Technically, this is the third game of conference season, but we all know this is when the grind truly starts. In its final game of 2018, Northwestern basketball (10-5) takes on Nebraska (10-5) in Allstate Arena for late matchup on Tuesday.
Northwestern is still reeling from the worst possible non-conference start you could imagine for this team. Northwestern dropped all of its games against quality major conference opponents (two in embarrassing fashion) in its first 15 games of the season. The Wildcats best win may be over La Salle or DePaul. To make matters worse, point guard Bryant McIntosh is day-to-day after a knee injury suffered against Brown.
UPDATE: McIntosh is doubtful, according to Chris Collins.
Northwestern's Bryant McIntosh (knee) is doubtful for tonight's game against Nebraska, per Chris Collins.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 2, 2018
If Northwestern is without McIntosh, things could get very dicey against #Nebrasketball, a solid team under Tim Miles. The Huskers won’t be challenging for the Big Ten title, but they took Kansas to the wire and have definitely played better than the Wildcats to start the season. A trio of juniors—Miami transfer James Palmer, Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland and Glynn Watson Jr.—are playing quite well and should not be taken lightly. In Nebraska’s best win of the season, a 78-68 shellacking of Minnesota, those three combined for 52 points. Nebraska also has sharpshooter Anton Gill, who is shooting at a 47 percent clip from three.
You’d figure the Wildcats will need another huge performance from center Dererk Pardon. Pardon has owned Nebraska going back to the second game of his career, when he put up 28 points at Nebraska. Things should be different this year. Tim Miles landed Copeland from Georgetown specifically to address Nebraska’s lack of height, and it’s paid dividends. Scottie Lindsey and Vic Law also need to step up like they did against Brown if McIntosh is out.
Game Time: 8 p.m. CT
Radio: WGN 720
KenPom Prediction: 74-67 Northwestern (76 percent chance of winning)
Betting Line: Northwestern -8