Preview: Baylor at Nebraska

The Baylor Bears take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers this evening at 8 central in Lincoln. It's a match-up of two teams that have arrived at this point in the season by very different paths.

A couple of weeks ago, Baylor had to be thinking they might not win a game this year. The team couldn't seem to get on the same page, sophomore guard Aaron Bruce had a couple of nagging injuries, and more than 50% of the playing time was going to true freshman. Not much of that has changed, other than the team not being on the same page.

The Bears are coming off their first win of the season, an overtime victory at home against Kansas State. The game before, they lost a narrow one on the road at Texas A&M. The freshman, especially Curtis Jerrells and Henry Dugat in the backcourt, are playing better each game. The upper classmen are stepping up like fans expected. And not surprisingly, Coach Scott Drew has a smile on his face.

A couple weeks ago, the Nebraska men's basketball team appeared to be in a tailspin. They had been blown out by Kansas by 42 points followed by a 22 point drubbing by Colorado. Sophomore guard, Joe McCray, was not having a very good follow-up to his superb freshman year and had just been suspended indefinitely (he has since been permanently dismissed from the team). And worst of all, they were smack in the middle of a Big 12 season where no win is guaranteed.

So what happened? They went on a 2 game winning streak of course including a solid win on the road at Oklahoma State. They now find themselves alone in 5th place in the conference, a position that usually is rewarded with an NCAA tournament birth, although the weakness of the Big 12 this year may not warrant as many spots.

Tonight's game features several intriguing match-ups. Aussie versus Aussie: sophomore guard Aaron Bruce, who is expected to fight through his sprained ankle and stress reaction and suit up, will go against his former Australian teammate, sophomore Aleks Maric, who is providing solid minutes for Nebraska averaging 8.4 points and 7 rebounds a game.

Experience versus youth: while Nebraska's freshman guard Jamel White is averaging 20 minutes a game, the vast majority of Nebraska's minutes go to juniors and seniors; meanwhile, Baylor has 4 true freshman that play significant minutes and who were all on the floor the last 3 minutes of the overtime victory over Kansas State.

While the Bears were able to snap their 20 game losing streak on Wednesday night, they hope to be able to snap yet another tonight – that is their 12 game road losing streak. It will be a tall order to do so against the more experienced Nebraska team, but if the players and fans listen to Coach Drew, they'll always know they have a chance.

Bears Illustrated Top Stories