Preview: Illinois at Nebraska. 4 p.m. today

Preview: Illinois at Nebraska. 4 p.m. today

Lineups

ILLINOIS (2-5)

Starters

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Trent Frazier So. 6-1 15.7 Wellington, Fla.

G Andres Feliz Jr. 6-2 7.4 Guachupita, D.R.

G Ayo Dosunmu Fr. 6-5 13.6 Chicago

G Aaron Jordan Sr. 6-5 12.0 Plainfield

F Giorgi Bezhanishvili Fr. 6-9 9.4 Rustavi, Georgia

FYI: Freshman guard Tevian Jones will miss his second straight game Sunday at Nebraska while still serving his indefinite suspension for a violation of team rules. Illinois coach Brad Underwood said he's still working in practice.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Da'Monte Williams So. 6-3 5.4 Peoria

F Kipper Nichols R-Jr. 6-6 7.3 Cleveland

G Alan Griffin Fr. 6-5 5.3 Ossining, N.Y.

NEBRASKA (6-1)

Starters

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Glynn Watson Jr. Sr. 6.0 14.7 Bellwood

G Thomas Allen So. 6-1 6.6 Raleigh, N.C.

G James Palmer Jr. Sr. 6-6 17.6 Upper Marlboro, Md.

F Isaac Copeland Jr. Sr. 6-9 15.0 Raleigh, N.C.

F Isaiah Roby Jr. 6-8 8.3 Dixon

FYI: Both Watson and Copeland are averaging more than 30 minutes per game. Roby's 24.4 minutes per game is the lowest among the Cornhuskers' starters, although none of them rank in the top 10 in minutes per game.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Nana Akenten So. 6-6 7.6 Bolingbrook

F Tanner Borchardt Sr. 6-8 2.0 Gothenburg, Neb.

F Brady Heiman Fr. 6-11 4.0 Springfield, Neb.

DETAILS

Site: Pinnacle Bank Arena (15,500); Lincoln, Neb.

Radio: Brian Barnhart (play-by-play) and former Illini Doug Altenberger (analysis) will have the call on the Illini Sports Network on WDWS 1400-AM, WHMS 97.5-FM, WDAN 1490-AM, WDNL 102.1-FM and WPXN 104.9-FM.

TV:Mike Monaco (play-by-play) and Shon Morris (analysis) will have the call on BTN.

Series history: Illinois leads 14-7.

Last meeting: Illinois won 72-66 on Feb. 18 in Champaign.

FYI: While Illinois has doubled up Nebraska in the overall series, the Illini hold just a 7-5 advantage since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten. Illinois is also just 2-4 in Lincoln, Neb., since 2012.

SCOTT RICHEY'S STORYLINES

Resting up

Today's game will the first of three for Illinois in a seven-day span. The Illini will continue Big Ten play on Wednesday against No. 16 Ohio State in Chicago and then return to Champaign on Dec. 8 for its game against UNLV. That coming schedule means no days off and dictated two days away this week for Illinois after Tuesday's 76-74 loss at Notre Dame. Two needed days off. "We needed that after kind of a really long stretch in terms of coming back from Maui and getting our biological time clocks reorganized and quick turnarounds," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. Freshman forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili said the two days off served a dual-purpose. "It was huge for our bodies," Bezhanishvili said. "Those two days off were huge not only for basketball, but also for academics. I saw a lot of people at the academic center the other day from our team."

Bring out the Bench

Nebraska's starting lineup returned mostly intact this season, with the only change being sophomore guard Thomas Allen replacing the since graduated Anton Gill. Even with so many familiar faces on the court at the start of the game — and for most of it — Underwood sees the Cornhuskers a little differently than he did a year ago. "I don't think they have maybe the depth that they've had on the perimeter," Underwood said. "They're a little different that way. Last year I thought depth was one of their big advantages, and they didn't lose a lot when they went to their bench." The Illini are going to try to use a shorter Nebraska rotation to their advantage. "Our mindset is establishing our defense right now and getting to their bench," sophomore guard Trent Frazier said. "Get their guys in foul trouble and try to make their bench play beat us."

Fight to the finish

One clear emphasis this week when Illinois got back on the practice court after Tuesday's loss at Notre Dame was how a handful of little things — particularly effort plays — made a difference in that game. Like the Fighting Irish going harder for loose balls or Bezhanishvili and Da'Monte Williams letting a rebound go out of bounds or Kipper Nichols' technical foul. "It's amazing how veterans come up with loose balls and young guys don't," Underwood said. "We stress those things. We talk about those things. We can't let our offense dictate our defense. It's got to be the other way around. We got flustered (Tuesday) night, and we lost our composure. We didn't have enough poise to keep fighting on the defensive end. We talk ad nauseam about that. That's youth and inexperience."

Prediction: Nebraska 81, Illinois 72

The Illini were able to put together a comeback attempt Tuesday against a similarly young Notre Dame team that's trying to figure out itself and how to finish games. Nebraska knows how. The Cornhuskers' starting lineup is anchored by its three seniors, and they're coming off a signature road win at Clemson. Returning home to a full Pinnacle Bank Arena — it's already a sellout — only gives Nebraska a clearer advantage. (N-G prediction record: 5-2)

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