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Big Ten NIT Preview: #4 Nebraska vs #5 Butler

Five scholarship players...two walk-ons...will the magic stay alive for the Huskers?

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Wisconsin vs Nebraska David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The #13 seed heading into the Big Ten tournament, only six active scholarship players, Nebraska defied all odds by making it to the quarterfinals. A close loss to Wisconsin where they could’ve won if a couple shots fell in, the Huskers found a spark in this group of kids, specifically walk-on Johnny Trueblood.

Against Wisconsin they only played six players, with true freshman Brady Heiman and walk-on Justin Costello available, but Tim Miles didn’t seem to think they were ready. Now, after hurting himself getting out of bed, Heiman is unavailable, and Miles is basically forced to only play six guys.

Can they withstand the three-point crazy Butler Bulldogs? You can preview the game below.

#4 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs #5 Butler Bulldogs

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM ET ESPN2
  • Spread: Nebraska (-5.5)

In addition to Nebraska’s depth problems, coaching questions have arisen, with ESPN analyst reporting that the Huskers have already talked with ex-Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg. For the Huskers they’ll respond one of two ways:

Either fight for Miles and prove all the doubters wrong, or the white noise will be too much for the players and staff, and they’ll fall apart.

Luckily for Nebraska, they match-up pretty well with Butler. Butler lives and dies from behind the arc, and doesn’t have much of a presence down low, where Isaiah Roby and James Palmer Jr. will take advantage.

The player to watch for Butler is guard Kamar Baldwin, who averages 17.2 points per game and 85% from the charity stripe, and was selected to the All-Big East 2nd Team. Due to a guard heavy Big East, Baldwin couldn’t make it to the First Team, but possesses first team talent.

The hope for the Cornhuskers is that they rally behind their seniors and soon-to-be fired head coach Tim Miles, but don’t be surprised if Butler plays spoiler. Not to mention it is a revenge game for Butler’s Athletic Director Barry Collier, an ex-Nebraska head coach...

  • Pick Against the Spread: Butler