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January 15, 2012

Gameday: Nebraska vs. Wisconsin

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012 - 5:06 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Wisconsin (13-5, 2-3 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated Purdue 67-62
G Josh Gasser (shooting 50 percent from 3-point range this season) So. 6-3 190
G Jordan Taylor (leads team with 13.5 points per game) Sr. 6-1 195
F Jared Berggren (second-leading scorer at 11.0 ppg with 1.6 blocks per game) Jr. 6-10 235
F Mike Bruesewitz (averaging 5.1 ppg rebounds per game) Jr. 6-6 222
F Ryan Evans (leading rebounder at 6.7 rpg, averaging 9.9 ppg) Jr. 6-6 210

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (9-7, 1-4 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated Penn State 70-58
G Bo Spencer (led NU with 19 points in win over Penn State) Sr. 6-2 196
G Brandon Richardson (needs 5 steals to break into NU career top 10) Sr. 6-0 190
G Caleb Walker (had 12 points against Penn State) Sr. 6-4 205
G Toney McCray (averaging 10.6 ppg and 4.8 rpg this season) Jr. 6-10 235
F Brandon Ubel (leads team with 5.6 rebounds per game) Jr. 6-10 235

Defend the 3

The scouting report on Wisconsin is about as simple as any team in the country, but by no means does that make the Badgers easy to stop. Along with boasting one of the best defensive teams in all of college basketball, Wisconsin is as good as anyone when it comes to 3-point shooting. Looking back on the season so far, especially since the start of Big Ten Conference play, the Badgers have been at their best when they get hot from behind arc and at their worst when they are cold. In UW's win over Nebraska back on Dec. 27, it made 11 3-pointers to just three by the Huskers, with many of those coming in the final seconds of the shot clock. The Huskers have to find a way to defend the perimeter and contest every single 3-point shot by the Badgers to keep them out of a rhythm.
Pick up the pace

One of the biggest self criticisms Nebraska had from its first meeting with Wisconsin was it fell into the Badgers' slow tempo far too easily. The Huskers walked the ball up the court on nearly every possession, playing right into UW's plan of shortening the game keeping things in the half court. Nebraska must find a way to get the transition game going and take the ball to the basket. That will be easier said than done because of the way Wisconsin attacks the boards and makes it a point to take away the outlet pass on possession changes. Still, the Huskers can't fall into a jump shooting contest with the Badgers again, because they'll lose that kind of game every time.
Get the guards involved

While Nebraska's offense has taken a big step forward over the past two games since the return of junior center Jorge Brian Diaz, it needs to be able to get much more production from its backcourt against Wisconsin this time around. In the first meeting, NU's guards shot a combined 12-of-41 for a total of 32 points, with 16 of those coming from senior Toney McCray. The Huskers have to get more penetration and efficiency out of its guards if its going to pick up the pace and attack the Badgers offensively. Even if they have another off day shooting, it would be huge if NU's backcourt could get to the rim and draw fouls, as Wisconsin's depth isn't all that great past its top six or seven players.

Head coach Doc Sadler on Nebraska keeping up the momentum following its first Big Ten victory:

"They understand if we're going to get done what we're going to get done, No. 1, you've got to win some road games, especially after you've lost two homes games. But I think this team's going to continue to get better."
Senior guard Toney McCray on getting Jorge Brian Diaz and Dylan Talley back in the lineup:

"It's huge for us. We all know Diaz and his scoring ability, and he gives us another low-post presence. And Dylan, he can shoot it with anybody. That helps us out tremendously and gives us more depth out there so guys can be fresh and won't be wearing themselves down the last five minutes of the game. We just feel kind if like a different team with them back out there."

Wisconsin 68-61

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