Nebraska/Purdue Preview

Nebraska travels to Purdue tonight, to take on a wounded team that is starting to feel backed into a corner.

Nebraska men's basketball coach Doc Sadler had a message for his team before practice on Tuesday.

Mackey Arena is loud, it's crazy, and the Huskers (12-13, 4-10 Big Ten) will have a tough environment tonight when they take on Purdue (17-10, 7-7 Big Ten).

The Boilermakers has lost five out of the last eight games and has very little margin of error to make the NCAA Tournament as a at-large team according to most Bracketologist. Purdue lost to No. 8 Michigan State at home Sunday, 76-62.

"This game is probably a bigger game than Michigan State to them," said Sadler. "But that's the way it's going to be the rest of the season. Each game is going to get bigger and bigger. We know that we are going into a really good environment and it's not going to be easy."

Purdue has been anchored by fifth-year senior Robbie Hummel, who is averaging 16 points a game after sitting out last year with his second ACL tear.

"I think when you describe a basketball player, you would be describing him," said Sadler. "He just looks like he loves to compete, loves his teammates. There's not a selfish bone in his body, he's overcome through so many obstacles, all the things that make college athletics fun. Not for him obviously, but for people who coach it and watch it. Fortitude is a good word, sticking through something."

Hummel isn't the only one that has shown fortitude. After dropping five out of six conference games, Nebraska beat Illinois 80-57 on Saturday – behind 27 points from senior guard Bo Spencer.

"I don't want to say that we played much different. The difference is we made a lot of shots, a lot of shots," said Sadler, who saw his team shoot 55 percent from the field. "When shots go down, you probably think you played a lot better than you did. Give our guys credit for making shots."

Whatever the case, Nebraska will try to mustard up the same results tonight. Tip off is scheduled for 5:30 CT on the Big Ten Network.

"It is good to have them fall in. We just have to keep it going. It was great to have a win, but after today it is over," said Spencer after Saturday's contest. We have to get right back in the gym and keep doing what we have been doing in practices."

According to Sadler, it was accomplished.

"I thought it was a good practice (Monday). Not any different," Sadler stated. "I think they have been pretty consistent."

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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