By Tommy Rezac
The Nebraska men’s basketball team (20-9, 11-5 Big Ten) will close out the regular season this week with two big games at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The first of those two is tonight. Nebraska will host Indiana at 8 p.m. The Hoosiers have been on a roll, winning their last four games in a row. Nebraska meanwhile just lost at Illinois on Sunday.
Tim Miles is glad to have another game right away.
“You need to get back on the floor and you need to compete,” Miles said. “You don’t want to sit there and feel sorry for yourself or let any of those things fall in. While the wounds are still fresh, let’s get out there and battle.”
Miles’ crew is aware of the pressure to perform. The Huskers still need a few more wins to solidify themselves as an NCAA tournament team.
“You probably have some work to do in the Big Ten tournament regardless,” Miles said. “Any loss here at the end of the regular season puts more emphasis on that.”
Nebraska’s RPI is currently at 60. The magic number of wins needed, according to many bracketologists, is 23. Indiana, Penn State and then one win in the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden, which starts next Wednesday. The Huskers are still tied for fourth place in the conference standings with Michigan, but hold the tie breaker thanks to a 72-52 win over the Wolverines in Lincoln back on Jan. 18.
If the Huskers hope to win the final two games of the regular season and make a run in NYC, one player they must get back on track ASAP is junior guard Glynn Watson.
In the last two games combined, Watson has only made 3-of-22 shots. Over the last ten games, he’s only shot 27.2 percent. Watson has started all 29 games so far this year, and Miles says that won’t change now.
“If Glynn could just get out of his own way, I think that would help,” Miles said. “Glynn can fix Glynn. He and I have talked, I know he’s over there shooting right as we speak. One thing he noticed (Monday), and I think he’s right, he’s not getting fully extended on his jumper.”
Watson just eclipsed 1,000 career-points last Tuesday in a 70-66 win over Maryland. He’s still averaging 10.6 points per game.
Whatever happens for the rest of the season, Miles will give Watson his full support.
“Glynn’s one of those guys, I love him to death,” Miles said. “He wants what’s best for us. I don’t think it bothers anybody more than Glynn that we lost that (Illinois) game. We’re not going to divorce him when things are bad, and remarry him when things are good again. He’s our guy, and we’re going to roll with him.”
Last season against Indiana, Watson scored a game-high 26 points in an 87-83 win at Assembly Hall on Dec. 28, 2016.
You can contact Tommy at 402-840-5226, or you can follow him on Twitter @Tommy_KLIN.