East Lansing, MI
The Nebraska Cornhuskers invade Breslin Center tonight sporting a record of 11-8, (3-3) and riding a three game winning streak. The secret to their success is that underrated Husker head man Tim Miles has his Huskers playing great defense holding their last three opponents to 38% shooting and dominating on the boards. Rebounding is one simple thing and that is heart. The Huskers have it.
Add to their resurgence that the Huskers have a three game winning streak not only in their last three tilts, but also the last two contests versus the Spartans. The last time the Spartans beat the Huskers was way back in February of 2013. Nearly three years ago.
Izzo has high praise for the Huskers, â€œNebraska started out 0-3 and has now won three in a row. Theyâ€™ve got a very, very good tandem, Shields and White, the transfer from Kansas. Heâ€™s averaging 18 and Shields has been a problem since he was a freshman. Two 6â€™7â€ guys that can do a lot of things. Kind of a dynamic duo, versatile, play the 3, the 4, the 2. They can kind of play all over. Itâ€™s not a real big team. But they are getting a lot of good guard play. Webster has been there a while, Watson, Benny Parker has been there for a while. And this team is playing better, theyâ€™re I think well-coached. And after I said a little bit of a rough start in the league, theyâ€™ve played pretty good.â€
So while most programs in the nation would kill to have a 16-3 (3-3) team in the top 10 that is not the case here in the Spartan Nation. The expectations are higher than that and with the Spartans riding a two game losing streak not only this season but to the Huskers as well, Izzo says relax because the sky isnâ€™t falling.
â€œOn a positive side we are second in the country in wins, 16 wins. Weâ€™ve got more top 100 wins. As of the other day we had nine top 100 wins and that is more than anyone in the country.Â Â I think we had 10 or 11 top 10 stats as of the other day which is unbelievable. Our field goal percentage defense is still top five or six. Our rebounding is still there. Our assists are still there. Our three point field goal percentage defense is still there.â€
While the program is far from in trouble, even Izzo knows that this team at this moment is playing up to its long term expectation. There are reasons for that with injuries of course and a litany of other things. What really matters is that this team of young men is a hardworking and talented group with the nationâ€™s best coach. Izzo likes what he has looking forward.
â€œI know we got a real good team that I think can be a great team. I still think it can be a great team but we have to, a couple of key guys are we got to get Bryn back shooting the ball and we gotta get Schilling to play his role and do what heâ€™s supposed to do, to be blunt about it.â€
The game tips off at 6:30 PM and you can watch it on BTN.