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Nebraska Basketball: Preview and prediction for Ohio State



Nebraska basketball
Jan 10, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Fred Hoiberg points to the team in the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini in the first half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a preview and prediction for Nebraska basketball against Ohio State.

In a battle of teams in desperation mode, Nebraska basketball will host Ohio State on Wednesday night (6 PM CST) at the Vault in a game that is one the Huskers need to keep their hopes of a postseason tournament alive.

The Buckeyes are a talented team. Yet, they have lost four straight games and are still working one of their key players back in the mix in Zed Key.

Nebraska basketball will be without a key cog in Juwan Gary, although Sam Griesel is expected to play tonight. He was out for the game against Purdue on Saturday (73-55 loss). The Buckeyes are a six-point favorite.

Gary is an especially big loss against Ohio State. Not only are the Buckeyes a really good rebounding team, but 6-foot-6 freshman Brice Sensabaugh (16.3 ppg) would have been a great candidate for Gary to guard.

That’s one thing that made him so valuable. He’s a solid rebounder. He can defend multiple positions and he’s a solid 3-point shooter, as well as someone who can create his own look.

Now, Nebraska basketball is missing that versatile piece. Wilhelm Breidenbach, his replacement, will need to play much better at least as he scored zero points in 23 minutes starting for Gary.

Breidenbach had played well prior to the Purdue game and averaged better than eight points his the previous six games. Without Gary though, Nebraska struggled against Illinois and was held to 55 points against Purdue.

Ohio State has the 29th-best 3-point defense in the country and also ranks 45th in overall 2-point percentage defense as well as 77th in 2-point percentage defense. Nebraska will have to find a way to score the ball which has been a struggle.

The Huskers average just 66 points per game (312th), while also ranking outside the top 200 in field-goal percentage and is 332nd in 3-point shooting percentage.

Prediction: Frankly, without Gary, this team just isn’t the same. Derrick Walker is going to score. That’s something you can always count on and with Griesel back, Nebraska basketball should have a solid shot to cover the spread.

Yet, I don’t see the win happening. You can bet on a strong effort. To win, Nebraska needs CJ Wilcher and Keisei Tominaga to hit multiple threes. Gary was a key X-factor and against a team like Ohio State, I see his absence being too much to overcome so I’m taking the Buckeyes to win 64-59.

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Chris has worked in sports journalism since 2005 writing for multiple newspapers and websites such as the Bleacher Report and Fansided before starting Husker Big Red, A fan site for hardcore followers of the #Huskers offering articles, podcasts, videos and more exclusive content on all things Nebraska