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The Layup Line: Nebraska

From preseason #21 in the country to losing at home to Incarnate World: what should the Bearcats expect from the Cornhuskers?

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Three times last year the Cincinnati Bearcats had 7 or more days to prepare for a game. The results? Not great. They took Houston to the woodshed in February and lost to Harvard in the NCAA Tournament. But the first time they had a week-long break last year was just before the Crosstown Shootout, and we all know how that ended.

I wonder if there's really something to this 7+ day break? Would you be shocked if the 'Cats came out ice cold playing in an away arena? And what if they scored 10 unanswered right after tip-off?

  • Game: Saturday, December 13 @ 9:00pm ET
  • Location: Pinnacle Bank Arena; Lincoln, NE
  • TV/Radio: Big Ten Network; 700 WLW

Neither scenario would completely surprise me, and you could credit both to having such a long break in between games (they're out of sync or that rest really refueled them).

Nonetheless, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are going to provide quite the challenge tonight. As I mentioned in the teaser above, Nebraska was ranked #21 in the preseason polls, but now come off back-to-back losses to Creighton and Incarnate World.

In other words, they're probably pissed and really want a victory. Especially at home.

Junior guard Terren Petteway (#5) is still there, and he's still a beast - averaging over 20 points a game and leading the team in assists.

Guard/Forward Shavon Shields is the other scoring threat at 18 points a game. And when I say "the other scoring threat" I mean that. No other Cornhusker averages more than 6.8 points a game. Last year, the Bearcats were able to hold Shields to 2 points on 1-11 shooting.

What the 'Cats have to do to win:

  • Get off to a good start early. First true road game for the Bearcats; a good start is crucial. Prior to their upset to Incarnate World, Nebraska was holding teams to 38% from the field - including just 28% from 3 point land.
  • Turn the Huskers over. The Huskers average over 14 a game. Bearcat opponents? Only 11 each game. Need to force turnovers early and often.
  • Shut down 1 of 'em. Petteway or Shields, that is. If they both go for their averages, the Bearcats are in for a hurting.

Cronin and crew are usually pretty good at shutting down one of their opponent's stars. The fact that Nebraska's hungry to get back on track, though, and that the Bearcats haven't played a true road game scares me. This one feels like the New Mexico game last year part deux. Bearcats start cold and can't recover: Cornhuskers 65-58