First, covering St. John’s
But two easy home wins over low-major opponents doesn’t reveal much, and even St. John’s players are curious to get a real assessment of where the team is at, when it plays host to Nebraska on Thursday night at Carnesecca Arena in the third annual Gavitt Tipoff Games.
“This is no doubt the test,” forward Marvin Clark said. “If we come out, play well, compete and get a win, it would put a lot of things into perspective for us as a team.”
And on the Nebraska Side
Nebraska has struggled at the basket, and want to improve tonight. But most of all, the Cornhuskers are interested in not getting caught up in St. John’s pace.
“We’ve got to be poised and under control, but more disciplined,” [Nebraska guard Evan] Taylor said. “That’s a key word for this game.
“We don’t want to get in a pick-up type of game. We want to be like a veteran team under control. We can also play at that pace, but we can also play slowdown. So it’s going to be a combination of both.”
Additionally, the article notes that guard Anton Gill is questionable, as is freshman guard Thomas Allen.
Lincoln Journal-Star: Huskers face stiff test in road trip to St. John's
As Nebraska continues to get near the most daunting part of its schedule, Thursday's matchup could loom large when it comes to postseason hopes. St. John's is ranked as a top-60 team by most metrics, and should be a top-100 team by season's end.
"This is going to be a top-100 team we're going against, and top-100 wins are really important in the at-large process. And that's something we've even talked about with our guys, to understand that every game matters," Miles said. "It's very important to come out and get a big lead, and keep scoring if you can. Get out there and play from the front.”
The Daily Nebraskan: NU men’s basketball to face-off against St. John’s for first time in school history
One of Nebraska’s biggest surprises early on this season has been the emergence of sophomore forward Isaiah Roby. Roby is currently averaging 11 points and 10 rebounds per game, along with 3.5 blocks. His improved play has caused problems for opposing defenses, as his athleticism forces them to stretch the floor out and open up other players.
“Isaiah [Roby] is a guy that’s going to fill up box scores for a long time,” Miles said. “I think as Isaiah continues to gain confidence he’s going to get better and better.”
Thanks in part to Roby, Nebraska has gotten off to a strong start defensively around the rim. The Huskers blocked nine shots in both of their first two games. A pair of transfers have been helping Roby in the paint, with Isaac Copeland blocking five shots and Duby Okeke blocking three. Nebraska’s 18 blocked shots currently lead the Big Ten Conference.
Lincoln Journal-Star: Fast-break points: Nebraska at St. John's
Nebraska forward Isaac Copeland faced St. John's four times while playing at Georgetown, averaging 12 points and seven rebounds in those game. In his last matchup against the Red Storm, which came in February 2016, Copeland had 23 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Husker Online (Rivals): Huskers prep for first road test at St. John's
Considering St. John’s propensity to shoot threes, Miles said he’s overall been pleased with Nebraska’s perimeter defense so far this season. Miles said NU has done a good job eliminating the number of 3-point attempts teams have had by “chasing guys off the line”, but the issue is teams have still made those limited attempts at a fairly high clip.