Strong at home, Huskers no easy task for Illini

Strong at home, Huskers no easy task for Illini
February 12, 2014, 3:00 pm
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Vinnie Duber

One of the toughest places to play in the Big Ten is … Lincoln?

It’s true, the Huskers have been terrific at holding court on their new home floor at Pinnacle Bank Arena. And that could spell problems for the Illini, when the orange and blue head there Wednesday night.

The Illini haven’t had much luck away from Champaign this season, grabbing just one of their three Big Ten wins on the road. Though, the fact they have just three Big Ten wins should indicate they haven’t had much luck no matter where they’ve played this conference season.

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But even during the non-conference season, when the Illini were building steam and eventually — though briefly — appeared in the top 25, road wins were hard to come by. The Illini beat UNLV but disappointingly lost to Georgia Tech in the only two true non-conference road games. And the other non-conference loss was suffered against Oregon on a technically neutral but mainly pro-Duck court in Portland.

Sunday’s win over Penn State, which snapped an eight-game losing streak, was the Illini’s first win in a true road game this season.

And though Nebraska doesn’t rank among the Big Ten powerhouses in basketball, they’ve played well this season. The strong play at home has yielded just one loss in Lincoln, and that came to conference-leading Michigan. Nebraska has an underrated but legitimate Big Ten Player of the Year candidate in Terran Petteway, and the Huskers are coming off a quality win at Northwestern, their first conference road win of the season.

So the losing-streak monkey might be off the Illini’s back, but a game against Nebraska isn’t the gimme it might have appeared in the beginning of the season. It turns out no game in the Big Ten is.