, Nebraska struggles in that aspect. The advantage for Nebraska is quickness and athleticism. Nebraska will have to get out and run on this tough Spartan team.
Michigan State’s most recent game was a win over Penn State on Sunday as the final score read 71-56. For the Spartans, it’s a trio of juniors that do the damage. Cassius Winston is the crafty point guard who leads the team in scoring at 18 points per night and assists at seven. Then it’s post-player Nick Ward at 6-8 245 pounds as he is averaging 17 points and seven rebounds. The final player is guard Joshua Langford at 15 points per contest. Nebraska will have their hands full when defending this trio.
Nebraska is coming off of an impressive road win over 25th ranked over the Indiana Hoosiers 66-51. Nebraska needed that win in a big way. Nebraska had a nice defensive game allowing just the 51 points. Also, on offense, they shared the ball well as senior Glynn Watson handled the pressure from Indiana well as he scored 15 points. Thomas Allen had a nice game as well scoring 10 points. It’s evident that seniors Issac Copeland Jr. and James Palmer Jr. will play well night in and night out, but the x-factor tonight is Isaiah Roby. He will have his hands full guarding Nick Ward and for Nebraska, Roby will need a 15 points, 10 rebounds type of night for the Huskers.
The Huskers and the Spartans tip-off at 7 P.M. and pregame can be heard on KRVN starting at 6 P.M.