With most of the Big Ten programs wrapping up their non-conference schedules, both Rutgers and Nebraska will look to tack on wins Tuesday prior to entering the latter half of the season. The Scarlet Knights will play host to the Sacred Heart Pioneers at home in New Jersey, while the Terran Petteway and the Cornhuskers hope to score a win in Honolulu at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic against Loyola Marymount.
Game of the Day
Nebraska vs. Loyola Marymount - 11:30PM ET (ESPNU/Watch ESPN)
After falling to Hawaii in their opening game, Nebraska will face Loyola Marymount in the Diamond Head Classic on Tuesday. The holiday tournament could see the Huskers (6-3) play a third game in Honolulu if they were to win each of their next two contests and advance to the championship. Nebraska's strength is their two big men, Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields. They combine to average 37.5 points per game and account for more than a quarter of the team's offense. Petteway, a first team All-Big Ten selection last year, has only gotten better over the initial course of the season.
Despite Nebraska's recent struggles, they find themselves facing another team with major struggles. Loyola Marymount is rated as just the #253 team according to KenPom and are on a 5 game skid. The Lions are a team searching for answers without a good offense or a good defense. This team doesn't shoot well and gives up a lot of good looks. Still, two of the big players to watch on this team are Ayodeji Egbeyemi and Evan Payne. Egbeyemi is one of the team's best passers and Payne is a solid player inside the arc. Nebraska will need to target these two if they want to score a win here.
Rutgers vs. Sacred Heart - 7:00 ET (BTN)
Coming off a disappointing loss St. Francis, Eddie Jordan's Rutgers (6-5) team will try to get back on track Tuesday night against another Northeast Conference opponent in Sacred Heart (6-4). Stretch forward Kadeem Jack leads the way for the Scarlet Knights, averaging 13.8 PPG and 7.4 rebounds on the year. The 6'9'' junior has been hot as of late, coming off back-to-back 24 and 20 point performances. He will try to take advantage early against a smaller Sacred Heart team that doesn't start a player taller than 6'7''.
However, the Pioneers are looking strong, coming off two marginal victories in which they averaged 88.5 points. Freshman guard Cane Broome leads a balanced team in points with 14.6 per game and will have the task of guarding senior point guard Myles Mack, Rutgers' second leading scorer. This should be a key matchup to watch down the stretch as to see who can both defend and distribute the ball more effectively than the other.
Tuesday is a must win for Rutgers if they want retain any hope of reaching some sort of postseason this year. The consensus bottom team of the Big Ten can't afford to leave non-conference play 3-4 at home against mostly sub-par opponents.