NCAA Tournament Preview: Nebraska vs Baylor - The Cornhuskers try for NCAA win #1

Tim Miles is enjoying being in the tournament.

Can Nebrasketball vanquish former conference foe and fellow hot team Baylor? Or will their first NCAA appearance since 1998 end like all the others?

By the Numbers:

Nebraska

Team

Baylor

(19-12, 11-7 B1G)

Record

(24-11, 9-9 Big 12)

11

Seed

6

49

RPI

30

58

BPI

34

44

KenPom

32

55

Sagarin

29

March 21, 2014 - AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

12:40 PM EST - truTV

Skinny:

Two major conference teams, both who suffered five-game losing streaks early in the season, but have won 10 of their last 13 games. Nebraska and Baylor have come on strong late in the season and both could be dangerous in this tournament, but one has to get by the other first. These two teams are former Big 12 foes, but most of the players and Nebraska coach Tim Miles weren't around for the last matchup. The game will be played in Texas, about 3 hours away from the Baylor campus.

In order to win, the Cornhuskers are going to need to shot well and work for open shots. In recent games the Bears have utilized a zone defense more than man-to-man. In the frontcourt Baylor has plenty of size and Nebraska's smaller lineup could struggle to be effective on the inside, both on offense and defense. Finally, Scott Drew's team brings some good postseason experience, having won the NIT last season and reaching the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament in 2012 (also his brother is Bryce Drew).

Uni Tidbit: Both teams have deals with Adidas, but neither one will be wearing a version of this year's "Made in March" uniform. The NCAA shot down Baylor's version because they read "Sic ‘Em Bears" and therefore violated NCAA policy that mandates only school names and nicknames be printed on the front of jerseys. Nebraska on the other hand, wasn't even offered a version.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Nebraska

Pos.

Baylor

Tai Webster

G

Kenny Chery

Shavon Shields

G

Brady Heslip

Terran Petteway

G/F

Royce O'Neale

David Rivers

F

Cory Jefferson

Walter Pitchford

C

Isaiah Austin

Players to Watch:

Terran Petteway: Anyone who has watched the B1G this year knows that Petteway is going to get his share of the ball for Nebraska. He has to be effective with shot and force Baylor to make defensive adjustments if his team wants to win.

Walter Pitchford: Pitchford is going to have to play well on offense and defense against a pair of talented big men from the Bears, but he has been good against B1G centers and has seen his minutes increase as the season has gone on. Expect him to rise to the challenge and battle down low, but will he get enough help from his smaller teammates?

Isaiah Austin: The 7-footer averages more than 3 blocks a game, but he also scores the ball and rebounds well. Nothing at the rim is going to come easy when he is on the floor.

Cory Jefferson: A senior leader for the Bears, Jefferson paces his team in scoring and rebounding. He is likely to draw a favorable matchup against the smaller David Rivers initially, but look for Nebraska to rotate a few different defenders to try and slow him down.

Prediction:

Nebraska has been a popular upset pick, and with their recent play it isn't hard to see why. However, I think Baylor is a better team overall and I picked Nebraska in my bracket, which is a disaster right now and I may jinxed them like I did Iowa and OSU. Baylor 76 Nebraska 72 OT

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