Northwestern and Nebraska enter their second game this season heading in completely opposite directions. Northwestern has won four in a row, a streak that started with a 74-66 win in Lincoln. On the other side, that loss spurred what is now a four-game losing streak for the Cornhuskers. We talk with Patrick Gerhart of Corn Nation for his thoughts.
Inside NU: We can’t really start anywhere else: What happened against Rutgers?
Patrick Gerhart: Well, let’s see. First off, Rutgers actually plays defense fairly well. Yes, they’re probably the worst team in the Big Ten on paper, but head coach Steve Pikiell has them playing beyond their talent. Any team should be ready for a battle on offense. Add that into the fact that Nebraska decided not to shoot particularly well and you get loss number four on the year. You will have a hard time winning any game when you’re shooting 34% from the floor and a mind numbing 22% in the first half.
INU: Nebraska was dealt a huge blow when it was announced Ed Morrow Jr. was out indefinitely with a foot injury. Who has been charged with replacing him, and how have those players performed?
PG: It has been tough replacing such an impact player like Morrow. He was our second best scorer behind Tai Webster and also played fairly decent defense. Freshman forward Isaiah Roby has been in the starting lineup in replacement of Morrow and he has been doing an okay job. He’s had good games and bad games but has one heck of a future with the team. Roby is extremely talented and plays the paint well when his game is on. What he needs is more time with Miles’s system and he should be just fine. I will say his development has come along well since he missed all of pre-season practice due to an injury. Expect to hear his name more as the years go along.
Glynn Watson has also upped his game over the last couple of weeks which helps, but he was already a good contributor on the court. If anything, you will probably see more of him as his scoring ability is high. Though, he did only score six points when they last played Northwestern.
INU: How do Nebraska fans feel about Tim Miles? What would it take for him to be let go?
PG: As a whole I think Nebraska really likes him and wants him to succeed. He’s probably the best recruiter we’ve ever had here. The talent he has brought on is light years above what some of the previous coaches could grab. He has also been a huge supporter and promoter of the university and athletic department as a whole. An easily likable guy who is engaged with the students and fans alike.
However, I think the seat will be hot if this season keeps going the way it has. Look for some pressure if things don’t improve at the end of the season. The team is young and has had some good wins through the season which will bide him some time but that time might end if there is not much improvement next season. Especially with the talent that is currently on the team.
INU: Prediction time: Who wins on Thursday night and why?
PG: Nebraska has played well on the road this year. Even with the loss to Rutgers in New Jersey. Those last two games were lost on last second shots that could have easily gone the way of a Husker win. However, the Wildcats are playing a nice game that I think can keep the Huskers down in Evanston. I hate to go against the Big Red on this one but… 73-70 Northwestern with the win.