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February 23, 2011

Gameday: Nebraska vs. Kansas State

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Kansas State Wildcats
Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011 - 8:05 p.m. CT
TV: ESPNU/ RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Kansas State Wildcats (18-9, 6-6 Big 12 Conference)
Streak: Won 2
Last Game: Defeated Oklahoma 77-62
G Jacob Pullen (leads the Wildcats and ranks second in the Big 12 at 19.4 ppg) Sr. 6-0 200
G Rodney McGruder (averages 11.0 ppg and 5.7 rpg, shoots 43% from 3-point range) So. 6-4 205
G Shane Southwell (only freshman in starting lineup) Fr. 6-6 220
F Jamar Samuels (averaging 9.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest) Jr. 6-7 220
F Curtis Kelly (averaging 8.6 ppg and 5.7 rpg) Sr. 6-8 239

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (18-8, 6-6 Big 12 Conference)
Streak: Won 3
Last Game: Defeated Texas 70-67
G Lance Jeter (Top 5 in Big 12 in assists, steals and A/TO ratio (2.4-to-1)) Sr. 6-3 222
G Brandon Richardson (scored 15 points against No. 3 Texas) Jr. 6-0 190
G Caleb Walker (has three games with at least 10 rebounds this season) Jr. 6-4 205
G Toney McCray (has scored in double figures in 4 of past 5 games) Jr. 6-6 210
F Jorge Brian Diaz (had season high in 17 points and 3 blocks at Oklahoma) So. 6-11 245

Be physical

In Nebraska's 16-point loss to Kansas State earlier this season in Manhattan, NU head coach Doc Sadler it was the only the second time his team had been completely out-worked by an opponent in his five seasons with the Huskers. The Wildcats dominated the rebounding department on both ends of the floor, and they made more free throws than Nebraska shot the entire game. With all that's riding on this game for both teams, it's needless to say that the Huskers need to leave everything on the court and be the aggressor on every single possession.
Hang to the ball

While Kansas State pretty much beat Nebraska in every aspect in the first meeting, one area that stood out more than any other were the turnovers. When all was said and done, the Huskers had turned the ball over a season-high 22 times, their most since - you guessed it - committing 20 at Kansas State the season before. Against a team as opportunistic as the Wildcats, Nebraska will have to as careful as ever with the basketball and make sure not to give KSU any easy scoring opportunities off of turnovers.
Get big

Nebraska will have one big weapon at its disposal that wasn't available in the first game against Kansas State. After missing the first meeting with K-State with an ankle injury, 6-foot-10, 320-pound junior center Andre Almeida will be back in the lineup for tonight's rematch. Earlier this week, KSU head coach Frank Martin said the Huskers' were a completely different team with Almeida on the floor, and don't be surprised if he uses a smaller lineup to try and keep Almeida off the court as much as possible.

Head coach Doc Sadler on Nebraska pushing for an NCAA Tournament berth:

"The thing we started talking about two weeks ago was that we have to start giving two percent more-everybody has to. That's it. We can't get caught up in all that. I told the team after the (Texas) game, 'Enjoy it. Enjoy it tomorrow, however long you want to enjoy it. But Monday, you have to come back and get ready to play, because this team you're going to play Wednesday night - as good as we feel right now, we're going to have to play as good if not a little bit better to win Wednesday night.' You're talking about a team that completely destroyed us over there and made us turn it over 22 times."
Junior guard Toney McCray on making it through the final four regular-season games:

"(The NCAA Tournament) is our ultimate goal, but this league is so good, it is hard to just look past them. (Texas) was a big win, but the next one is bigger. The game after that, even bigger. We enjoy this. This league is too good to overlook anybody."

Nebraska 65-62

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