Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-13, 0-8) vs Wisconsin Badgers (15-3, 6-2)
Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022 – 4 p.m. CT
Pinnacle Bank Arena
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Internet: FOX Sports App
1. Knock off the rust
For the second time in as many seasons, Nebraska had multiple games postponed, and its program was put on pause due to a COVID outbreak last week.
The good news was the Huskers were back at full strength on Wednesday and only needed to push back its game vs. Wisconsin from Tuesday night to this afternoon.
Due to Big Ten protocols, NU has been limited in what it could do on the court during its shutdown. The six players who tested positive couldn’t do anything with the team until they were finally cleared to return on Tuesday and Wednesday.
So, once again, Nebraska will have to find a way to knock the rust off against one of the nation’s best in the 11th-ranked Badgers.
The Huskers will need to keep a close eye on how it manages their player workloads, especially those who have only been back on the court for a few days.
2. Be disruptive, but careful
One of the things that makes Wisconsin so tough to play is that it rarely ever makes mistakes.
Not only do the Badgers rank among the national leaders in adjusted offensive efficiency (28th, 113.1), they’re also as good as any team in the country at taking care of the basketball.
Led by former Bellevue (Neb.) West standout Chucky Hepburn and fifth-year senior Brad Davison, UW ranks second nationally in offensive turnover percentage (12.5) and third in offensive steal percentage (6.2).
One of Nebraska’s best strengths defensively is creating turnovers with on-ball pressure. Today, the key will be how the Huskers can disrupt Wisconsin’s offense against guards that don’t give the ball away.
The Huskers have to be aggressive and throw the Badgers’ offense out of rhythm, but they also can’t put themselves in compromising positions and leave UW with easy scoring opportunities.
3. Slown down Johnny Davis
According to Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg, there isn’t a more improved player in all of college basketball than Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis.
The 6-foot-5 sophomore guard’s numbers this season certainly back up that claim.
After averaging 7.0 points and 4.1 rebounds off the bench last year as a true freshman, Davis has exploded onto the scene and is now one of the frontrunners for National Player of the Year.
Davis comes into today’s game as the Big Ten’s second-leading scorer at 22.3 points per game and ranks 10th with 7.3 rebounds per contest. He also leads the Badgers in both assists (2.7) and steals (1.4).
He is the one who makes UW’s offense go, and he needs to be the focal point of everything Nebraska does defensively at all times.
Davis has scored at least 20 points in 11 of UW’s 16 games this season, but he’s also taken a lot of shots to get there. Davis has attempted 282 field goals (17.6 per game), 82 more than any other Badger.
Wisconsin 76, Nebraska 67
Robin’s season record: 16-3
vs. the spread: 12-7