Illinois Men’s Basketball: Nebraska Game Preview

The Illinois Fighting Illini will play the Nebraska Cornhuskers at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Tuesday night.

The Illini come into their game against Nebraska with a Big Ten Conference record of 1-4. Since upsetting the Ohio State Buckeyes on January 5th, Illinois has lost three straight games to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Northwestern.

Tuesday night’s game against the Cornhuskers is a must win for the Fighting Illini because of Illinois’ future schedule. They have a tough five games featuring four ranked Big Ten teams coming up after Tuesday’s game.

Much like the Illini, the Cornhuskers have only won a single conference game this season. They are 10-9 overall and are 1-5 in the Big Ten. They defeated Penn State, 68-64, in their last game, which snapped a five-game losing streak.

Jan 19, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Dylan Talley (24) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Penn State Nittany Lions at the Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Nebraska comes into the game against Illinois with the worst scoring offense in the Big Ten. They are averaging 58.6 points per game, but still have three players that are good scorers.

The leading scorers for Nebraska are junior Ray Gallegos, senior Dylan Talley, and senior Brandon Ubel. All three of these players are averaging double-digits this season. Gallegos leads the team with 13.2 points per game. Talley and Ubel are second and third on the team with 12.9 and 12.1 points per game respectively.

The Cornhuskers are also at the bottom of the Big Ten in rebounding. They are 11th in the conference with 36.2 rebounds per game. Ubel leads the team in rebounding so far this season. He is averaging a total of 6.8 rebounds per game this season.

This will be 11th meeting between the Fighting Illini and the Cornhuskers. Illinois leads the series 8-3. Both teams met twice last season and split their two games. Illinois won the game at Assembly Hall and Nebrakska won the game at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in 2012.

It is obvious how important Tuesday night’s game is for the Illinois Fighting Illini. They have dropped three straight games after getting a nice win over Ohio State. If the Illini lose on Tuesday, they will be at a disadvantage in their next five games.

Four of the next five conference opponents after Nebraska are ranked in the AP Top 25. Also, the only unranked team of their five opponents is a Wisconsin Badgers team that beat Illinois, 74-51, on January 12th.

A win against the Cornhuskers is not important because it would snap a three-game losing streak, but because a win would set Illinois up for success in their hardest five-game stretch this season.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

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Topics: Basketball, Brandon Ubel, Illinois Fighting Illini, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Ray Gallegos

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