Brown Northwestern Basketball

Northwestern's Dererk Pardon (right) grabs a rebound against Brown forward Tamenang Choh on Saturday in Rosemont, Ill. Northwestern, Nebraska's opponent Tuesday, is playing in Rosemont's Allstate Arena while Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston is being renovated.

NAM Y. HUH, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Nebraska men's basketball team hasn't beaten Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois, since 2014, and that won't change no matter the outcome of Tuesday's game.

The Huskers jump back into Big Ten play with a trip to face the Wildcats in Rosemont, Illinois, at Allstate Arena as Welsh-Ryan Arena, Northwestern's on-campus home, undergoes renovations.

The game is set for an 8 p.m. tip.

The massive building, located within a long three-pointer of O'Hare Airport, seats 18,500 for basketball.

But any home-court advantage Northwestern hoped to get while playing there has been next to nil. The Wildcats are 1-1 against power conference teams in their temporary home, with a 92-88 loss to Creighton early in the season and a 72-68 overtime victory over an Illinois team expected to finish near the bottom of the league.

In total, Northwestern's nine home games have drawn an average of just 5,351 fans.

"I've never played in Rosemont, so it's hard to tell (what the atmosphere will be). But it won't be the same as playing on campus," Nebraska coach Tim Miles said Monday. "They're not at their home environment, but yet it's home. 

"So even though you're used to playing there, it's not the same."

Nebraska will take any advantage it can get in a matchup it has lost four consecutive times. Last year's game in Evanston saw Northwestern use a 16-1 run to take control late in a 73-61 win. Nebraska never led by more than two points, and led for just more than four minutes.

Despite not putting the game away until late in the second half, Northwestern led for more than 31 minutes.

The victory was part of a magical season for the Wildcats, who qualified for their first-ever NCAA Tournament, then won a game, then nearly beat No. 1 seed Gonzaga.

With the vast majority of that roster returning this season, Northwestern stumbled out of the gate at 4-3 with a blowout loss to Texas Tech and an ugly defeat at Georgia Tech.

Now 10-5, the ship has been righted some. But the Wildcats were overmatched in a 104-78 loss to Oklahoma, and saw four-year starting guard Bryant McIntosh go down with a knee injury in a win over Brown.

An MRI to McIntosh's knee revealed no structural damage, but the senior is still day-to-day.

"I think the hard part is going to be figuring out what their personnel is going to be," Miles said. "But they played an excellent last 10 minutes of the game without McIntosh. And it probably gave them some clarity on throw it inside to (Dererk) Pardon and get those two wings (Scottie Lindsey and Vic Law) shots."

No matter who does or does not play, the game carries importance.

With two league games already out of the way and both programs sitting 1-1 in the Big Ten, wins will be at a premium for the schools jockeying for position behind Michigan State and Purdue in the conference standings.

It's a league that will likely have a big middle pack at the end of the year, and any victories stolen on the road could go a long way.

"I think we did a decent enough job in the nonconference, but we need to get more focused and locked in going into conference play," junior guard James Palmer said. "It's another game that's important. We definitely need to take care of business on the road."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.

0
0
0
0
0

Load comments