Lincoln has not been a friendly place for ISU in basketball the last couple of years, if you can believe that. Hopefully that gets turned around tonight. While Cyclone fans are optimistic about the season, I think as a Nebraska fan, it would be hard not to be somewhat optimistic about this matchup, coming off a close home loss to Kansas on Wednesday night.
This one is looking dead even to me. Pomeroy has us at #76, and Nebraska at #77. In each of the Four Factors, the teams are within a couple percent of each other in each category:
I think the key is going to be trying to speed up the tempo of the game. Generally, Nebraska is going to want to slow it down, keep the scores in the 60s to low 70s. If ISU can get it in the 80s, I feel like we can win the game. If we're in the 50s to 60s, I think we lose.
If the Texas game showed us anything, it's that when we're playing more free offensively, we're a better team. When we're more constrictedd, we aren't that good. What I fear is that with Nebraska wanting to slow it down, ISU following their lead. Good teams force their opponents to play their game. I hope we can do a better job dictating the tempo.
The downside to trying to speed it up, is lack of depth at the moment. Colvin is out, Buckley isn't an uptempo type of point guard, and Boozer is out for the Nebraska game. We saw how worn out our guys were against Texas with having a lack of depth. Coach may need to slow the game down, to preserve the guys we do have. If guys like Gilstrap continue to get as worn during the game, they will put themselves at higher risk for a serious injury; we can't have that.
I just get the feeling that this is going to be an UGLY game. I plan on either being disappointed in a loss, or thanking goodness our team got out of there with a W. I hope it's the latter.
Game tips off at 7pm CST, and can be seen on WOI in Central Iowa, along with FSN-MW, ESPN Full Court, and ESPN360.com