Nebraska basketball had another disappointing showing on the road and here are three takeaways for the Huskers.
It was a perfect storm of bad for Nebraska basketball on Wednesday night. They lost the 3-point battle, the turnover battle, and the rebounding battle in an 80-68 defeat on the road.
The Huskers are now 0-7 in the Big Ten this season on the road. That’s something they’ll probably have to resolve if they are going to make the NCAA tournament. But after three games in less than a week, a letdown wasn’t all that surprising.
Northwestern is an NCAA tournament team and the Wildcats were a 5.5-point favorite. I’ll admit I expected more from the Huskers and hoped the game against Illinois was a sign of things to come. Instead, maybe it was a one-time thing, and here are three takeaways.
The lineup change didn’t work
No matter how you slice it, Fred Hoiberg’s decision to start Josiah Allick, Rienk Mast, Juwan Gary, Brice Williams, and Keisei Tominaga backfired. The Huskers struggled with turnovers, didn’t shoot the ball well from 3-point range, and didn’t take advantage of their size inside — at all.
Jamarques Lawrence scored 12 points and dished out two assists coming off the bench. His defensive presence was also missed. Allick notched zero points, rebounds, or assists in 15 minutes.
Hindsight is 20/20 but this was probably a mistake and didn’t do much to help the 3-point defense which was shredded once again.
Rienk Mast had a rough night
One of the pre-game keys was feeding the ball to Rienk Mast. Unfortunately, it wasn’t his night. The big man finished with just eight points total on a 2-for-8 effort from the field.
Mast did make two triples but after averaging 20 points in his last four games, the Huskers needed more than eight points to win against Northwestern on the road.
Tominaga was also disappointing and finished with 11 points but didn’t make a single 3-pointer. Nebraska basketball finished with just five total, which again, wasn’t good enough.
Back to the Vault
Road games are hard to win in the Big Ten. There’s a reason Northwestern was a quadrant-1 opportunity for Nebraska. They were 5.5-point underdogs in both games so a win would have been nice, but not like it was expected.
What’s important now is holding serve at home. Michigan comes to the Vault on Saturday fresh off its best win of the season against 11th-ranked Wisconsin. Then, the Huskers have a home game against Rutgers.
Win both, and Nebraska will be just fine. Lose one, and the Huskers are probably back on the bubble (among the last four teams in) so while this loss hurts, it won’t matter if Nebraska can hold serve at home.
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