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LINCOLN, Neb. - Coming off a 68-64 win at Penn State on Saturday, the Nebraska Cornhuskers look to make it two in a row, as they host John Groce’s Illinois Fighting Illini on Tuesday.
UBEL GETTING BACK TO FORM
Senior power forward Brandon Ubel partially fractured his right elbow in a loss against the Michigan Wolverines two weeks ago. However, Ubel was back with his teammates Saturday at Penn State, coming off the bench. Ubel contributed 10 points in the win over the Nittany Lions, and him and his teammates are glad to have the inside presence back.
“I was just excited to get out there,” Ubel said. “It was fun, felt like my first game again.”
A big plus is there seems to be no lingering problems for the senior, and the Huskers, barring another injury, should be in good shape for the rest of the year.
It feels alright, no swelling”, said Ubel. “Its getting better, have to continue to work hard.”
SHIELDS’ CONFIDENCE CONTINUING TO GROW
A true freshman, Shavon Shields is becoming one of the most popular names in college basketball. After strong performances at Michigan and at Michigan State, Shields exploded for 29 points and seven rebounds; leading the Huskers to their first Big Ten win of the season. Not often does freshmen get praise from a senior, but this case is a little bit different.
“Its fun to play with him,” Ubel said. “It always just seems like he’s wide open under the rim, and it’s easy to hit him.
What makes Shields unique is his versatility, and being able to do so many things with the ball, is a coach’s worst nightmare when trying to match up.
“He does so many things, he‘s strong enough where he can get to the rim, he’s got a good mid range game and he’s starting to hit his three’s,” said Ubel.
However, Shields isn’t taking anything for granted and knows this is just the beginning, and winning is and always will be the top priority.
“It’s cool (Freshmen of the week), but we need to start winning games in the Big Ten.”
HUSKERS PREP FOR FIGHTING ILLINI
Not long ago, the Illinois Fighting Illini were one of the top ranked teams in the country. With a 13-0 record, their up-tempo, fast paced team seemed like it couldn’t be stopped. Led by senior Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson, the Illini were one of the top three point shooting teams in the country. But after dropping four of their first five games in conference, the Illini find themselves at the bottom of the conference standings. It’s no secret the Illini live and die by the three, and the Huskers know they can’t give them the momentum early.
“We just have to limit their three’s,” said Ubel. “When they're winning games they're hitting three’s, when they're not winning games, they're not hitting as many three’s.”
Despite the losses the Illini cant be taken lightly as they managed to beat the No. 10 Gonzaga Bulldogs and No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes this season, in convincing fashion.
“They have great guards, Brandon Paul and Richardson, we just need to come ready to play,” said Shields.
The Huskers host the Fighting Illini at 7:30pm CT on the Big Ten Network.
- Josh Harvey