Wisconsin vs. Nebraska, 1.29

Nebraska's Tanner Borchardt fouls Wisconsin’s Khalil Iverson (21) on Jan. 29 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. 

Tanner Borchardt knows.

"Husker basketball has been tough on the fans in years past," the senior from Gothenburg said Tuesday.

Borchardt knows, too, that the Huskers aren't closing up shop on the season just yet, even with five straight losses and seven defeats in their last nine games. And NU doesn't have to look far to see how one game can change the outlook on a season.

"It's not like we're not trying to do our best. We're giving it our all every night, and shots aren't falling. But if (the fans) stick with us, we're going to try and turn this thing around," the forward said. "We're still sitting pretty good, I think. If we can roll out some wins ... we can get into that middle range in the Big Ten. And the Big Ten is so deep this year that half the teams are going to make it."

Nebraska (13-9, 3-8 Big Ten) plays three of its next four and four of its next six games at home. The first comes Wednesday night against Maryland.

Tip is set for 6 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

After losing at Illinois on Saturday, heavy fog forced Nebraska to spend an extra night in Champaign before flying back to Lincoln. While checking back into their hotel, the Huskers stopped in the lobby to watch the final minutes of Indiana's upset win over Michigan State in East Lansing.

The Hoosiers had lost seven in a row and looked even more lost than NU heading into that matchup.

"It seems like, from the outside looking in, they were going through the same thing we're going through now," Borchardt said. "So just to see that they went in there and stopped their losing streak on the road in East Lansing, that's a tough thing to do. Props to them.

"I think we have an even better shot here since we're at home. I know we've lost a couple at home, but we've just got to take advantage."

Nebraska very likely won't win the Big Ten. But with the volatility the league has shown in just the past couple of weeks, there remains time for the Huskers to find a way to snap out of their funk. Besides Indiana's win, Penn State went on the road to win at Northwestern for its first league victory of the season. And Illinois followed up its victory over the Huskers by taking down Michigan State at home Tuesday night.

In a conference where anyone can beat anyone else on any given day, the Huskers have begun to ask themselves, "Why not us?"

"They're watching (the Indiana game), and we're like 'See? This league,'" NU coach Tim Miles said. "And they're all going, this league is so crazy. And it really is. But at the same time, we didn't say, 'That could be us,' but I think we were looking at it like, 'That could be us, man.' They're wearing red. And crimson and scarlet are pretty close."

Nebraska will take its next shot against a Maryland team that has lost three of four, with all three defeats away from home. The Terrapins (17-6, 8-4) got NU 74-72 with a late basket from Jalen Smith on Jan. 2, the first loss in the Huskers' 2-7 stretch.

"Here's what I asked the guys: Are we the same team we were 12 games ago, or whatever? No. So how come our attitude isn't better? I feel like our attitude is worse, not better. So we've been working on it. I just want a really hard-working team," Miles said. "At the end of the day you've got to have stone cold belief that you're going to do well in this league. And I did not see that against Illinois. That doesn't mean I won't see it here. I think the course of a game dictates some of that. 

"I've told the guys, the season is salvageable," Miles continued. "Andy Katz (college hoops analyst) told me. So I know it is. So we've got to go out and win some ballgames."

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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