NCAA Second Round Preview and Prediction: Nebraska vs. Baylor

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The NCAA Tournament’s second round will host an intriguing matchup as the Nebraska Cornhuskers will face the Baylor Bears. Tip-off will be on Friday afternoon at 12:40 pm ET in the West Region of the tournament in San Antonio, Texas.

Team Overviews

Nebraska – The Nebraska Cornhuskers enter the NCAA Tournament on an at-large bid after a 19-12 (11-7 in the Big 10) season. Despite a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season, Nebraska had an overall successful basketball season for the university. Highlights of the Cornhuskers’ season include wins against #10 Michigan State, #17 Ohio State, and #9 Wisconsin. In having never of won a single NCAA Tournament game, Nebraska looks to make school history and attempt a surprising and far run in the tournament.

Baylor – The Baylor Bears went 24-11 (9-9 in the Big 12) to receive an at-large bid into the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Nebraska. Even though they recently lost the Big 12 Championship Game, Baylor has still been playing some very good basketball lately. Baylor’s season was an overall triumphant season, despite a poor stretch of a 2-8 record during the middle of the season. But when the Bears are hot, watch out; they began the season on a hot streak, and they ended the season on a hot streak. Highlights of their season include wins against #3 Kentucky, #8 Oklahoma State, and #16 Iowa State.

Key Players

Nebraska – Terran Petteway has been the Cornhuskers’ team MVP throughout the season. The sophomore forward led Nebraska with an impressive 18.1 points per game along with ranking second on the team in rebounds in assists. Pettway has shown that he can step up in big games, such as his performance against Wisconsin in which he scored 26 points and snatched 10 rebounds. The 6-6 star is the main contributor of a team that reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998.

Baylor – Cory Jefferson led Baylor in offense and defense by leading the team in scoring, rebounds, and blocks. He will need to keep up his impressive play in the paint for Baylor to defeat Nebraska. But as Iowa State recently showed in their defeat of Baylor, stopping Jefferson can greatly increase the chance of beating the Bears. There has been a trend in Baylor’s season in that way Jefferson plays has mostly determined whether the Bears have won or lost. This means that Jefferson will need to be at the top of his game during the NCAA Tournament for the Bears to advance far.

Keys to Winning

Nebraska – The Cornhuskers have not had a good record in away games, and this will have to change if Nebraska is to advance to the third round. Petteway will have to lead the charge on offense, and Shavon Shields will need to contribute on both sides of the court in order for Nebraska to win. Also, Nebraska may have a chance if they are to stop Baylor’s big man, Cory Jefferson.

Baylor – The Bears will need to utilize their overall talent and size in the paint to their advantage. Cory Jefferson will need to lead the charge of dominating in the paint by taking over with his commanding presence. Jefferson must find ways to get open and score, because he is a crucial factor of Baylor advancing in the NCAA Tournament. Baylor will have a great shot at winning if they are able to stop Nebraska’s top scorer, Petteway.

Prediction

Nebraska will not be able to keep up with Baylor in the paint, and the Cornhuskers’ inability to win away from home will hurt them in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Baylor wins 75-67.

Commentary by Glen Parris
@DoctorGlenbo

Sources:
ESPN
USA Today

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