Who: Nebraska (14-8, 5-4 Big Ten) @ Rutgers (12-9, 2-6 Big Ten)
Where: Rutgers Athletic Center, Piscataway, N.J.
When: 6 p.m.
Radio/TV: Big Ten Network, KLIN (Pregame at 5:04 p.m.)
Tipping Points: Someone besides Palmer do something
Obviously, James Palmer was fantastic on Monday night with a career-high 34 points, but no other Husker had more than eight points Nebraska’s four guards (Watson, Gill, Allen, Taylor) combined had 11 total points against Ohio State.
Palmer will always be the high-volume shooter and scorer that he is, but guys like Watson, Copeland, Roby, Gill, anyone, need to get going offensively. When one player is scoring 58 percent of your points in a game, that’s usually not a winning formula.
Make Watson Great Again
On that note, Glynn Watson has to return to form. In his last three games combined, Watson has shot 5-for-21 from the floor and has scored a combined 21 points. In Nebraska’s last nine games, dating back to Delaware State on Dec. 22, Watson has only scored in double digits twice (19 @ Northwestern, 21 @ Penn State). Over the last nine games, Watson has shot 22.3 percent from the field.
Tim Miles has said it, and we’ve seen it time and again; Watson can be a first-team All-Big Ten guard at his best. Nebraska needs him to score consistently night in and night out if they hope to both make a run in the Big Ten tournament, and qualify for the NCAA tournament.
Hold the Line
Nebraska’s defense has been noticeably aggressive and energetic lately. The Huskers have held their opponents to less than 65 points in four of the last five games.
More impressively, Nebraska’s three-point percentage defense now ranks first in the Big Ten at 30.8 percent. Conversely, the Scarlet Knights’ three-point percentage on offense ranks last in the Big Ten at 30.1 percent.
The Huskers will have to work hard to establish their own offense. Rutgers ranks first in the conference in scoring defense (62.1 ppg) and their three-point percentage defense ranks second (31.2 percent) right behind the Big Red.
Expect it to be a low-scoring, and at times, rocky game. Much like what we saw for long stretches against Ohio State. But, if Nebraska continues doing what they’re doing on defense, and the points come from more than one player, they should be able to sneak out with a win.
Nebraska 66 Rutgers 58
You can contact Tommy at 402-840-5226, or you can follow him on Twitter @Tommy_KLIN.