The Nebraska Cornhuskers were playing their best basketball of the season going into their most recent game against the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday. The Huskers did not show up against the Wolverines, especially on the offensive end. The Huskers did not really shoot that bad from the field, but they did struggle from beyond the arc (6-22). The Huskers kept trying to force tough three-pointers on offense because they were down for practically the whole game and because the Wolverines were shooting very well from deep (11-21 for the game). The Huskers could have really used a win over Michigan to boost their resume, and because now they have a tough slate of games ahead.
Nebraska's next game is at the Purdue Boilermakers, followed by two home matchups against the Maryland Terrapins, and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Obviously, the game against Rutgers should be an easy win, but back to back games against two of the better teams in the Big Ten are certainly not going to be easy. The Huskers have to win one of these big games if they want to have any shot of making the NCAA tournament. The loss to Michigan is not a bad loss, but it certainly hurt the Huskers' tournament hopes, unless they can beat a team like Purdue or Maryland.
The Huskers Need To Beat Maryland
It would be nice for the Huskers to beat Purdue on the road, but frankly it probably won't happen. This game is a bad matchup for the Huskers because of how strong Purdue's frontcourt is. Isaac Haas, Caleb Swanigan, and A.J. Hammons are going to be far too much for Nebraska to handle. Nebraska's frontcourt has been weak all season on both ends of the floor and a game against Purdue should really expose how weak Nebraska's frontcourt really is.
The matchup with Nebraska against Maryland is interesting because the Terps are not going to bully Nebraska in the paint or on the glass. Yes, Diamond Stone is good around the rim and so is Robert Carter, but Nebraska's frontcourt should be able to get on grip on their play, especially after they play Purdue. Jake Layman should not be a problem for the Huskers as well, the key will be if Nebraska can keep Melo Trimble in check. Players like Andrew White III and Glynn Watson Jr. are going to need to step up on both ends of the floor in this game, and the Huskers will need to shoot better from deep if they want to have any chance of winning this game.
Maryland also tends to struggle scoring the basketball at times, which should help the Huskers. Nebraska needs to bring all they got against Maryland on Feb. 3, especially in front of their home crowd, who will be loud as ever.
Nebraska's season started off on a bad note, but they have started to gain some momentum and confidence during conference play. Although the loss to Michigan could hurt down the stretch, the team needs to focus on these next two big games against Purdue and Maryland. Neither game is obviously going to be easy, but the Huskers should have a better chance of winning against the Terps.
This is also the Big Ten, where almost anything can happen on any given night.