Coming off its most impressive victory of the year over South Carolina in the Great Alaskan Shootout Championship, Marquette will play at Nebraska on Wednesday night in their first true road game of the season. Nebraska is currently 4-0 and is coming off a 69-54 victory over Southeast Missouri State.
"We have a very tough opponent tomorrow, a Big 12 opponent that is undefeated," said Head Coach Tom Crean. "It's great for our team to have to turn right back around and build on what we just accomplished."
Nebraska returns just four players that saw action in red and white last season. However, the Huskers do have five players who are scoring over nine points per game. The early season leader for Nebraska has been senior forward Wes Wilkinson, who scored a career high 25 points in his last game. What might be most impressive about Wilkinson is his efficiency in shooting the basketball. Wilkinson is shooting 57% from the floor and 50% from beyond the arc. He also brings a presence down low, leading his team in blocked shots.
"Wes Wilkinson is a 6'11 forward who plays a lot like Steve (Novak)," remarked Crean. "I think he made three 3-pointers in their last game and is having a very good year."
Nebraska finished last season 10-6 at home with an impressive win over the then #8 team, Oklahoma State. Marquette, on the contrary, was 4-8 away from the Bradley Center. The Golden Eagles returned from Alaska last Sunday evening and are boarding the plane for Lincoln, Nebraska on late Tuesday. Coach Crean reiterated to his team that winning the Alaskan Shootout is in the past now, and that their focus should be on Wednesday's battle with the Huskers.
"I think we learned a lot up there, but again, what you learned yesterday doesn't guarantee anything today. That is what we have to be very conscious of right now."
Wednesday's road test could prove to be a crucial win for the young Golden Eagles. This game with Nebraska would be a great addition to the win column before opening the Big East season in January. In addition, three of MU's next four opponents are undefeated on the young season. Crean believes his team is confident after winning the Alaskan shootout, and why shouldn't they be, Marquette has already experienced a few important lessons just five games into the early year.
"The two greatest things you have to learn from are adversity, which we had to deal with after the Winthrop game, and success," said Crean. "We won three games in a prestigious tournament and all that does is increase the attention that is given to you by your next opponent."
Marquette Loses to Nebraska, 84-74
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