How They Are Doing So Far:
The tough realties of the Big Ten are hitting Nebraska hard. In early December the Cornhuskers beat Illinois at home, but their three conference matchups since then have all been road losses. With wins over the likes of Seton Hall, Clemson, Creighton and Oklahoma State, Nebraska does have some good wins on their resume. However, in order to reach the NCAA Tournament they cannot afford to lose home games against teams like Penn State.
Last Time Out:
Nebraska went to Iowa on Sunday and lost 93-84. The Cornhuskers kept it close throughout the contest, but failed to make a serious push at the end of the game. Isaac Copeland, Jr. and James Palmer, Jr. both scored at least 20 points. Copeland went 8-of-16 from the floor for 24 points, while Palmer went 6-of-15 with 20 points and four assists. Nebraska also got a good game from Isaiah Roby, who tallied 17 points and nine rebounds. Thomas Allen also netted ten points, but he was just 1-of-4 shooting from long range. That outside shooting problem plagued the Cornhuskers all game long. They went just 4-of-23 from beyond the arc and that made it very difficult for Nebraska to mount a comeback against the Hawkeyes.
Who To Watch:
Not surprisingly James Palmer, Jr. is having a superb senior season. He is averaging 20.1 points per game and shoots 33.3 percent from long range. Palmer also adds 3.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals. At 6-6 and 207 pounds, he can attack the basket effectively and shoot over smaller defenders. Isaac Copeland, Jr. is nearly as prolific scoring the basketball as Palmer. On the year he is averaging 14.7 points and 5.5 rebounds. The 6-9 forward is coming off his highest scoring game of the campaign and he forms a superb inside-outside duo with Palmer. Copeland is not all about the inside game though; he can step outside and hit some shots.
Who Else To Watch:
Glynn Watson, Jr. does not have to score too much to make a big impact against Penn State. The senior point guard is the player who sets up opportunities for James Palmer, Jr. and Isaac Copeland, Jr. And he plays solid defense and helps out on the glass a little bit too. Nebraska is at their best though when Watson is scoring too. At the least, Watson is always a threat to shoot from long range. On the year he has connected on 41.0 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. That puts a lot of pressure on the defense to guard him closely on the perimeter and that is when Watson will attack the basket and finish himself or find Palmer or Copeland.
In a tough Big Ten, this is a game both Penn State and Nebraska will be looking at as a must win situation. The Cornhuskers have NCAA Tournament hopes and they cannot afford to lose a home game to a Penn State squad that is 0-4 in conference play. For the Nittany Lions, after games against Michigan and Wisconsin, this is an opportunity to finally grab a Big Ten win. If they do not here, they probably will head into late January when they host Rutgers without a conference victory.