Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
IU returns home to host Nebraska for the first time since 1974.
Current record Current RPI Current Sagarin
2011-12 RPI 2011-12 Sagarin Series: Head Coach TV
Indiana seeks its first ever conference win over Nebraska when the Cornhuskers play IU at Assembly Hall tonight. In ten prior meetings between the Huskers and the Hoosiers, Nebraska has won two games, both in Lincoln (in 1920 and 2012). NU is 0-3 all-time in Bloomington, and made its last trip there in December 1974, and the eventually undefeated Hoosiers won 97-60. Of course, more fresh in the minds of IU players, coaches and fans is last year's debacle in Lincoln, which played out similarly to last week's collapse in Champaign. Last January, in desperate need of a win after losing two in a row, the Hoosiers blew an 11 point lead in the final six minutes. It's worth taking a look at the postgame post simply to realize how far the program has come since then. There was sincere concern that the Hoosiers were headed for the NIT after that loss. And it still is a very bad loss in retrospect--the worst of the past two seasons measured by quality of the opponent and by the extent of the collapse. It's also Nebraska's best Big Ten win to date. Other than the IU game last year, Nebraska's Big Ten wins have come against Penn State (x3), Northwestern, Iowa (last year), and Illinois (last year). For at least the next 12 hours, the Huskers do hold the distinction of being the only Big Ten team other than Purdue with a winning record over IU in conference games. Let's hope that comes to an end swiftly.
Nebraska fired coach Doc Sadler after last season, and new coach Tim Miles at least has NU playing some respectable defense. Nebraska is #83 nationally, allowing .947 points per possession, but unfortunately isn't much better than that on offense (.96). In Big Ten play, Nebraska is allowing 1.02 points per possession, and is holding opponents to 29 percent from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, the Huskers are allowing 47.7 two point shooting, give up a lot of offensive boards, and don't turn their opponents over. On offense, things are significantly more grim. In conference play, NU is shooting 42 percent from two point range and 28 percent from three point range. The rebound only 25 percent of their misses, and the only good news is that they turn the ball over only 16 percent of the time.
The Huskers have a fairly balanced attack, with their top three scorers between 11.9 and 13.3 points per game. For the most part, however, they seem to be volume scorers. Ray Gallegos takes 8 three pointers per game despite shooting only 29 percent. Dylan Talley takes 4.5 per game despute shooting 34 percent. Brandon Ubel is the closest to an effecient scorer that the Huskers have, scoring 12.1 points per game on 9.1 shot attempts (he also leads the team in rebounding). Andre Almeida is a shotblocking threat.
There are no games off in Big Ten play, but after a five game stretch in which every game appeared to be a potential tossup, the Hoosiers now play two home games in which they will be overwhelmingly favored. I would think that last year's collapse and the still-fresh collapse against Illinois, not to mention the rivalry factor against Purdue, will keep the Hoosiers motivated over the next two games.