Nebraska Victory Over Ohio State Would Still Be an Upset
Despite the fact that Nebraska is the higher seed (by virtue of a better conference record), beat the Buckeyes in the last meeting in Lincoln, and has had an extra day of rest while OSU plays on back-to-back days, the Huskers still take the court as underdogs versus Ohio State.
The early line has NU as a 4.5 point underdog to OSU. Every credible computer and human basketball poll would also call Ohio State the better team. Indianapolis is also a shorter trip from Columbus than Lincoln, which tends to make a measurable difference. If you follow Ken Pomeroy's log5 predictions, then the Huskers have only about a 1 in 4 chance of winning today.
But then this Husker team is used to being an underdog. The odds were much poorer as NU found themselves a 13.5 point underdog heading to East Lansing to face Michigan State. Four days ago Nebraska also found themselves a home 'dog against Wisconsin. For that matter, the Huskers were getting 8.5 points when they hosted the Buckeyes. All were Husker victories.
This Ohio State team is for real. They are considered among the dozen or so best teams in the country by a number of credible computer polls. Just taking the court with the Buckeyes will likely give NU a boost in some of them, including the rather important RPI. Pomeroy's poll give's the Buckeyes a good chance of winning the Big Ten tournament not too far behind the favorite Michigan, or next best Wisconsin.
So there's no shame should NU fail to win today nor should it cost the Huskers an NCAA tournament at-large bid. Instead it presents an almost nothing-to-lose opportunity. A win will push Nebraska toward a higher seed. And that would likely improve NU's chances of finally getting a win in the big dance.