Big Ten rivals will square off Friday night as the Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-11, 0-6 in Big Ten) take on the No. 7 Purdue Boilermakers (13-2, 2-2 in Big Ten). The Boilermakers will host this one at Mackey Arena, with tipoff scheduled for 6:30 pm ET.
Nebraska comes into this game on a four-game losing streak. In their last matchup, on Tuesday, they lost to No. 25 Illinois 81-71 at home. In the loss, Bryce McGowens led Nebraska in scoring with 19 points. Derrick Walker and Alonzo Verge Jr. added 14 apiece.
After losing to No. 13 Wisconsin, the Boilermakers bounced back last Saturday with a 74-67 road win over Penn State. Purdue had four players score in double digits, led by Trevion Williams, who had 21 points and nine rebounds.
Purdue is the overwhelming favorite to win this one. They are -4000 to win while the Cornhuskers’ moneyline sits at +1400. The spread features Nebraska +20 (-110), and the over/under for total points is 156 (-110).
The Boilermakers are currently tied for the third-best odds to win the National Championship at +1000. Nebraska is +50000 to win it all.
By The Numbers
Offensively, Purdue is one of the best teams in the nation. They rank fourth in scoring averaging 85.1 points per game (89.2 at home). Nebraska ranks 88th, averaging 73.9 points per game.
On the defensive side, it is again Purdue with the edge. They rank 97th in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of 66.6 points per game. Nebraska ranks 325th as they are allowing 78.4 points per game (88.6 on the road).
Nebraska Looks For Massive Upset On The Road
At 0-6 in the Big Ten already, this seems like another lost season for head coach Fred Hoiberg and the Cornhuskers. Still, they will try to rally for a massive upset on the road against the No. 7 Boilermakers.
Leading the way for Nebraska is freshman guard Bryce McGowens. In 17 games this season, he is averaging 15.9 points on 39.4% shooting. He is also adding 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.
The Cornhuskers have two others averaging double digits in Alonzo Verge Jr. (14.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.5 steals) and Derrick Walker (10.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks).
Hoiberg runs a deep bench with ten players averaging at least 11 minutes per game.
Purdue Looks To Get Above .500 In Conference
With early losses to both No. 13 Wisconsin and Rutgers, the Boilermakers find themselves just .500 in the Big Ten as we hit the midway point of January. They will try to pick up another win at home, where they are 8-1 this season, as they host Nebraska.
The Boilermakers have four players averaging double digits, but sophomore guard Jaden Ivey leads the way. He is averaging 16.2 points on 50% shooting, to go along with 5.1 rebounds and three assists per game.
Other significant contributors include Zach Edey (14.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.3 blocks), Trevion Williams (13.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, three assists, one steal), and Sasha Stefanovic (11.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, four assists).
Purdue Will Win, But Can They Cover?
It is hard to imagine a scenario where Nebraska pulls out this upset, but the bigger question may be whether they can cover the spread.
As poor as Nebraska has played this season, 20 points is still a lot to spot an opponent. Granted, Nebraska’s defense is one of the worst in college basketball, but they have a team that can shoot it relatively well. In just the last couple weeks, they have lost to No. 10 Michigan State, No. 16 Ohio State, and No. 25 Illinois, but the deficits were by an average of just 10 points.
For that reason, there is a lot of value in taking Nebraska at +20 Friday night.