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#22 INDIANA vs NEBRASKA: Game preview, odds, how-to-watch, and more

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Can the Hoosiers improve to 4-2 and show that they’re the cream of the crop?

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info / How to Watch

Who? #22 Indiana Hoosiers (12-4 (3-2), #24 KenPom) vs Nebraska Cornhuskers (12-4 (2-3), #15 KenPom)

When? Monday, 1/14/19 6:30 P.M., Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall

Channel? FS1

Vegas? O/U 143.5, Hoosiers -2.5

KenPom? Indiana by 2, 73-71, 57% chance of Hoosier Victory

After losing in tough fashion in what would have been a great resume victory at Maryland, the Hoosiers sit at 12-4 (3-2) on the season. Tonight, they welcome a darkhorse Nebraska team that’s looking to work it’s way up the B1G hierarchy.

Coming into tonight's first and only match up in the regular season, Nebraska has had a solid season featuring no bad losses but not stellar wins. The Cornhuskers only B1G wins have come against both Illinois and Penn St. while their four losses on the season come from a blowout defeat against Texas Tech along with losses all on the road against Maryland, Iowa, and Minnesota.

On the flipside, Indiana could greatly use the win to not only avoid a three-game losing streak, but to kick start momentum heading into West Lafayette on Saturday. After that Indiana will then head to Evanston to take on Northwestern in their first rematch of the season before heading back to Bloomington to face Michigan on January 25. While this upcoming stretch certainly is not easy, it definitely creates opportunity for IU to bounce back and earn some solid resume building wins.

But enough about the future and the past, let’s focus on the present.

Four Factors

After facing an offensive rebounding machine in Maryland, IU will see the exact opposite against Nebraska as the Cornhuskers are sub-300 KenPom in offensive rebounds allowed per game.

As for other overall teams stats, Tim Miles has this team playing great offense with a turnover % that ranks in the top 15 and and an eFG% ranked in the top 35. On top of all that, he’s also got a top ten KenPom offensive efficiency rating. However, IU’s still miles ahead when it comes to effective shooting as they still rank in the top 10 for eFG% thanks in large part to Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford’s ability to finish at the rim.

In terms of matchups, fans should be in for a treat as veteran and first team all-B1G player James Palmer Jr. will likely being Romeo Langford for a good portion of the evening. Both players lead their teams in PPG with marks of 19.5 and 18.8 respectively.

Finally, before we get to three things to watch for, Nebraska is currently lacking important depth. The Huskers have had their entire starting lineup on the court for over 45% of the time over the past five games, compared to Indiana’s 28.8%.

What to Watch for

  • Knock on Wood - I hope I’m not jinxing things, but, Indiana might have found their rhythm at the free throw line. The Hoosiers went 12-16 as a team against Michigan and a perfect 16-16 against the Maryland Terrapins. Obviously a team won’t go perfect at the FT line every night, but a performance of 75% or better as a team every night would be a much needed improvement to avoid playing games down to the wire so often.
  • King DeDeDeep - Nebraska isn’t the only team not utilizing depth well. Indiana didn’t get their first bench points until there were seven seconds remaining in the Maryland game when Rob Phinisee hit a pair of free throws. Specifically, I want to see Evan Fitzner and Zach McRoberts step up. As two of the three seniors on this team, I want to hear about them more often. I’ll cut McRoberts a bit of slack as he’s been dealing with injuries, but with Fitzner, he’s been one of four Hoosiers so far this year to have played in every game, and I haven’t seen much out of him since the Marquette game. Fitzner has only had FIVE points in conference games so far, not what you want to have from the kid whose supposed to be the three point machine off the bench.
  • Home Sweet Home - IU hasn’t played a home game with students in session since Louisville over a full month ago. With that said, Indiana has to take wins where they can get them and that certainly means winning as many games possible in the Hall. A part of me is concerned that this season could get away from IU if they were to lose this game, as they’d fall to 3-3 in B1G play with then having to go through @ Purdue, @ Northwestern, and vs Michigan, not an easy stretch by any means.

Prediction

On the brightside, I don’t see another loss happening. I think students will be eager to get back to the Hall against a respectable Nebraska squad. I also think the fact that Nebraska going 0-3 on the road in the B1G is a big strike against them as well this season. Hoosiers win convincingly: Indiana 68, Nebraska 59.