What to expect: Nebraska – Inside the lobby
Indiana opens the Big Ten Saturday afternoon when it hosts Nebraska Saturday afternoon at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
The Cornhuskers just suffered a 104-100 quadruple overtime loss to NC State in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Nebraska is 5-3 with two losses to Lincoln (Western Illinois and Creighton).
Saturday’s game will switch at 12 p.m. ET on BTN:
Indiana will be looking to bounce back from their first loss in the Mike Woodson era when Nebraska comes to town this weekend.
The Hoosiers put on a valiant effort in a 112-110 double-overtime loss Tuesday at Syracuse, but couldn’t get past 26 turnovers that led to 33 points for the Orange. The focus is now on the Big Ten game for two games as Indiana hosts Nebraska before heading to Wisconsin next week.
MEET THE CORNHUSKERS
Nebraska has revamped their roster again this offseason, hosting multiple transfers and a five-star freshman goaltender in Lincoln.
The Cornhuskers suffered an injury shot in just three games in the season when the guard Trey McGowens suffered a broken foot in a loss to Creighton that required surgery.
The Nebraska backcourt is led by Trey’s younger brother, guard Bryce mcgowens. The No.29 player in the 2021 class according to the 247Composite, McGowens is averaging 18.5 points and 7.1 rebounds in 35.5 minutes per game. He’s only shooting 25 percent on 3, but has already reached the free throw line 56 times in eight games. He converts 83.9% of his attempts from the tape. McGowens, who is 6-foot-7, already has four games with 20 or more points.
Joining him in the backcourt is the Arizona state transfer Alonzo Verge Jr. Verge leads Nebraska in terms of utilization rate (32.1%) and assistance rate (45.7%). His assists rate currently ranks second in the country. Verge is second on the team with 15 points per game, but is only 3 of 15 with 3 seconds. He also leads the team with 13 steals and is third on the team in rebounds at 5.8 per game.
DePaul Transfer Keon edwards started five games but has scored just four points this season and played just four minutes in Nebraska’s quadruple overtime loss to NC State. He’s 0 of 11 of 3 in eight games.
Backcourt save minutes go Keisei Tominaga, Kobe webster and CJ Wilcher.
6-foot-2 Tominaga, from Japan, has scored 39 points in the last two games. It is 10 out of 16 out of 3 on this stretch. Tominaga has made just two turnovers in 139 minutes and is shooting 38.9% overall over 3s.
Webster, who is in his second season at Lincoln after being transferred from western Illinois, shot 37.3 percent from distance last season and is 7 of 17 from deep so far this season. After missing the team’s first two games, Webster clocked a record 20 points in a Nov. 16 loss to Creighton.
Wilcher, a transfer from Xavier, is a 6-foot-5 wing who operates primarily from the perimeter. Over 70 percent of his field goal attempts were 3s and he made 12 of his 36 ranged attempts.
In the first zone, Derrick walker and stretch four Lat Mayen are the starters of Fred Hoiberg. Walker, a transfer from Tennessee, became eligible last season in early January, but appears to be much more comfortable this season. Walker recorded 50 minutes in the loss to NC State and shoots 80.5 percent over 2 seconds. His 10.1 points per game are third on the team and he is also shooting 6.1 rebounds per game.
Mayen, from Australia, made 48 3s last season but is having a bad start from a distance this season. The 6-foot-9 junior is just 7 of 26 off the perimeter this season.
First-year student Wilhelm breidenbach was a major recruiting victory for Hoiberg as he picked the Huskers over Cal and USC and was one of the 105 best rookies according to the 247Composite. The 6-foot-10 forward averages 3.5 points and 2.5 rebounds off the bench in 15.9 minutes per game.
Nebraska are a bad 3-point shooting team that emphasizes taking care of the ball and reaching the foul line on offense. The Huskers are 22nd nationally in revenue percentage (14.5) and 65th nationally in free throw rate (FTA / FGA) at 36.9%. Nebraska shoots 72.4% from the line and 56.3% over 2s, which is the 30th best in the country.
There is no doubt that Hoiberg, with his NBA background, will expand the pitch and try to tear apart the Indiana defense by exploiting clashes where he believes he has an advantage. Nebraska is playing one of the fastest paces in the country with an adjusted pace of 71.2 possessions per game according to KenPom. It is the 62nd fastest pace in the country.
Where Nebraska really struggled was pulling the 3 and the glass. The Huskers are only 314th nationally in 3-point shooting percentage (27.6). They are only 337th nationally in offensive rebound percentage and 307th in defensive rebound percentage. It’s a game Indiana needs to dominate on the glass and do a much better job of taking care of the ball than it has in recent games.
WHAT IT IS
Indiana is a KenPom favorite at 11 points with 83 winning chances. Sagarin odds also like the Hoosiers by 11.
(Inside the Hall readers in Indiana are eligible for a deposit of up to $ 1,000 in PointsBet.)
Indiana has a decisive advantage with Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson in the post and these are clashes the Hoosiers will have to exploit early and often. Turnover will continue to be a real concern for Indiana until an improvement is seen and right now Indiana is 293rd in the country in terms of the ability to take care of the ball.
Holding home serve is essential for Indiana if it hopes to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016. The Hoosiers have been given an advantageous home conference schedule with four games against all four teams clearly a lower level. to the rest of the league right now in Penn State, Rutgers, Nebraska and Minnesota. Considering Nebraska had one less day off and just completed four extra hours on the road, Indiana couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to get off to a strong start in the Big Ten.
(Photo credit: Nebraska Athletics)
Classified in: Nebraska Cornhuskers