Petteway Produces as Nebraska Pounds Purdue
Nebraska improved its conference record to 8-6 Sunday with an easy 76-57 win over Purdue in Lincoln. Terrran Petteway led the way with 29 points in just 29 minutes for the Huskers. Shavon Shields added 18 points and 10 rebounds. The win pushed NU to 16-10 overall with four games remaining.
On Wednesday, the Huskers travel to face the Illini in Champaign. They follow that with a home contest Saturday against Northwestern and a trip to face Indiana the following Wednesday. Two wins in those three games (all against teams below them in the standings) would guarantee the Huskers a winning conference record. The regular season finale would then come at home against an outstanding Wisconsin team.
Running the table is not out of the question for NU. In that event, the question wouldn't be whether Nebraska makes the NCAA tournament but how highly seeded they'd be and who they'd play. Being one of the last teams selected could mean a "first-round" game which would actually feel like a play-in, so there's plenty of incentive to win enough to avoid that.
If the Huskers can hang onto their six seed heading into the Big Ten tournament, they'd get to play the 11th team in the first round before having to face a rested third seed which currently would be Wisconsin.
There's a lot of basketball between now and then and conference road games (even against inferior teams) can be extremely tough. A win at Illinois on Wednesday would take a lot of pressure off NU. By week's end, the Huskers could punch their ticket to the big dance.