Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Though the road has not been kind to Penn State under Pat Chambers, the Lions will travel to Lincoln ignorantly hopeful of laying the winless streak to rest.
|Who:||Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-12, 2-8)|
|Where:||Bob Devaney Sports Center|
The last meeting between these two Big Ten bottom feeders resulted in Penn State's most 'close-but-no-cigar' moment of the conference slate thus far. The Nittany Lions made just one of six crucial free throws in the dying embers of the game and essentially re-gifted the game to Nebraska after a dubious flagrant foul call against the Huskers. Neither team has done particularly well since that affair, either; Nebrasketball managed a win at home against Northwestern, but has otherwise been a pretty tame opponent for the rest of the conference. Penn State, as you well know, hasn't won a game in over a month.
On paper, these teams are clearly the two worst offensive outfits in the conference. Nebraska posts slightly better numbers than Penn State in offensive efficiency rating (89.0 to 85.1) and effective field goal percentage (43.1% to 39.4%). Neither team is particularly great in any other aspect of the game, so expect another B1G slugfest.
Swingman Shavon Shields absolutely torched the Lions at the BJC in January, scoring a career-high 29 points on 10-11 shooting. The freshman hasn't been able to corral that momentum, posting 24 points total in the four games since then, so another matchup against Penn State may be just what the doctor ordered. Ray Gallegos and Dylan Talley will be there to pick up any slack in the scoring department--the backcourt pairing is averaging 26 ppg combined. Brandon Ubel (11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) anchors the middle for Nebraska. The senior center put up 12 points and 6 boards with an injured arm that kept him out of the starting lineup in the last meeting against PSU.
Pat Chambers has been searching for a third scorer to complement D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall, but the latter failed to produce when an average scoring night might've been good enough to get that elusive first conference win against Purdue. Though he certainly wasn't the only player to put forth a subpar performance, Marshall's uncharacteristic 2-14 shooting effort proved costly as the Lions were stifled by the Boilermakers in the second half, winning comfortably by a score of 58-49. Penn State led the game at half but without a true senior leader or a point guard, protecting any surmountable lead in the Big Ten is going to be a challenge, and it was evident on Tuesday.
Ross Travis will need to continue his good form after he bounced back from an 0-7 game against Iowa with eight points and eight rebounds on Tuesday. The sophomore wasn't settling for jumpshots against Purdue, instead attacking the rim and getting higher percentage looks. If he reverts to his old ways, Nebrasketball may very well put Penn State on #UpsetAlert.
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