Who? Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-4, #92 KenPom) v. Indiana Hoosiers (10-3, #45 KenPom)
When? 5:30 PM, BTN
Vegas? NEBRASKA -3.5
Pomeroy? NEBRASKA by 1, 48% chance of Indiana victory
It's the season of #B1G #B1G #B1G
It's finally here.
GRIND IT OUT POSSESSIONS.
THE KIND OF BASKETBALL THE PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY HAVE BEEN PINING FOR.
LET US #B1G.
Tom Crean has yet to come out of Lincoln victorious in two attempts since Nebraska joined the Big Ten and found out they also have to play basketball. If you'll recall (without vomiting), the Hoosiers saw themselves get swept by an upstart Huskers squad last year as Tim Miles brought Nebrasketball to sights unseen which ultimately resulted in making the tournament as an 11-seed before getting bounced by Baylor in their first game.
The Huskers have retained the vast majority of last year's major contributors but have been in something of a funk this year. KenPom had them at #36 at the beginning of the year and they've plunged almost 60 spots throughout the non-conference schedule thanks mostly to a bizarre inability to score the basketball.
Out of 351 Division I basketball teams, the Huskers offensive efficiency is ranked 246th. They've never been scoring demons under Tim Miles, but they're offensive performance so far has been unforeseen kinds of brutal. They're still playing elite defense, with the #17 unit in the country in that regard, making for a very interesting matchup with Indiana, who, as we're all well aware, owns a pretty stark split between their two units as well, with the 10th ranked offense and the 190th ranked defense.
So what is going on with Nebraska? For that, we'll need more numbers.
HERE WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FACTORS?
|INDIANA (Offense)||57.7% (10th)||17.3% (47th)||36.6% (45th)||38.8% (143rd)|
|NEBRASKA (Defense)||43.6% (44th)||22.7% (47th)||29.9% (125th)||34.8% (132nd)|
|INDIANA (Defense)||47.6% (130th)||16.8% (321st)||33.5% (250th)||26.1% (16th)|
|NEBRASKA (Offense)||48.7% (162nd)||21.6% (274th)||26.8% (298th)||45.9% (33rd)|
I'm sure Tim Miles noted how easily Josh Smith and Georgetown bullied their way to the rim against Indiana, but they (thankfully) don't have a certified hoss down low that approaches the size of Smith. In fact, their big dude is much more likely to step out to the perimeter than bully his way to the rim.
Three Things to Watch For:
- Can the Hoosiers score at the rate they're accustomed to? This is one of the stingier defenses they'll face all year, but Nebraska has yet to see an offense that's anything close to Indiana's caliber. We know the Hoosiers struggle to stop even bad offenses from scoring, so if Nebraska proves to be up to the challenge of shutting down Indiana's shooters, it could be a long night.
- Can Indiana stop a bad offense from looking good? Multiple times this year, Indiana has taken the court against some fairly bad offenses that suddenly found their rhythm and shot against the Hoosiers. As good as Nebraska is at defense, they're equally opposite on offense and it would be pretty neat if the Hoosiers could actually keep it that way for at least one more game.
- How will this young team handle a hostile environment? Tim Miles has done the seemingly impossible and made Nebrasketball something people get super excited for. Their practically-brand new arena can become a madhouse when the Huskers get rolling and the Hoosiers have yet to deal with any sort of overly-hostile atmosphere given that this will be their first true-road game. The ability to stay composed early and during Nebraska runs will go a long way in determining the outcome for Indiana. Last year they had a big lead on the road in Lincoln and as soon as the Huskers started to chip away at it, the crowd picked up on it and drowned out the Hoosiers as they made mistake after mistake before eventually losing a game they had lead by 13 at halftime in.