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Nebraska at Purdue: Time, TV, Streaming, Odds, How to Watch

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Purdue needs to continue its dominance in Big Ten play at home.

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Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Most of Saturday is going to be scoreboard watching as we see what fellow Bubble Teams around us do. I may even post an Open Thread later to point out what games matter the most and which do not. Sunday, however, is a business trip to West Lafayette.

Last season it was Nebraska that made a surprising run through Big Ten play to make the NCAA Tournament after a lackluster non-conference season. This year, Purdue is trying to pull a Nebraska. The Cornhuskers won eight of their last nine heading into the Big Ten Tournament last year to finish fourth. They also had some losses to teams that finished on the sad side of 100 in the RPI in UAB, Purdue, and Penn State. They got it done when it mattered though.

This season has not gone well for them despite starting the year as a top 25 team. While the Boilers took care of their business at Rutgers, Nebraska presents another team that we should beat, especially in Mackey Arena. Nothing is a given, however.

Opponent:

Nebraska Cornhuskers

From:

Lincoln, NE

Date:

2/15/2015

Venue:

Mackey Arena (14,240)

TV:

Big Ten Network

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

Purdue by 7.5

Tickets:

As low as $50 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

5:15pm

KenPom Ranking:

111 of 351

RPI:

106

Blog Representation:

Corn Nation

2014-15 Record:

13-11, 5-7

All-time series

Purdue leads 10-4

Last Purdue win:

1/17/2014 at Purdue 70-64

Last Nebraska Win:

2/23/2014 at Nebraska 76-57

2013-14 Record:

19-13, 11-7

Last NCAA appearance:

2014 (Has never won an NCAA Tourney game)

Coach:

Tim Miles (326-262 overall, 47-42 in 3rd year at Nebraska)

Nebraska is not going to return to the NCAA Tournament, but they have aspirations to make the NIT and they can definitely be a spoiler for some teams. They have beaten Michigan State, Minnesota, and Illinois to cause lots of problems for those teams. If not for a close home loss to Indiana and a loss at Penn State they would have a winning record in league play. Unfortunately, consistency has been a major problem this year. They had an ugly December loss to Incarnate Word, a newcomer to Division I that is 10-6 right now. They also lost at Hawaii and nearly fell to Loyola Marymount and Florida State.

Scoring has been a major problem for them. They are not as bad as Rutgers, but they are 289th nationally at only 62.5 points per game and a dismal 325th in assists per game. That means they play a lot of one-on-one basketball, something Purdue is adept at defending.

The basic parts of last year's NCAA team are back, however, making their struggles that much more perplexing. Terran Petteway is playing like one of the best players in the Big Ten at 18.8 points per game. Shavon Shields is getting his numbers at 15.7. Outside of them, they have no help at all. If you though D.J. Newbill was left on an island at Penn State he at least has a couple of teammates averaging more than 7 points per game. Petteway and Shields have virtually no one helping them. Walter Pitchford averages 6.8 points per game as their No. 3 option, so this is a severely limited team.

Pitchford, at 6'10", will have his work cut out for him working against A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas. While Haas has taken a complementary role to Hammons, Hammons is playing like the best center in the Big Ten on both ends of the floor. Pitchford has absolutely not help in terms of regular size. If Pitchford gets in foul trouble Hammons will be virtually unopposed in the post.

What does make Shields and Petteway dangerous is that they are bigger perimeter players, making them tough for Purdue to defend. Both are bigger than 6'6" and can hit the three, which has been our Achilles heel before our recent defensive renaissance. Shields has been awful from three (14 of 70), but Petteway has hit 57 of 167 threes. This is what we call a "volume chucker" from deep. Second on the team is Pitchford with 102 attempts, which may draw Hammons away from the basket and open up some lanes for the drive.

This is still a severely limited offensive team. They are only better than Rutgers in most offensive categories in the Big Ten and they are the worst three-point shooting team in the league. The only thing that helps them is that they are a solid defensive team and Purdue has a nasty habit of going through terrible offensive stretches. Wisconsin is the only team better than them defensively, as they give up just 61.1 points per game. Given Purdue's Thursday offensive struggles, this one could get ugly.

That is probably what Nebraska wants, too. They want to ugly it up, limit Purdue's interior strengths, and rely on their two superior scorers to be a balanced two team that pretty much scores by committee. If they can get a great game from Shields and Petteway while forcing us into long stretches of offensive struggle that is their key to winning.

Fortunately, we're at home, and Mackey Arena has mostly been a fortress since the calendar changed to 2015. I think the Boilers see the finish line of the NCAA Tournament ahead and take care of business at home.