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12/20 Big Ten Preview: Nebraska Attempts To Move Past Kansas

BTP previews Wednesday for the Big Ten.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

There’s little debating that Wednesday will be a slow night for the Big Ten. With only one team in action and that matchup against a relatively underwhelming foe, there won’t be much for fans to follow during the evening. Nonetheless, as Big Ten fans learned on Monday, things can often change quickly in college basketball.

As such, let’s take a look at Wednesday’s action.

Game of the Day

-UTSA Roadrunners at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 8:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Nebraska (-11)

After a brutal five-game stretch starting last month, Nebraska finally has a chance to catch its breath. The team began that stretch with a home game against Boston College and followed that up with four-straight games against top 40 foes, including a nail-biter on Saturday night against Kansas. While only going 2-3 in those five games, Nebraska showed it can play with just about anyone in the nation.

Wednesday’s matchup, however, will be a lot less intense.

The Huskers tip off on Wednesday night at home against an underwhelming UTSA team. While the Roadrunners are 7-5 overall, the team has yet to beat a top 200 opponent. More simply put, UTSA isn’t one of the worst units in college basketball, but it’s not exactly head and shoulders above those teams, either.

UTSA is led, in large part, by a talented young backcourt. This group features two freshmen in Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace and sophomore Giovanni De Nicolao. The two freshmen led the team in usage on the floor and both have offensive ratings above 100. De Nicolao isn’t the same level of scorer, but is a great passer. In fact, his 27.2 assist rates among the top 10 players in Conference USA.

From a team perspective, expect UTSA to play possession basketball. The Roadrunners will maximize possessions, avoid turnovers, and convert from the free throw line. It will be important for Nebraska to avoid playing at UTSA’s pace.

All told, the goal for Nebraska simply needs to be avoiding an upset and moving toward conference play. The Huskers have shown renewed energy and potential over the last few weeks and letting that slip away in a ‘buy’ game against UTSA would be disappointing. Simply put, just win and move on.

  • Pick Against the Spread: UTSA

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 6-9-0