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Huskers Look to Snap Streak vs. Illinois
Caleb Walker and the Huskers host Illinois on Saturday.
Photo Courtesy Scott Bruhn/NU Media Relations
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
02/17/2012
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Nebraska Cornhuskers
2011-12 Record: 11-13 (3-10 Big Ten)
Head coach: Doc Sadler
                Record at Nebraska: 100-84 (6th year)
                Record at Division I: 148-102 (8th year)
                Career Record: 268-141 (14th year)

Illinois Fighting Illini
2011-12 Record: 15-10 (5-8 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Bruce Weber
                Record at Illinois: 208-96 (9th year)
                Career Record: 310-150 (14th year)

Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet
Television: Big Ten Network
(Ch. 610 on DirecTV; Chs. 439, 9500 on DISH; Chs. 24 and 333-SH, 1333-HD on Time Warner Cable; Chs. 80 SD, 1080-HD on Cox Cable)
                Play-by-play: Kevin Kugler
                Expert Analysis: Jim Jackson
Live Video: BTN2Go App and BTN2Go.com

Radio: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network
(including KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln; KFAB 1110 AM in Omaha; KRVN 880 AM in Lexington)
                Play-by-Play: Kent Pavelka
                Expert Analysis: Matt Davison
Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com
Satellite Radio: XM 191, Sirius 93

Huskers Look to Snap Streak vs. Illinois
The Nebraska men's basketball team returns to action for the first time in a week, as the Huskers welcome the Illinois Fighting Illini to the Devaney Center this Saturday, Feb. 18.

Tickets for the matchup between the Huskers and Illinois are on sale by visiting Huskers.com or calling 800-8-BIGRED.  Fans that purchase tickets to Saturday's game against the Fighting Illini can also use those tickets for GA seating for Sunday's women's basketball game against Wisconsin.

Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m. (central) and the game will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network with Kevin Kugler and Jim Jackson on the call.  The game will also be available on BTN.com and the BTN2Go App on select mobile devices.

Saturday's Nebraska-Illinois game will also be carried across Nebraska on the 30-station IMG Husker Sports Radio Network with Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison calling all of the action. The game can also be heard on the Internet at Huskers.com and season audio packages are also available for purchase on the Huskers' App for your iPhone or iPod Touch.

The Huskers (11-13, 3-10 Big Ten) look to bounce back and snap a four-game losing streak following a 67-51 loss at Penn State last Saturday. In that game, the Huskers allowed the Nittany Lions to shoot 52 percent, as Penn State's Tim Frazier nearly put together a triple double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. For Nebraska, Dylan Talley came off the bench and led the Huskers with 12 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Caleb Walker had 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting.

For Nebraska to return to the win column, the Huskers will need a strong defensive performance against the Illini. During the four-game losing streak, opponents are shooting 51 percent from the floor after Nebraska allowed opponents to shoot 43 percent over the first 20 games of the season.

Illinois (16-10, 5-8 Big Ten) comes to Lincoln hungry for a win following a 67-62 loss to Purdue on Wednesday. Tracy Abrams scored a career-high 22 points for the Fighting Illini, who have dropped four straight. Illinois features one of the Big Ten's best scoring guards in Brandon Paul (15.4 ppg) while center Meyers Leonard ranks among the conference leaders in rebounds (8.1) and blocks (2.1) per game.

Husker Tip Off
2.3 to 1
Brandon Richardson's assist-to-turnover ratio over the last five games, as he is averaging 3.2 assists per game in that stretch along with 10.6 ppg. The senior has had five or more assists in six of Nebraska's 13 Big Ten games this season after having two in his first three years of conference play.

9.3
Dylan Talley's 9.3 points per game is the highest scoring average by a Husker newcomer since Ryan Anderson averaged 10.1 points per game as a freshman in 2006-07. Talley led the Huskers with 12 points in last Saturday's loss at Penn State.

No.

PPG

Player

Year

1.

10.1

Ryan Anderson

2006-07

2.

9.3

Dylan Talley

2011-12

3.

9.1

Steve Harley

2007-08

4.

8.9

Ade Dagunduro

2007-08

5.

8.8

Jorge Brian Diaz

2009-10

Last Time Out
Dylan Talley's 12 points led a pair of Huskers in double figures, but Tim Frazier's double-double led Penn State to a 67-51 victory over Nebraska.

Frazier fell one assist shy of a triple double, finishing with 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as Penn State snapped a five-game losing streak. Cammeron Woodyard had 11 of his 14 points in the first half, while Jermaine Marshall added 12 points as the Nittany Lions shot 52 percent from the floor.

Talley led the Huskers with 12 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Caleb Walker added 10 points as Nebraska was held to 40 percent shooting from the floor in dropping its fourth straight game.

Nebraska trailed 36-26 at the break, as Woodyard, who came in averaging 8.5 points per game, had 11 points in the first half. The 6-foot-4 guard went 3-for-3 from long range, as Penn State hit 5-of-8 from long distance in the opening 20 minutes and shot 58 percent as a team in the first half.

The Huskers used an early 6-0 run to take a 6-3 lead after a Toney McCray dunk, but battled foul trouble in the first half, as Brandon Ubel picked up his second foul in the first five minutes. Nebraska led 11-9 before 3-pointers from Nick Colella and Woodyard gave the Nittany Lions a 15-11 lead. Nebraska pulled within 18-17 after two straight 3-pointers from Talley, but Tim Frazier took over, scoring six of his 10 first-half points in a 10-0 run as the Nittany Lions built a 28-17 halftime lead with 6:05 left in the first half.

Walker stopped the run with a pair of baskets, but Woodyard hit a pair of free throws before his 3-pointer in transition made it 33-21 and forced Nebraska to call timeout, as the Huskers shot 38 percent in the first half.

Nebraska was within striking distance early in the second half, as Walker had two straight baskets to pull Nebraska within 43-33 with 16:07 left but could get no closer. Ross Travis' dunk started an 8-0 run for the hosts that that helped Penn State build a 51-33 lead with 11:46 remaining after Tim Frazier's 3-point play.

Scouting Illinois
Under Bruce Weber, Illinois comes into Saturday's game with a 16-10 mark following a 67-62 home loss to Purdue Wednesday night. In that game, Purdue built a 13-point lead in the first half and weathered a Fighting Illini comeback, as freshman Tracy Abrams poured in a career-high 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the floor. Brandon Paul added 19 points in a losing effort.

The Fighting Illini have reached the NCAA Tournament six times in Weber's first eight years at the school, including a national runner-up appearance in 2004-05. Illinois returned one starter from a team that went 20-14, but got off to a great start this season. Illinois won its first 10 games and was 15-3 overall following a 79-74 win over Ohio State on Jan. 10, a game which featured a 43-point performance from Brandon Paul. Since then, Illinois is just 1-7 with a 42-41 win over Michigan State on Jan. 31 as its lone win in that stretch.

Offensively, the Illini are averaging 66.6 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the floor as a team and grabbing 2.2 more rebounds than their opponents. Paul leads the Illinois attack at 15.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while also dishing out a team-high 79 assists. Illinois also features one of the league's top big men in 7-footer Meyers Leonard, who averages 13.0 points on 58 percent shooting and 8.1 rebounds per game while topping the conference with 54 blocked shots. Junior D.J. Richardson is the third Illinois player in double figures, as he averages 12.0 points per game, including a team-high 37 percent from 3-point range.

Nebraska-Illinois Series
Illinois leads the all-time series, 8-2, following a 59-54 win over the Huskers in Champaign on Jan. 7, which was the first meeting between the two schools since 1990.

In that matchup, Joseph Bertrand scored 17 of his career-high 25 points in the second half as Illinois fought back from a five-point deficit with 8:48 remaining. The game was tied at 54 with 1:30 left, but a costly turnover prevented the Huskers from taking the lead and Bertrand's basket with 56.4 seconds left gave Illinois the lead for good. Spencer's 13 points led three Huskers in double figures, but Nebraska committed 20 turnovers which led to 17 Fighting Illini points. Bertrand carried the Fighting Illini offense, hitting 11-of-12 shots from the field en route to a career performance.

Nebraska has hosted Illinois only twice in school history and Saturday's game at the Devaney Center will be the first in Lincoln since a 60-58 Illinois win at the NU Coliseum on Nov. 28, 1975.

First Pinnacle Bank Arena Showing Set for Saturday
Husker basketball fans will have an opportunity to see the new model of Pinnacle Bank Arena, as the first of four public showings will take place this Saturday, Feb. 18, prior to the Huskers' game with Illinois.

Fans that have tickets to Saturday's Nebraska-Illinois men's basketball game can see the model, which will be located in the main lobby of the Hendricks Training Complex, and learn more about seating in the new facility, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.  Members of the Nebraska Athletic Department administration, including the Athletic Ticket Office and Huskers Athletic Fund staffs, will be on hand to assist with fans' questions on seating locations in the new facility.

The showing will begin at 2 p.m., as the Devaney Center doors will open two hours prior to tipoff instead of 90 minutes prior to tipoff.  Saturday's public showing will be the first of four scheduled over the next two weeks, as the arena model will be on display in the Hendricks Complex lobby during each of the men's and women's final two regular-season home games.

Huskers Look to Generate Offense
For the 2011-12 Huskers, the key to success has been at the offensive end. Nebraska enters Saturday's game against Illinois with a 10-4 record when scoring at least 60 points, but is just 1-9 when not reaching that threshold. In Nebraska's three Big Ten wins, the Huskers have scored 70 or more points, but have been held under 65 points in nine of their 10 losses.

Huskers Battling Health issues
The Huskers have battled health issues during Big Ten play, as Nebraska was without Dylan Talley (thigh) and Jorge Brian Diaz (feet) for a five-game stretch, including NU's first three conference games, before both returned against Illinois on Jan. 7. The Huskers went 3-4 with Talley and Diaz back in the lineup, as two of the losses being decided on the road (at Illinois and at Wisconsin) in the final 30 seconds. Diaz has now missed the last three games with a recurrence of the injury and is out for an indefinite period of time.

The absence of Diaz on the inside has not only altered the Huskers' rotation, but also took away a vital part of Nebraska's attack. NU averaged 65 points per game and shooting nearly 45 percent with Diaz in the lineup, while averaging 53.1 points on 39 percent in the eight contests Diaz missed with injuries, going 2-6 in that span.

In addition to missing Diaz, the Huskers have also been without backup center Andre Almeida, as he has not played this season because of a knee injury suffered in the 2011 Big 12 Tournament.

Games

PPG

FG Pct.

RPG

Reb, Diff.

With Diaz

65.0

.447

33.2

+2.0

Without Diaz

53.1

.385

26.4

-4.2

Husker Quick Hits
•-Brandon Richardson is posting a 2.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio over Nebraska's last five games, a stretch where he is averaging 3.2 assists along with 10.6 points per game. In Big Ten play, Richardson has five or more assists in six of 13 games after having two in his first three years of conference play. The 6-foot senior guard already has established a career high in assists this season with 69.

  • -Caleb Walker had 10 points in Saturday's loss to Penn State, which was his first double-figure scoring effort since Jan. 11 and fifth of the season.
  • -Bo Spencer was held to seven points at Penn State, which was only the fifth time in 24 games where he was held out of double figures. He averaged 17.8 points per game on 46 percent shooting over Nebraska's previous four games. One key that kept Spencer in check at Penn State was that he did not get to the foul line for the first time since Jan. 15. In Nebraska's previous eight games, he was averaging 6.6 attempts per game and comes into Saturday's game hitting a league-best 88.6 percent from the charity stripe in Big Ten action.
  • -Toney McCray had two steals in Saturday's loss and is averaging 1.4 steals per game in Big Ten play after averaging 0.5 steals per game during non-conference action. McCray has had seven games with multiple steals in Big Ten action.
  • -Brandon Ubel leads Nebraska and ranks second in the Big Ten with 64 offensive rebounds this season. His total is the most by a Husker since Aleks Maric had 131 in 2007-08.
  • -Mike Fox has set personal highs in minutes in two of the last three games, including 17 minutes vs. No. 22 Michigan on Feb. 8.

Charity Begins at the Foul line
One area where the Huskers have been proficient this season is at the free throw line, where Nebraska's 75.8 percent rate leads the Big Ten and ranks 22nd nationally in the latest NCAA rankings.

It is on track to be one of the best seasons in school history, as only two Husker teams have shot over 75 percent since 1948, led by the 1967-68 team which was third nationally when they hit a school-record 76.5 percent from the line.  Prior to this season, NU's best season under Doc Sadler was 71.3 percent during the 2006-07 campaign.

  • Nebraska has shot 70 percent or better from the line in 18 of 24 contests and 80 percent or better nine times this season.
  • Three Huskers are shooting over 80 percent from the line this season: Bo Spencer (87.5 percent); Brandon Ubel (81.6) and Brandon Richardson (81.0).
  • Spencer is on track to finish in the top five on Nebraska's single-season free throw chart and is the best since Cary Cochran shot 92.2 percent in 2001-02.
  • The Huskers have been solid in the clutch, hitting 77 percent (83-of-108) from the line in the last five minutes of games this season.

Nebraska's success has often been determined by its ability to get to the line. In the Huskers' 11 wins, Nebraska is averaging 20.0 attempts per game, but that number drops to 12.2 in the Huskers' 13 losses.

Spencer Makes the Point for the Huskers
The focal point of Nebraska's offensive attack has been senior point guard Bo Spencer. The 6-foot-2 guard has made the most of his only season at Nebraska after transferring from LSU. He leads the Huskers in scoring at 15.0 points per game, while also adding 3.4 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game while ranking second in the Big Ten in free throw percentage (87.5).

Spencer has been an iron man for the Huskers, averaging 33.5 minutes per game which is the highest total by a Husker since Charles Richardson in 2006-07 (36.3 minutes per game).

Spencer's 15.0 ppg is on pace to be the highest scoring average by a Husker guard since the 2004-05 campaign. He reached double figures a team-high 19 times, including six 20-point performances, which is the most by any Husker since the 2007-08 season. His latest 20-point effort came at Northwestern on Feb. 2, as he scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half to help Nebraska trim a 15-point halftime deficit to one. It was his second 20-point night in Big Ten play, as he also had 23 points in a win over No. 11 Indiana on Jan. 18.

Spencer got off to a slow start in Big Ten play, averaging 10.0 points per game while shooting 26 percent in NU's first three games, but is averaging 15.4 ppg on 42 percent shooting over the Huskers' last 10 contests.

He enjoyed his best offensive game of the year at Creighton on Dec. 4, pouring in 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting and adding five rebounds in the highest scoring effort by a Husker since 2007-08.

Spencer led Nebraska to a road win at TCU on Dec. 10, hitting 7-of-12 shots, including four 3-pointers, in NU's 69-57 victory. At USC on Nov. 14, he had 22 points, including the tying basket in overtime and the go-ahead bucket in double overtime, and also tied a personal best with seven rebounds. Against Rhode Island on Nov. 20, he had 23 points while shooting 8-of-13 from the floor, four assists and three steals. Against South Dakota State on Nov. 26, Spencer had a then-career-high eight assists along with 18 points and six rebounds as he out-played Nate Wolters. 

Before coming to Nebraska, he started two seasons at LSU, averaging 14.5 points, 2.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game in 2009-10. Spencer showed the ability to get to the basket, putting up 11 games of at least 20 points, including a season-high 28-point effort against Western Kentucky and back-to-back 25-point contests against Kentucky and Tennessee.  

In his three-year LSU career, he reached double figures in 45 of 93 career contests, including 21 times as a junior. Spencer was the starting point guard on LSU's SEC championship squad in 2008-09, as the Tigers reached the second round before falling to eventual champion North Carolina.

Big Ten Active Leaders - 20-Point Games (Career)

No.

Player, School

Career

2011-12

1

John Shurna, Northwestern

40

13

2.

Brandon Wood, Michigan State*

25

1

 

William Buford, Ohio State

21

8

4.

Bo Spencer, Nebraska*

20

6

5.

Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin

19

2

*-includes previous school

Bo Looks to Bounce Back vs. Illinois
After being held to seven points at Penn State, Bo Spencer looks to bounce back against Illinois on Saturday. If recent history is any indication, a bounce back performance is likely. In the four games following his single-figure efforts this season, Spencer has averaged 18.8 points per game. He had 22-point efforts against both USC and TCU following the two non-conference games where he was held to less than 10 points. In the Big Ten opener against Wisconsin, he had six points, but came back against Michigan State with a 15-point performance off the bench and had 16 points at Iowa. Most importantly, NU is 3-1 on those contests. Spencer has been held to single figures in consecutive games one time dating back to his final season at LSU.

McCray Makes Most of Starting Role
Fifth-year senior Toney McCray has overcome a pair of injuries to play some of the best basketball of his career in 2011-12. The 6-foot-6 senior was hampered by surgery on his feet over the summer and a toe injury in October, but has rebounded to enjoy a solid senior year. He is setting career bests in scoring (10.2 ppg), rebounding (4.8 rpg) and field goal percentage (46 pct.), while also shooting 35 percent from 3-point range.

He originally moved into the lineup in December when Jorge Brian Diaz missed five games earlier in the season with an injury, and has been in the lineup ever since. He tops the Huskers in rebounding (5.7 rpg) and is second in scoring (11.6 ppg) since moving into the starting lineup..

Once inserted into the lineup, he promptly put together seven straight games in double figures - the longest stretch of his career - before being held to seven points at Wisconsin on Jan. 15. Prior to this season, his longest stretch of games in double figures was four games. The stretch began with a 20-point, seven-rebound effort against Alcorn State on Dec. 17, and had 16 points and nine rebounds against No. 11 Wisconsin on Dec. 27. McCray led NU with 13 points and five rebounds at No. 6 Ohio State and totaled 12 points and six rebounds at Illinois on Jan. 7.  McCray looks to break out of a mini slump, as he was held to 13 points in the last two games after averaging 15.5 points per game in the previous two games.

During non-conference play, McCray had three straight games where he tied or set season highs, including 15 points and five rebounds at No. 22 Creighton on Dec. 4. He also had 12 points in Nebraska's games against South Dakota and Wake Forest.

McCray may have made his biggest contributions from the foul line in the double overtime win at USC on Nov. 14. A career 61 percent shooter from the line entering his senior year, McCray hit four clutch free throws at USC - two in the final minute of regulation and a pair with 2.8 seconds remaining in overtime - for his only points of the night in NU's 65-61 double overtime win. McCray is up to 66 percent from the foul line this season, the best percentage of his career.

Richardson is Huskers' Glue Guy
While senior guard Brandon Richardson doesn't lead the Huskers in any offensive category, his versatility is his greatest asset. The fifth-year senior averages 7.3 points, 2.8 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game, while he leads Nebraska and ranks third in the Big Ten in steals (2.0 per game).

Richardson enters this weekend's action in third place among active Big Ten players in career steals, and he is threatening to become the first Husker since Cookie Belcher in 2000-01 to average more than two steals per game. Belcher, who holds three of the top four totals in school history, still ranks fourth in NCAA history with 353 steals in his career.

Richardson moved into eighth place on Nebraska's career steals list last Saturday, passing Larry Florence (137, 1997-2000) with his two steals against the Nittany Lions.

Richardson has been active on the defensive end in Big Ten play, ranking second in the league with 2.2 steals per game in Big Ten action, including a career-high seven steals at No. 6 Ohio State on Jan. 3. He has multiple steals in eight of Nebraska's 13 league games, including three steals in Nebraska's upset of No. 11 Indiana on Jan. 11

Richardson showed his offensive game at Iowa, totaling a career-high 25 points, including 6-of-7 from 3-point range, and added a season-high six rebounds and five assists.  At Ohio State, he totaled 11 points and a career-high seven steals, the league's single-game high in 2011-12.

The 6-foot senior came up big in his return home to Los Angeles on Nov. 14, totaling 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range in the Huskers' overtime win at USC. He matched his career best with four 3-pointers and dished out a pair of assists, including the game-tying basket in double overtime.  Against Rhode Island on Nov. 20, he set then-career highs in both assists (eight) and steals (four). Richardson closed non-conference play with a strong performance against Central Michigan on Dec. 20, finishing with a season-high 15 points and three assists.

Throughout his career, Richardson has been clutch from the free throw line, as he ranks third in school history with an 82.4 career percentage from the charity stripe and is one of only five players in program history to shoot over 80 percent for a career. 

Last year, he was second in Big 12 action in league play, hitting 87.8 of his free throws, including a stretch of 25 consecutive made free throws.  Throughout his career, he has been his best in late-game situations, going 81-of-87 from the foul line in the final five minutes of games, a remarkable 93.1 percentage.

Richardson Earns Big Ten Honor
Brandon Richardson became the Huskers' first-ever Big Ten weekly award winner in basketball, as he was the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week on Jan. 30.  Richardson, who shared the honor with Michigan State's Draymond Green, became the first Husker since Aleks Maric in 2008 to be named conference player of the week.

Richardson had a career night at Iowa on Jan. 26, scoring 25 points on 9-of-10 shooting and adding six rebounds and five assists in the Huskers' 79-73 win in Iowa City. Richardson was 6-of-7 from 3-point range, as his six 3-pointers were the most by a Husker since the 2006-07 season, while his 25-point night easily surpassed his previous season (15 vs. Central Michigan) and career (20 at Texas Tech on Jan. 22, 2011) bests. Richardson set season highs in points, rebounds and 3-pointers in the Huskers' win. He also had six points in Nebraska's 12-2 second-half run to take control and earn the program's first win in Iowa City since 1941.

Talley is Huskers' Scoring Sixth Man
Junior college transfer Dylan Talley has provided the Huskers with a boost off the bench in his first season at Nebraska, and comes into Saturday's game ranked third on the team in scoring at 9.3 points per game, while also chipping in 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He is hitting 37 percent from 3-point range and close to 80 percent from the foul line.

Talley leads all Big 12 reserves in scoring and has been in double figures nine times in his first year at Nebraska. He was slowed by a thigh injury which sidelined him for five games before returning to action against Illinois on Jan. 7. Talley has regained his early-season form, averaging 9.8 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in Nebraska's last nine contests. More importantly, he has been best in late game situations, scoring 70 percent of his points in the second half over the last nine games.

 He has been in double figures four times in that span, including his best effort of the year against No. 11 Indiana on Jan. 18. In that game, he had 10 points, including eight in the final 5:19 as Nebraska came back from 11 points down, and also matched his career high with nine rebounds and added two blocks. Talley finished with 13 points at Northwestern hitting 5-of-7 shots from the floor and led the Huskers with 12 points at Penn State.

Talley has shown the knack for the heroics, hitting a game-winning basket with 10.4 seconds remaining against Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 7, as part of a 14-point effort. The 6-foot-5 guard reached double figures in three straight games earlier this season, including a season-high 18 points, including four 3-pointers, four rebounds, four assists and three steals against Oregon on Nov. 23. Talley had 12 points and three rebounds against South Dakota State on Nov. 24, and totaled 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and five rebounds in 18 minutes against Rhode Island on Nov. 20.

Talley's adjustment may have been helped by the Division I experience he had when playing at Binghamton (N.Y.) University in 2009-10. That season, he was the America East Rookie of the Year and averaged 11.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Last year, he was an honorable-mention All-American at Blinn (Texas) College, ranking sixth in the NJCAA in scoring at 23.0 points per game while also chipping in 5.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

Ubel Doing the Dirty work Inside
While Nebraska relies on its guards for the bulk of the offensive output, junior Brandon Ubel gives the Huskers a physical presence on the inside. The 6-foot-10 forward has started NU's last 15 games at center since Jorge Brian Diaz suffered a foot injury in early December.

On the season, he is averaging 6.0 points and a team-high 5.4 rebounds per game, ranking 10th in the league in rebounds. His rebounding total is on pace to be the best by a Husker in the last four seasons.  Ubel is second in the Big Ten on the offensive glass, grabbing 2.7 rebounds per game, and has 10 games this season with at least seven rebounds, including nine rebounds in the loss to No. 22 on Feb. 8.

Ubel's best rebounding effort came against Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 7, when he grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds and added 10 points for his first career double double. That began a five-game stretch where he averaged 9.6 points and 8.6 rebounds, including 13 points and eight rebounds in the win over Alcorn State,  11 points and seven rebounds against Central Michigan on Dec. 20 and eight points and nine rebounds against No. 11 Wisconsin on Dec. 27.  Ubel is also solid at the free throw line, hitting 82 percent this season and is one of five players in school history to hit 80 percent for their career.

An overlooked part of Ubel's game is his passing abilities, as he has 27 assists this year after totaling just 22 assists in his first two seasons at Nebraska. He had his second five assist effort at Northwestern on Feb. 2, the second time this season he has had five assists in a game.

Huskers Look for Interior Presence with Diaz Sidelined
For the second time this season, the Huskers are battling through injury issues at the center spot, as Jorge Brian Diaz is likely to miss extended time with an injury.

The 6-foot-11 center is Nebraska's fourth-leading scorer at 8.6 points per game while he also averages 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per contest in 16 contests. Since originally returning to the lineup on Jan. 8, he had come off the bench in seven games, helping NU to a 3-4 mark, before missing the last two games.

He enjoyed his best game in that stretch in the win over No. 11 Indiana on Jan. 18 when he had 10 points and four rebounds while hitting a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left to provide the winning margin. It was the sixth time he had been in double figures this season and has 37 career games in double figures.

Diaz enjoyed one of the best offensive games of his career against Oregon on Nov. 23, finishing with a game-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, six rebounds and three blocks. He had eight of his points in a 22-7 run to help the Huskers erase a 15-point deficit before succumbing in the final minute. It was his third career 20-point effort and first since his freshman year. He nearly recorded a double-double at Creighton on Dec. 4 with 10 points and seven rebounds while also blocking a pair of shots.  He turned in a strong effort at USC on Nov. 14 with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in a career-high 43 minutes.

Defensively, he was second in the Big Ten with 1.9 blocks per game at the time of his injury and has had three or more blocks six times this season. Diaz tied his career high with five blocks in the one-point win over Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 7, joining Illinois' Meyers Leonard and Michigan State's Draymond Green as the only Big Ten players with two games with at least five blocked shots this season.

With Diaz out, the bulk of the minutes inside are going to junior Mike Fox, who has set career highs in minutes in two of the last three games. Against Michigan on Wednesday, he totaled two points and two rebounds in a career-high 17 minutes and had three points and a pair of steals at Penn State last Saturday. In addition, Christopher Niemann will see additional action, as he played six minutes against Michigan and five against Penn State after playing six minutes in the previous seven contests.

Winning the Close Ones
With an experienced team, Nebraska has shown the ability to win the close games this year, going 4-1 in games decided by three points or less in 2011-12, including a pair of one-point wins (vs. Florida Gulf Coast and No. 11 Indiana). Last year, the Huskers were just 4-5 in games decided by three points or less, including a 3-2 mark in one-point games.

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