The Huskers were able to survive and advance as they took down the #12 seeded Rutgers Scarlett Knights 68-61. Maybe the third time will be the charm for Nebraska as the #13 seeded Huskers will battle the #5 seeded Maryland Terrapins in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Terrapins have had the Big Red’s number as they have beat Nebraska twice this season once on January 2nd 74-72, then again on February 6th, 60-45.
Maryland comes into this one as they are #5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and also the Terrapins are rated #21 in the nation. Maryland though has been struggling a little bit as they have dropped two of their last three. The most recent contest for them though was a win over a strong Minnesota team, 69-60. The major statistic for this team is their ability to rebound. They pull down 39 per game and there’s a pair of who do the majority of damage on the glass.
The leader of this bunch is sophomore Bruno Fernando as he is their second leading scorer at 14 points per game but his effect on the glass is the focal point. Fernando is snarring 11 rebounds per game for the Terrapins. Fernando has held true to his double-double average against the Huskers as he’s been producing about 16 points and 18 rebounds. His fellow frontcourt member is freshman Jalen Smith. Smith is scoring 12 points per game and seven rebounds. He has had outstanding numbers against the Huskers this season as he is averaging 17 points and about eight rebounds per game. These two will be a handful for the Big Red.
For Nebraska, last night’s win was electric. Every time it looked like Rutgers was going to pull away, the Huskers countered with a run of their own. The big run was in the final minutes when they outscored Rutgers 15-2 to close the game. Senior James Palmer Jr. had a fantastic game with 34 points on 9-19 shooting from the field and 14-22 from the charity stripe. You’d like to see those free throw numbers be a little better, but give Palmer Jr. a ton of credit, he played big in this one. Fellow senior Glynn Watson Jr. had a decent output at 11 points, but the Huskers will need him to shoot better in this one.
The X-Factors in this one are senior Tanner Borchardt and junior Isaiah Roby. Borchardt will have the task of hanging with Bruno Fernando as he will need to box him out every single time. Roby had 10 points last night but that was on 3-12 shooting. Nebraska will need a 15 point and 10 rebound type of game from him. Roby will need to control the glass and use his athleticism. Also for this duo, they absolutely have to stay out of foul trouble as the Huskers have no depth with just three guys available off the bench.
The Huskers will look to stay alive in the Big Ten Tournament and extend their winning streak to three games, but it’s going to take some magic from the Big Red to continue their season. Pregame for this contest between Nebraska and Maryland will begin at 12:30 P.M. on KAMI Country Legends, FM 92.7, 100.1, and on the AM 1580.