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Huskers Return Home to Host Wisconsin | Rural Radio Network

Huskers Return Home to Host Wisconsin

Huskers Return Home to Host Wisconsin
Isaac Copeland and the Huskers host Wisconsin on Tuesday evening. Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Nebraska returns home for the first time in 2018, as the Huskers host the Wisconsin Badgers Tuesday evening.

Tipoff from Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 6:30 p.m. mountain time.

The matchup between the Huskers and Badgers will be televised nationally on BTN with Kevin Kugler and Robbie Hummel on the call. The game is also available on BTN.com, BTN2Go and the Fox Sports Go app.
Fans can follow all of the action across the state of Nebraska on the IMG Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call. The game will also be available on Huskers.com, on the Huskers app, on TuneIn Radio and on the TuneIn Radio app. The radio broadcast begins one hour prior to tipoff.

Nebraska (11-6, 2-2 Big Ten) conclude a five-game gauntlet against Big Ten teams that reached the NCAA Tournament with Tuesday’s game against the Badgers. The Huskers are coming off a 74-62 loss at No. 13 Purdue on Saturday. Nebraska held the Boilermakers to just 44 percent shooting after they entered the game 18th nationally in field goal percentage and 16th in scoring offense. The Huskers were hurt by 16 turnovers – the Huskers’ highest total in over a month – which led to 19 Purdue points.

Despite the loss, the Huskers received another strong offensive performance from James Palmer Jr., who finished with a game-high 22 points and seven rebounds. Palmer led the Huskers and paces all Big Ten newcomers in scoring at 15.6 points per game. The 6-foot-6 guard has been in double figures in 16 of Nebraska’s 17 contests and averaged 20.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in NU’s two games last week.

Wisconsin (9-8, 2-2 Big Ten) has battled numerous injuries during the first half of the season and comes off a four-point loss to Rutgers on Saturday. The Badgers feature one of the Big Ten’s top players in junior forward Ethan Happ, who averages 16.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, leading Wisconsin in all three categories. Happ had 28 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in their win over Indiana last week.

OPENING NUMBER
5 – James Palmer Jr. is one of five Big Ten players to get to the free throw line at least 100 times as of Sunday’s games. Palmer, who is been to the line 103 times, is second to Maryland’s Anthony Cowan (123) among conference guards.

NUMBERS TO KNOW
1.28 – Nebraska’s assist-to-turnover ratio which is on pace to be NU’s best in more than 20 years. No. Year Asst.-to-TO ratio

5.2 – Nebraska is one of the most improved 3-point shooting teams among power conference programs. As of Jan. 7, only four power conference teams have improved their 3-point shooting by at least five percent over last season.

9.9- Anton Gill’s 9.9 points per game leads all Big Ten players who have not started a game and is tied for fourth among all power conference players.

70 – Nebraska is 11-1 when scoring 70 or more points and 0-5 when held to under 70 points.

SCOUTING WISCONSIN
Under third-year coach Greg Gard, the Badgers come to Lincoln with a 9-8 record as they saw their five-game win streak end with a 64-60 loss at Rutgers on Friday. In that game, Brevin Pritzl and Brad Davison led UW with 13 points apiece, while Ethan Happ finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Wisconsin shot just 2-of-13 from 3-point range and committed 14 turnovers in dropping its first game since Dec. 9.

Wisconsin, which replaced four starters from a Sweet 16 squad, have battled through injuries throughout the 2017-18 campaign. Guards D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King are out because of injuries, while only Ethan Happ and Khalil Iverson have started all 17 games. Happ is one of the Big Ten’s top players, as he leads Wisconsin in scoring (16.7 ppg), rebounds (8.4 rpg) and assists (3.2 apg), while freshman Brad Davison averages 11.9 points per game and is shooting 38 percent from 3-point range with a team-high 30 3-pointers.

SERIES HISTORY
Tuesday’s matchup is the 27th meeting between the two programs, and Wisconsin holds a 14-12 all-time lead. The series dates back to the 1903-04 season, as Nebraska won the first meeting, 25-22 over the Badgers in Lincoln before Wisconsin took five of the next six meetings from 1907 to 1955. Nebraska then won eight straight games before the Badgers won the next five meetings, including the first four in Big Ten play, before the Huskers topped the No. 9 Badgers in the final regular-season game in 2013-14.

The Huskers are 2-8 against Wisconsin since joining the Big Ten (1-8 in regular season; 1-0 in Big Ten Tournament), as Wisconsin took a 70-69 overtime decision in Lincoln. Wisconsin has been ranked in either the AP or coaches poll in six of the last seven meetings, including four times in the top-10. This will be the first of two meetings between the two teams, as the Huskers will head to Madison on Jan. 29.

LAST MEETING VS. WISCONSIN
Michael Jacobson hit a 3-pointer with less than a second remaining in regulation to push No. 7 Wisconsin to overtime, but the Badgers held on in the extra frame to defeat the Huskers 70-69, on Feb. 9, 2017.
The two teams traded baskets in overtime with Nebraska (10-14, 4-8) leading 67-64 with 1:44 left, but could not hold on. Bronson Koenig’s 3-pointer off the glass tied the score with 1:27 left, but Tai Webster’s two free throws with 1:17 left gave the Huskers a two-point lead. Wisconsin, which got the ball back with 42 seconds left, had one final chance and would come through, as Nigel Hayes hit a 3-pointer with 18 seconds remaining to give the Badgers the final margin.

Tai Webster led the Huskers with 19 points, while Glynn Watson Jr. chipped in 15 points and Jacobson added 10. Ed Morrow Jr. paced the Big Red with 13 rebounds, while Jordy Tshimanga added a career-high 10 boards.

LAST TIME OUT
James Palmer Jr. had a team-high 22 points and seven rebounds, but Nebraska was unable to overcome an early deficit in falling at No. 13 Purdue, 74-62.
Palmer had a game-high 22 points, including 9-of-10 from the line, and paced the Huskers in rebounds (seven) and assists (three) to lead a pair of Huskers in double figures. Isaac Copeland had 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, but Nebraska fell behind by double figures early in the first half and saw its four-game win streak snapped.

Vincent Edwards led three Boilermakers in double figures with 21 points, including 17 in the first half. Issac Hass added 14 points and six boards while Dakota Mathias added 11 for Purdue (15-2, 4-0 Big Ten), which extended their home win streak to 18 games.

The Boilermakers, who had won their last three games by at least 30 points, were pushed by NU, which was within 52-43 with 9:11 left. Nojel Eastern’s basket started an 11-3 run for Purdue as the hosts extended the margin to 63-46 on a P.J. Thompson 3-pointer with 5:23 left. Nebraska continued to battle, using a 5-0 run to get within 72-59 after Isaac Copeland’s 3-pointer with 1:59 left, but could not get the deficit back to single figures. Nebraska held Purdue to 44 percent shooting, including 6-of-21 from 3-point range, but the Huskers committed 16 turnovers that led to 19 Boilermaker points.

ABOUT NEBRASKA
*-NU comes into Tuesday’s game with an 11-6 record with all six losses coming to teams in the top 60 of the RPI.

*-The Huskers’ 11-6 start is the team’s best record after 17 games since the 2010-11 season when NU had a 13-4 mark.

*-The Huskers are averaging 74.6 points per game entering Tuesday’s contest, the highest scoring mark through 17 games since the 1995-96 team averaged 88.3 points per game in that stretch. The Huskers are 11-1 when scoring at least 70 points, including six games of at least 80 points.

*-Nebraska’s biggest strength has been a balanced attack with three players averaging double figures, led by James Palmer Jr., who averages a team-high 15.6 points per game. He is on track to enjoy one of the top first-year seasons in school history. Of NU’s top three first-year scorers, all are transfers under Tim Miles.

*-Nebraska relies on a pair of transfers in James Palmer Jr. (Miami) and Isaac Copeland (Georgetown), as the pair combines for nearly 28 points per game. Palmer has reached double figures 16 times in 17 contests, including a season-high 25 points against UTSA on Dec. 20, and is third in assists (2.5 apg). Copeland leads the Huskers in rebounding at 6.5 per game and is among the team leaders in scoring (12.4, second) and blocked shots (20, second). Copeland posted his first double-double of the season at Creighton on Dec. 9 with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

*-Nebraska is one of two Big Ten teams (also Purdue) to start the same lineup in every game this season. Last year, Nebraska started six different lineups with no lineup together for more than 10 games.

*-Junior Glynn Watson Jr. is in his third season guiding the Husker offense and is among NU’s leaders in both scoring (12.1 ppg, third), assists (3.4, first) and steals (1.7, first). The 6-foot guard will make his team-high 63rd career start on Tuesday and has a 2.1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio this season. In Big Ten play, Watson is averaging 15.0 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds per game.

*-Nebraska has been getting strong performances from its bench throughout the season, averaging 24.0 points per game, including 28.2 points per game over the last six games. Senior guard Anton Gill tops all Big Ten reserves at 9.9 points per game while sophomore Isaiah Roby averages 6.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

*-Anton Gill ranks fourth among all power conference players who have not started a game in 2017-18 with 9.9 points per game. Gill is averaging 11.4 points per game on 45 percent shooting, including 54 percent from 3-point range, during the Huskers’ four-game win streak.

*-One of the main emphasis for Tim Miles and his staff in the offseason was improving the Huskers’ 3-point efforts on both ends of the court. Last year, NU was in 300th or worse in both 3-point shooting and 3-point defense. This season, the Huskers are currently in the top six in both 3-point percentage and 3-point defense.  NU has six players with at least 10 3-pointers, and that does not include Jack McVeigh, who was second on the team in 3-pointers last year. In 2016-17, NU had just four players hit 10-or-more 3-pointers in 31 games.

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