clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Nebraska at Indiana: Big Ten opener preview, odds, stats, and more

New, 16 comments

The Hoosiers start their Big Ten slate with lowly Nebraska before facing Louisville this weekend in Indianapolis. Trap game?

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info / How to Watch:

Who? #16 Indiana Hoosiers (10-2, #15 KenPom) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-6, #97 KenPom)

When? Wednesday, December 28th, 6:30 PM, BTN

Where? Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana

Vegas? TBA

Pomeroy? Hoosiers by 15, 91% chance of Indiana victory

_____________________________________________________

The end of long, topsy-turvy non-conference season is drawing near. Saturday, Indiana will face Louisville in Indianapolis in a Top-25 matchup that will probably dictate whether the non-conference season is viewed as a wild success with a minor setback, or an up-and-down couple of months with mixed results. It may be the difference between a potential one- or two-seed and being relegated to the four or five line, even with a Big Ten Championship, like last season.

But first, Indiana faces Nebraska in Bloomington in an odd scheduling twist that has Big Ten play beginning before the non-conference slate ends. Is it a trap game?

Probably not.

HERE WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FACTORS?


eFG% TO% OR% FT Rate
INDIANA (#10 Adj. Offense) 60.1 (3rd) 21.5 (301st) 40.7 (5th) 39.7 (85th)
NEBRASKA (#59 Adj. Defense) 50.1 (182nd)
20.1 (116th)
28.9 (140th) 32.8 (135th)

eFG% TO% OR% FT Rate
INDIANA (#36 Adj. Defense) 42.5 (10th) 16.2 (314th) 25.7 (50th) 33.0 (89th)
NEBRASKA (#188 Adj. Offense) 44.9 (313th) 19.0 (164th) 33.0 (88th) 31.2 (256th)

Throughout the non-conference, there has been some concern about Indiana's 3-point shooting. Over the past several years, we've become accustomed to seeing threes rain down from every nook and cranny of every gym the Hoosiers stepped into. This season, the shooting had been lackluster, to say the least. But since the Butler loss, Indiana has started pouring in the long balls again, shooting 50% (26-for-52) against Delaware State and Austin Peay. Perhaps it was the opponents more than who Indiana really is. Nonetheless, we'll get an opportunity to see if they can sustain that success from behind the arc against a more-than-competent Nebraska defense.

As for the Huskers, there's nothing that really jumps off the paper at you other than the fact that their defense is decent as a whole. However, they don't appear to do anything particularly well. Things are worse on the offensive side of the ball, where the Huskers are not much unlike some of the sub-300 offenses that Indiana has seen in the non-conference.

The only reasons to think Nebraska can hang with Indiana on Wednesday would be if Indiana's players ate too much over the weekend and are weighed down, or if they are caught looking ahead to Louisville. KenPom predicts, as of this moment, that Nebraska will win three Big Ten games (all at home, over Iowa, Penn State, and Illinois) by a combined five points. If the Hoosiers bring even their C-game on Wednesday, this one should be a breeze.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • Thomas Bryant vs. McVeigh, Morrow, and Jacobson: Nebraska starts three players (all sophomores) 6'7" or taller, Jack McVeigh (6'8"), Ed Morrow (6'7"), and Michael Jacboson (6'9"). However, Morrow doesn't really play the 3-spot. McVeigh seems to fill that role, having attempted 61 three-point field goals this season. Jacobson had attempted 20, while Morrow has yet to fire one up. This makes the Nebraska lineup slightly unorthodox and presents opportunity for mis-matches, or, at the very least, the potential for Thomas Bryant to end up guarding the wrong one, or vice-versa. Bryant has become such a better defender, however, that these mixed-up matchups might favor Indiana much more than Nebraska, even if Bryant ends up guarding McVeigh on some possessions. In fact, Bryant may be in good shape either way if Jacobson gets switched off of him. McVeigh gives up two inches and 30 pounds to Bryant and Morrow gives up 3 inches. If Bryant gets a matchup with either McVeigh or Morrow, look for the big man to pound it inside for an easy bucket, get to the line, or get doubled and open up some Indiana shooters.
  • The Afterparty: Utah and Indiana in the Foster Farms Bowl. Honestly, there are not a lot of basketball matchups to watch for, and, other than the outcome of the basketball and football games, the thing I'm most interested in seeing on Wednesday is whether the coordination between the programs (the basketball game's start time was moved up so that fans could watch both, and there will be a watch-party in Assembly Hall after the basketball game ends) results in some increased enthusiasm for the bowl game. One way we'll be able to tell is by seeing how many people stay inside the Assembly Hall to watch at least part of the football game.
  • Tim Miles: Just three years ago, Tim Miles was a coach on the rise. He took a program with no basketball history and made them competitive enough to win games they never should have won in the Big Ten. Those who scoff at tradition and old-school mentalities were pleased by his halftime tweeting. He was energetic and getting some results. But Miles is now 69-73 in four-plus years with the Huskers and his most memorable moments may just be a tense meeting with Tom Crean at halfcourt and getting tossed from the only NCAA Tournament game his Nebraska teams have ever played in. With Crean back across from him and the vultures circling what looks like it could end up being a 20-loss season, maybe we'll get to see Miles lose his mind and do something absolutely insane. Yes, maybe we'll get to see Tim Miles go all Fran McCaffery.

REGRETTABLE TRASH TALK AND PREDICTION

Indiana corn tastes good and makes any meal better in the summertime. Nebraska corn is best used to make ethanol, which doesn't work.

This one is a snoozer, and if Nebraska wasn't a Big Ten opponent, it would be yet another game that this blog would suggest you not watch. Turn it on in the background while you make dinner/snacks/cocktails for the Foster Farms Bowl. Indiana by 24.