The men’s Nebraska basketball team kicks off its inaugural Big Ten conference schedule tonight, December 27, 2011 against the 11-2, 11th ranked Wisconsin Badgers. The game will be held at the Devaney Center with the tip off scheduled for 8:05pm, and tickets available at the box office as well as Huskers.com. Fans are encouraged to come early as theNebraska Athletic Department welcomes former players to be honored prior to the game. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN 2 and radio coverage will be provided by the IMG Husker Sports Radio Network with the legendary Kent Pavelka and Matt Davidson calling the plays.
The Huskers are coming of a close 72-69 win against Central Michigan in which two of the top three scorers for the team sat out with injuries. Starting forward Jorge Brian Diaz has been out the last two games with a foot injury and starting guard Dylan Talley has sat out with a deep thigh bruise. Right now both are very unlikely to play against the Badgers being that neither has practiced in ten days. Caleb Walker is also questionable after a hard fall badly bruised his back in the game against Central Michigan. This leaves an inexperienced bench to pick up the pieces with help from starting point guard Bo Spencer. Corey Hilliard, a true freshman who hasn’t played since November 20, might get the call from Doc Sadler despite suffering from symptoms similar to a sports hernia. Hilliard approached Sadler wanting to contribute to the injury plagued team, and Coach Sadler responded,
“I don’t think it’s in his best interests, but he wants to play and so we’re going to play him.”
This is the Huskers first game against a ranked AP poll opponent this season, and the men play six teams that are ranked this week in their first eight conference games. The Huskers went 3-3 last season against ranked teams and beat the no. 3 ranked Longhorns. This short handed Husker team will have to come out swinging and shooting to beat this amped up Badger defense, whose only two losses are to North Carolina and Marquette.
The Wisconsin Badgers are coached by Bo Ryan who is in his 11th year as head coach. In that time the Badgers have won five Big Ten titles and are on a five game win streak after whooping Mississippi Valley State 79-45. A defensive minded team, the Badgers allow the fewest points in the Big Ten at 44.7, and are second in the conference in scoring margin beating teams by an average of 23.5 points. This solid Wisconsin team is lead by senior guard Jordan Taylor who is among three players that average more than ten points a game. Taylor also averages five assists per game and averages 3.3 assists to 1 turnover as the team averages 68.2 points per game.
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