GAME NOTES: With conference tournament seeding issues on the line, the Nebraska Cornhuskers travel to Iowa City to battle the Iowa Hawkeyes, in a Big Ten Conference tilt at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Following Wednesday's 53-51 win over Minnesota and Penn State's victory over Northwestern on Thursday night, the Huskers have locked up the No. 10 seed in next week's Big Ten Tournament. With one weekend of action remaining, Nebraska could potentially face one of four teams in Thursday's first round (Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois or Purdue).
Iowa has won five of its last seven bouts, including a 63-55 home victory over Illinois on Tuesday night, and it is still playing for conference tournament seeding. Head coach Fran McCaffery is one victory shy of career win No. 300.
Iowa holds a 13-9 advantage in a series that began with a 27-17 Husker win way back in 1907. Nebraska is 2-1 against the Hawkeyes since joining the Big Ten in 2011. The Huskers posted a 64-60 win over Iowa earlier this season on Feb. 23 in Lincoln. The Hawkeyes have won six of the last 10, and nine of the last 14 meetings overall.
Nebraska put together one of its best defensive efforts of the season in Wednesday's 53-51 win over Minnesota. The Cornhuskers held the Golden Gophers to 38 percent shooting, including 23 percent from 3-point range after UM scored 84 points in the first meeting in Minneapolis in January. The Huskers received strong performances from its senior class, as Dylan Talley, Andre Almeida and Brandon Ubel combined for 31 points and 14 rebounds in the win. Ubel scored the team's last 10 points to give the Huskers a victory in their final regular-season home game. Talley joined Ubel in double figures with 12 points and three assists.
Talley leads the way with 14.4 ppg to go along with 5.1 rpg, while Ray Gallegos (12.7 ppg) and Ubel (11.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg) are also averaging double figures. Nebraska is a limited offensive squad as it averages only 58.7 ppg, worst in the conference, and shoots 40.8 percent from the floor, second-worst.
Iowa led by as many as 11 points en route to a 63-55 home win over Illinois on Tuesday. Roy Devyn Marble posted team-highs in scoring (21), rebounds (6) and assists (4). It marked the second game this season the junior led the team in those three categories in a single game. Josh Oglesby finished the contest with 10 points, including back-to-back treys late to give the Hawkeyes some breathing room. Iowa established a new school and arena record for blocks (13), with Gabe Olaseni swatting a career-high seven shots.
The inside-outside duo of Marble (14.4 ppg) and Aaron White (13.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) has been the key for the Hawkeyes this season. Marble has scored in double figures in eight straight games, and reached at least 18 in seven of them. White is the leading rebounder for the Hawkeyes, who rank 16th nationally on the boards (39.5 pg). Offensively, the Hawkeyes are putting up a solid 70.6 ppg, primarily by sharing the ball well as a team. Iowa leads the Big Ten in assists (15.1 pg). On defense, the Hawkeyes are solid, holding foes to less than 39 percent shooting, tied for the best in the league.
Nebraska is a solid defensive squad, but it struggles to score points. Iowa has been playing strong defensively as well, but it has also been able to put up points on a consistent basis, so look for the Hawkeyes to prevail and give Coach McCafferty his 300th career victory.
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