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January 16, 2013
Purdue makes its first-ever trip to Nebraska to face the Cornhuskers as a Big Ten rival tonight for a 9 p.m. tip-off in Lincoln.
For the second straight game, Purdue will face a team that's winless in the Big Ten, as it meets 0-4 Nebraska after beating Penn State at home this weekend.
But first-year coach Tim Miles' team isn't playing as its record would suggest.
Nebraska - an almost entirely new team from the one Purdue beat twice by 18 points last season, the first in Mackey Arena, the second in the Big Ten Tournament - played well in a competitive loss at Michigan State this weekend, trailing by just one with a little more than two-and-a-half minutes left.
Prior, the 'Huskers lost at then-No. 2 Michigan, 62-47, but trailed that game by just five at the half.
Nebraska's been competitive, and it's done so short-handed, playing just six scholarship players in East Lansing.
Big man Brandon Ubel, who averages 12 points and seven rebounds for the season, fractured his elbow against Michigan and has been sidelined since. He's not expected to play vs. Purdue.
With its best big man out, Nebraska played like Purdue has at times, going small, playing four guard-types and one big.
"They're playing smaller and playing with a lot of skilled guys at all positions," Purdue coach Matt Painter said, "and trying to spread the defense out and look to attack you and take the mismatches where they have them."
G: Terone Johnson
G: Ronnie Johnson
F: D.J. Byrd
F: Jacob Lawson
C: A.J. Hammons
G/F: David Rivers (6-7, 191, So.)
G: Ray Gallegos (6-2, 181, Jr.)
G: Dylan Talley (6-5, 216, Sr.)
G/F: Shavon Shields (6-6, 214, Fr.)
C: Andre Almeida (6-11, 314, Sr.)
Nebraska might have lightning in a bottle in Rivers, who was 8-of-8 from the floor in scoring 18 against the Spartans. ... Talley leads Nebraska at 13.6 points per game but shoots just 35 percent, with Gallegos close behind at 13.3. ... Almeida is the largest player Purdue will have faced this season, listed at 6-11, 314. ... Nebraska's been outrebounded by opponents on average for the season and has gotten absolutely clobbered in Big Ten games by a 41-32 margin. ... The Michigan State game was the first time in four Big Ten games Nebraska scored more than 50 points.
About Purdue: Roster | Schedule | Statistics
About Nebraska: Roster | Schedule | Statistics
Game time: 9 p.m.
Radio: Purdue Sports Network (95.7 FM locally)
TV: Big Ten Network
Internet: GoldandBlack.com subscribers can follow along live with our in-game blog, "Game Day Live."
Things to think about
1. Can Purdue play effectively for extended stretches playing small? Matchups suggest the Boilermakers can go small against the Cornhuskers, but can they rebound well enough with such groupings to be able to stay with them?
2. When Purdue plays its bigger lineups, can Jacob Lawson and Donnie Hale produce enough at the 4 to give the Boilermakers the edge on the boards they'll hope to have?
Lawson, Purdue's starting power forward much of the season before giving way to Davis for the Penn State game, has just eight rebounds through four Big Ten games; Hale's grabbed just five.
3. Can the Boilermakers get Hammons established on offense? The center's been a critical cog at both ends of the floor, but especially offense, where he's scored 12 points or more in five of Purdue's last six games.
4. Will the Boilermakers control the boards the way Nebraska's other opponents have? If Purdue defends the way it's been defending, against a low-percentage-shooting opponent, there should be lots of them.
GoldandBlack.com Prediction: Nebraska's been competing with opponents that logic says it shouldn't be competing with, but it struggles to score, and Purdue should have an advantage on the boards. The Cornhuskers' lack of depth could be a problem for it as well, particularly if the Boilermaker guards can get into their opponents and wear them down. It won't be easy in Lincoln.
Purdue 60, Nebraska 55
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