Texas Tech Nebraska Basketball

Nebraska's Isaiah Roby puts up a shot over Texas Tech's Malik Ondigo during the first half Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo.

Western Illinois (2-3)

Player; Ht.; Yr.; PPG; RPG

G Kobe Webster; 6-0; So.; 19.0; 6.8

G Isaac Johnson; 6-5; So.; 14.6; 7.2

G C.J. Duff; 6-1; Jr.; 11.0; 1.8

F Ben Pyle; 6-7; Fr.; 7.8; 3.2

C Brandon Gilbeck; 7-0; Sr.; 9.2; 8.6

Nebraska (4-1)

Player; Ht.; Yr.; PPG; RPG

G Glynn Watson; 6-0; Sr.; 14.2; 3.8

G James Palmer; 6-6; Sr.; 16.8; 3.6

G Thomas Allen; 6-1; So.; 7.0; 2.2

F Isaac Copeland; 6-9; Sr.; 16.4; 6.4

F Isaiah Roby; 6-8; Jr.; 8.4; 5.8

Scouting: Western Illinois has a nice inside-out combination in sophomore guard Kobe Webster and senior center Brandon Gilbeck. Webster is averaging 19 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and scored 24 against Creighton in the teams' season-opener. The 7-foot Gilbeck is averaging close to a double-double at 9.2 points and 8.6 rebounds, and perhaps more importantly, is second in the nation in blocked shots per game and total blocked shots. For a Nebraska team that struggled to score in the paint against Texas Tech, Gilbeck, who was the 2017-18 Summit League defensive player of the year, could present a major roadblock in getting the ball inside.

Trending: Nebraska assistant Jim Molinari was Western Illinois' head coach from 2008-14, which played a large role in getting this game scheduled. It's a dangerous spot for the Huskers, who play at Clemson on Monday, then have nearly a week off before hosting Illinois, playing at Minnesota, hosting Creighton and playing Oklahoma State at a neutral site in the span of 15 days. Coming off a disappointing defeat, and with several big tests looming, Nebraska's ability to take care of business against a team ranked 233rd in KenPom is vital. The Leathernecks are the lowest-ranked KenPom team (Division II Southwest Minnesota State isn't ranked) remaining on Nebraska's schedule.

Forecasting: Western Illinois' two wins are against North Park University and Dominican (Illinois) University, a pair of NCAA Division III schools, and their last two losses have come by two points in overtime, and two points in a game it led by 10 with four minutes left. The third defeat is a 78-67 loss to Creighton in the season-opener in Omaha. The Leathernecks led that game by eight midway through the first half, as Webster scored 24, and Gilbeck blocked seven shots. This isn't the typical nonconference cupcake. Nebraska will need to be sharp.

— Chris Basnett

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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