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March 8, 2012

Gameday: Nebraska vs. Purdue

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Purdue Boilermakers
Thursday, Mar. 8, 2012 - appx. 7:00 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Purdue (20-11, 10-8 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 1
Last Game: Lost to No. 20 Indiana 85-74
G Lewis Jackson (averaging 10.5 ppg and team-high 4.2 apg) Sr. 5-9 165
G Terone Johnson(scoring 8.4 ppg and 3.2 rpg) So. 6-2 207
G Ryne Smith (averages 9.4 ppg, shooting 43.2% from 3-point range) Sr. 6-3 189
F Robbie Hummel (leads team with 16.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 1.3 bpg) Sr. 6-8 215
F Travis Carroll (averaging just 2.6 ppg and 3.0 rpg) So. 6-9 231

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (12-17, 4-14 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 4
Last Game: Lost to Minnesota 81-69
G Bo Spencer (leads team with 15.1 ppg) Sr. 6-2 196
G Brandon Richardson (had 12 pts., six assts. in 1st meeting with Purdue) Sr. 6-0 190
G Caleb Walker (had six assists in loss to Minnesota) Sr. 6-4 205
G Toney McCray (second on team with 9.8 ppg and 4.5 rpg) Jr. 6-10 235
F Brandon Ubel (leads team with 5.4 rebounds per game) Jr. 6-10 235

Contest shots

In Nebraska's first meeting with Purdue on Feb. 22, the Huskers came into the game with the plan of defending the post with a zone defense and forcing the Boilermakers to beat them with perimeter shots. The only problem with that is that's exactly what Purdue thrives on, and it had no problem shooting right over NU's defense en route to an 18-point victory. The Boilermakers have the same problems with size in the post as Nebraska, so the Huskers don't need to be so concerned with keeping them out of the lane as they would other opponents. The Huskers have to get out and contest shots on D, otherwise look for a repeat performance if Purdue gets hot.
Shut down Hummel

It's no secret that Purdue's entire team revolves around the play of senior forward Robbie Hummel, and Nebraska learned that the hard way back in West Lafayette, Ind., two weeks ago. The Huskers really never stood a chance when Hummel got off to a hot start and never looked back, as he finished the night with a season-high 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field. Hummel needs to be priority No. 1 for NU on defense, and it should do all it can to make sure anyone takes a shot besides one of the top scorers in the Big Ten Conference.
It starts now

For essentially the entire second half of the season, Nebraska's goal has been to try and build up some momentum going into the Big Ten Tournament to try and make a run to the post-season. Well, after four straight losses and dropping eight of their final nine games, the Huskers have as little momentum as any team in the conference at this point. Even so, any hope Nebraska has of keeping its season going starts tonight. As bad has things have gone for the Huskers this year, the fact remains that they control their own destiny the rest of the way.

Head coach Doc Sadler on what lies ahead for Nebraska:

"All we can do is give ourselves the best opportunity on Thursday night to play the best game we've played all season and see what happens. The reality is the last couple weeks we've known that probably this was going to be the only way we were going to have a chance to make the tournament. It does give us a chance, and we're looking forward to coming to Indianapolis."
Sadler on the challenge the Huskers face in the Big Ten Tournament:

"Is it going to be easy? No, it's not going to be easy, but at the same time it does give us a chance. At least now we know it's pretty much if you don't win now - as I tell our guys all the time - the end is here. So we have nothing to hold back on. Let's go give the best we can and see what happens."

Purdue 77-60

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