The Nebraska men’s basketball team (6-3) returns home Tuesday night to take on No. 14 Minnesota at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. Pregame coverage will start at 7, and the game will be aired on KLIN.
The game will also be televised on the Big Ten Network.
The Huskers look to bounce back after a staggering 86-57 loss at No. 3 Michigan State (7-1) on Sunday.
The Gophers (8-1) come to Lincoln as one of the most lethal teams in the conference. Minnesota leads the Big Ten in scoring at 89.4 points per game. They also lead the nation with 8.2 blocks per game.
Minnesota is led in scoring by Jr. F Jordan Murphy, who leads all Big Ten players with 21.4 points and 12.9 rebounds per game.
The Gophers return four starters to a team that went 24-10 last season and made the NCAA tournament. As a 5-seed, they were bounced 81-72 in the first round by 12-seed Middle Tennessee.
Minnesota had one of its worst seasons ever in the 2015-16 season, going 8-23. Head coach Tim Miles said Monday after practice that experiencing highs and lows like that as a team can be beneficial.
“Minnesota is terrific,” Miles said. “First of all, they won 23-24 games last year, and then return a bunch (of starters). They also have a lot of people (that were) involved through, historically, the worst season they’ve ever had. (Jordan) Murphy was there. Nate Mason was there. Those experiences teach you a lot.”
Seven total players from the 2015-16 team are on this year’s roster, including Sr. G Nate Mason.
Mason has been averaging over 15.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this season. He scored a team-high 25 points in Minnesota’s 88-73 win over Nebraska in Minneapolis on March 2; the last time these teams met.
The Gophers lead the all-time series with the Huskers 54-19, but Nebraska has won four of the last six meetings. The home team has been the winners of this series for the past eight meetings.
Another key senior for Minnesota is 6-10, 265-pound center Reggie Lynch. Not only is he their lead rebounder with 8.6 boards per game, he currently leads all players nationally with a ridiculous 4.8 blocks per contest.
Lynch, a fifth-year senior, was Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2017.
Nebraska is in the midst of perhaps its toughest stretches of the entire season. Minnesota is the second straight ranked opponent the Huskers are facing in the past three days.
Miles admits playing two of the Big Ten’s best within three days, while trying to recover from a 29-point loss, is not an ideal situation, but believes there are positives to be gained from it.
“Hopefully, we learned our lesson and we see what we saw on tape, and we say, ‘You know what? I want to do better,’” Miles said. “We’ll play a heck of a lot better than we did on Sunday night.”
The Huskers will face Creighton (5-2) in Omaha on Saturday; a team they haven’t beaten since 2010.
After that, the Huskers host No. 2 Kansas (7-0) on Dec. 16th.
You can contact Tommy at 402-840-5226, or you can follow him on Twitter @Tommy_KLIN.