Who: Nebraska Cornhuskers
When: Tuesday, Jan. 12 @ 8 p.m. CT
How: TV: BTN; Radio: ESPN 1500
- What’s it going to take to get in the win column this year?
- Can Jordan Murphy break out of his mini slump?
- Can the Gophers show any semblance of defensive ability?
Nebraska over the Gophers, 71-65
Boy, this is really getting bad, isn’t it? Two games after nearly toppling the #1 team in the land, the Gophers looked more like a high school team than a giant slayer, getting smoked by the Northwestern Wildcats by 25, in what was the worst defeat at the hands of the purple since the 40s. The 40s! And if Twitter was any indication, lots of Gopher fans threw in the towel on the season right then and there.
For the second year in a row, the Gophers face the prospect of starting the Big Ten season 0-5, with the Nebraska Cornhuskers standing in the way of a dubious honor. Instead of growth, the Gophers have shown a painful regression since the conference season has started. And if the Northwestern drubbing wasn’t the bottom for this program, I’m honestly frightened at what that bottom might be. The defense was atrocious and the team had an extremely difficult time scoring, even close to the hoop. On all fronts they looked like a squad that is light years from being competitive on a nightly basis, even with highly-touted recruits coming in.
If we’re still dipping into the well of optimism, however, Nebraska offers some hope. They recently scored their first conference win, a 90-56 thrashing of Rutgers, and haven’t shown a whole lot this season that’s worth writing home about. Andrew White will be a terror for the Gophers, as he’s a guard that can both shoot and rebound. Northwestern basically held an open gym against the Gophers from the three-point department, and White ranks sixth nationally in three-point percentage.
Personnel-wise, the Gophers are a mess. Jordan Murphy was one of the lone bright spots for the team, putting up huge numbers as a PF. But with the regression of Charles Buggs and the slow growth of Ahmad Gilbert, Murphy has seen more time at small forward, where he’s struggled. In fact, after scoring double digits in 8 of 9 games, he’s now been held to single digits in two straight, while attempting 8 total shots in those games.
The Huskers offer a decent chance for a win, but considering the recent play and it being a road game, I’m not optimistic.