For the good that Nebraska can take out of its 96-90 loss at Indiana on Friday night, there's also the other side of reality for the Huskers.
Namely, that NU expended a massive amount of energy in rallying to push the Hoosiers to overtime, and did so with a limited roster that saw four starters play more than 40 minutes.
Now, here comes one of the Big Ten's flagship programs in Purdue, having gone an entire week since playing a game, into Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Tip is set for 3 p.m., or, about 39 hours after the Huskers landed back in Lincoln at 12:15 a.m. Saturday.
"We're going to play a tough team coming here in just a little over 24 hours, which, it blows me away that they scheduled us this way," Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said on the Husker Sports Network after the Purdue game. "But it is what it is, and we've got to find a way to put this one behind us."
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The mental part of preparation might be just as difficult as the physical. NU played arguably its best game of the season against the Hoosiers, got a game-tying three-pointer from Dachon Burke with 1 second left, and still couldn't find a way to eke out a road victory.
Nebraska's players also put forth that effort with teammate Jervay Green on the bench after being suspended indefinitely just hours before the game for a violation of team rules. Green traveled with the team to Indiana. It is not known how long his suspension will last.
"In this business it’s hard. It’s hard to put a big, emotional win behind you and it’s hard to put a devastating loss behind you," Hoiberg said. "But we have no choice. We have to do it, we have to get back to work tomorrow, put a game plan together in a short amount of time against a very good Purdue team, and hopefully come out and compete the same way on Sunday."
After giving up 96 points to an Indiana team with one of the biggest front courts in the league, NU must regroup for a Purdue team that features 7-foot-3 Matt Haarms and 6-9 Trevion WIlliams, and will bring 6-9 Aaron Wheeler and 6-8 Evan Boudreaux off the bench.
"We know (the Big Ten) is one of the best conferences in the NCAA. We are all aware of that, and we know there are a lot of big, strong players," NU senior forward Matej Kavas said before the team left for Indiana. "But we are not afraid of any challenge."
It might help that the Huskers will be playing at home for the first time in nearly a month. NU's last game in Lincoln was the Nov. 22 overtime win against Southern.
"I’m excited to get back. We’re all excited," Hoiberg said. "It’s been almost a month since we played in PBA. So we’re all excited to get back in there in front of our fans and again, it’s going to be a tough one. Tough prep. Tough team, very similar to tonight’s game plan with their size, but even bigger than Indiana. But we’ve got to come out with the right mindset and hopefully give our fans — if we play like this, win or lose, I know our fans are going to be proud of us."
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