Busting Brackets

Nebraska vs Minnesota: 2018-19 College basketball game preview, TV schedule

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 20: Dupree McBrayer
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 20: Dupree McBrayer /

In a battle on the bubble, the Nebraska Cornhuskers will face off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a Big Ten rematch with huge implications.

TV Schedule: Wednesday, February 13, 9:00 pm ET Big Ten Network

Arena: Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska

Two Big Ten teams are looking to get their tournament hopes back on track after a disastrous February so far. The Minnesota Golden Gophers 16-8(6-7) will be going up against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in a rematch from December 5 at Minnesota, where the Golden Gophers won 85-78. Both teams are hungry for a win and will be looking to break their losing streaks, a three-game one for Minnesota consisting of all of their February games, and a seven-game streak for Nebraska, which started back on January 17 against Michigan State and is also the longest losing streak in the Big Ten Conference as of the time this preview was written.

Over the past month, the Cornhuskers have traded their 20-game win streak at home for a 4-game losing one. This is the first time that the Cornhuskers lost at least three straight home games since Tim Miles’ first season as head coach in the 2012-13 season. This is also the longest Cornhusker home losing streak of this decade as the 3-game losing streak has been achieved one other time this decade(back when they were in the Big 12).

Even with their recent failures, these teams are still holding on to their tournament hopes. Both teams are in the latest Bubble Watch and are in the latest Busting Brackets Bracketology with Minnesota getting a First Four 12-seed and Nebraska getting put in the First Four Out behind the Butler Bulldogs. In addition, Minnesota was in the February 8 edition of ESPN’s Bracketology with Joe Lunardi as a last four bye 10-seed with Nebraska nowhere to be found.

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The key to victory for both of these teams in this game will be found in their offenses. Out of their combined 10 losses in their streaks they have only one game where they scored at least 65 points and only two games where they made 40% of their field goals. Minnesota will most likely be looking to senior forward Jordan Murphy, whose in their top three this season for points (2nd with 14.5), rebound(1st with 11.9), and assists(third with 2.7) per game as well as shooting around 50 percent in the field in this season.

He has also scored or tied for most points scored for them in four of their last seven games including an amazing 23 point performance in a 92-87 win against #19 Iowa. The Gophers will also have junior guard Amir Coffey at their disposal, who leads the team in points per game with 15.3 and also scored 23 points in the resume-building game from last month against Iowa.

Nebraska will need either senior guard James Palmer who leads the team in points per game with 18.9 or junior forward Isaiah Roby to have a breakout game as either one of these two players has led the team in points over the past seven games.

This will be these two teams most important game of the month because it will break their recent losing streaks, as even though their rankings in the NET(40 for Nebraska and 58 for Minnesota) and KenPom(even better with 36 for Nebraska and 56 for Minnesota) are high they are dropping and will continue to drop even further with this loss. The strength of schedule will be the thing that can be the deciding factor get the winner of this contest into the tournament.

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In the end, Nebraska will be looking for vengeance for their former loss against Minnesota and both teams will be looking for a new start by ending their losing streaks with wins. This will surely be a must watch game for anyone interested in Big Ten basketball. This will certainly be a tough, high-scoring affair, but Minnesota will probably take advantage over Nebraska’s cold streak, which will lead to them pulling off a decent lead in the second half to help them get the win

Prediction: Minnesota 81, Nebraska 73