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January 19, 2013

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska vs. Penn State

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Saturday, Jan. 19, 2012 - 12:05 p.m. CT
TV: ESPNU / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Penn State (8-9, 0-5 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 5
Last Game: Lost to Michigan State 81-72
G Jermaine Marshall (ranks 7th in Big Ten with 15.0 points per game) Jr. 6-4 205
G D.J. Newbill (leads team with 15.6 ppg and 3.9 assists per game) So. 6-4 205
F Ross Travis (averaging team-high 7.4 rebounds per game) So. 6-6 225
F Brandon Taylor (averaging 6.6 ppg and 3.7 rpg) Fr. 6-7 235
C Sasa Borovnjak (scoring 5.4 ppg with 3.4 rpg) Sr. 6-9 240

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (9-7, 0-5 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 5
Last Game: Lost to Purdue 65-56
G Dylan Talley (ranks 15th in scoring in Big Ten at 13.4 ppg) Sr. 6-5 216
G Ray Gallegos (shooting 10-of-48 from 3-point range in Big Ten play) Jr. 6-2 181
G/F Shavon Shields (scored career-high 18 points vs. Purdue) Fr. 6-6 215
F David Rivers (held to 5 points vs. Purdue after scoring 18 at MSU) So. 6-7 191
C Andre Almeida (averaging 6.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, and 1.2 blocks per game) Sr. 6-11 314

Will Ubel play?

There's a good chance Nebraska might get back one of its biggest leaders both on and off the court in senior forward Brandon Ubel, who has missed the past two games after inuring his elbow against Michigan on Jan. 9. Ubel is NU's leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, so having him back in the rotation, and possibly even in the starting lineup, would be a huge boost for a team desperate to finally pick up its first Big Ten victory. He practiced with the team Friday night and will be a game-time decision today.
Handle the pressure

Head coach Tim Miles said the No. 1 thing that's stood from watching film on Penn State is the way the Nittany Lions like to force teams into making mistakes with relentless pressure from their backcourt. Even without star guard Tim Frazier, who was lost for the season to a torn Achilles' tendon back in November, PSU thrives off of the aggressive play of its guards on both ends of the floor. Not only will the Lions use a variety of defensive pressures and traps to try and force turnovers, they'll also attack the basket and try and initiate contact to draw fouls on the offensive end.
Take advantage

For maybe the first time this season, Nebraska just might be considered the favorite in a Big Ten game when it takes the court against Penn State this afternoon. Also at 0-5, the Nittany Lions have had a very similar start to league play as NU, suffering both blowouts and close losses along the way. The Huskers know these are the types of games they have to win, and they already let a good opportunity slip away on Wednesday night in a loss at home to Purdue. If Nebraska is ever going to turn its season around, this would be a perfect opportunity to finally pick up a Big Ten win and get things going.

Head coach Tim Miles on his impressions of Penn State this season:

"They've got good guard play. They drive the ball. They get fouled. They create chaos defensively with changing defenses and pressure defense and trapping ad some of those things in different places. They're going to be a tough match-up for us that way."
Freshman guard Shavon Shields on Nebraska's 0-5 start to Big Ten play:

"It's tough, but we need to get over the hump sooner than later. Those close games, they really kill you. Looking back at it, we shot ourselves in the foot during every single one of them. We could've won those games. It hurts."

Nebraska 58-51

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