Northwestern Returns Home To Face Nebraska Saturday Afternoon

Photo: Northwestern Athletics
Photo: Northwestern Athletics

Northwestern (12-11, 5-5 Big Ten) returns to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Saturday after a two-game road trip to host Nebraska (11-10, 3-6).

The Wildcats won a pair of games last week at Wisconsin and Minnesota, and overall they have won four of their last five outings.

Nebraska enters after getting blown out Wednesday at Michigan, 79-50. But before that game, the Cornhuskers had won three out of four games.

The Cornhuskers are still searching for their first true road win since Jan. 19, 2013. They are 0-7 in road games and 1-2 on neutral sites this season.

Despite Nebraska’s road struggles and its recent dismantling by Michigan, the Wildcats are not overlooking the Cornhuskers.

“We’re expecting Nebraska to come in with an edge to them and a lot of fire,” Northwestern senior Drew Crawford said. “You feel extra motivated after a loss like that. You don’t want to go through something like that again.”

Nebraska holds the pieces to give any team in the Big Ten a good fight.

Texas Tech transfer Terran Petteway has blossomed into one of the league’s top scorers with 17.5 points per game.

Sophomores Walter Pitchford and Shavon Shields give the Cornhuskers a pair of good options in the frontcourt.

Northwestern has experienced plenty of success in recent weeks. After an 0-3 start to Big Ten play, the Wildcats are 5-2 in their last seven games. They sit tied for fourth place, only one game behind third-place Iowa.

Northwestern has also become the road warrior of the Big Ten, winning its last three contests away from Welsh-Ryan Arena.

However, head coach Chris Collins stressed the team cannot expect an easy win just because it is returning home.

“It’s not matter of where you’re playing. It’s how you’re playing,” Collins said. “An¬†immature team may think that when you come home off the road, everything is just going to happen for you. You have to make it happen, as players and coaches.

With last week’s top-50 road wins against Wisconsin and Minnesota, college basketball analysts began considering Northwestern’s chances for a NCAA Tournament or NIT bid. The Wildcats still have a long way to go after a poor non-conference showing, but they have been catching the national eye.

“We can’t get ahead of ourselves,” Collins said. “The moment you start looking ahead and saying we need to do this or that, you can lose games in a hurry.”

Saturday’s tip off between Northwestern and Nebraska is set for 12 p.m. CT.

Author: Jesse Kramer

Jesse Kramer is the founder of The Catch and Shoot. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He has had work featured on SI.com, College Insider, The Comeback/Awful Announcing, and 247Sports.

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