The last time Nebraska came to Bloomington, a once promising season started to crumble.
Already on a two game losing streak, but still 12-4, the Hoosiers needed a win in January over the Cornhuskers before heading out on the road for four of their next five contests.
Instead, Nebraska scored the first nine points of the game and extended their lead to 25-7 midway through the first half.
Under the direction of head coach Tim Miles and led by a veteran group of starters, Nebraska would lead wire-to-wire and leave Bloomington with a convincing 66-51 victory. The Indiana loss was their third in a row and part of what would become 12 losses in 13 games — a stretch that completely tanked the season.
As well as the Cornhuskers played that night, their season went off the rails very soon thereafter too. As a result, Nebraska barely resembles the squad that confidently rolled into Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall eleven months ago.
Today, Miles is an analyst on the Big Ten Network. That veteran roster?
Only junior guards Dachon Burke, who sat out last season after transferring, and Thorir Thorbjarnarson, who played 12 minutes per game in 2018-19, remain as player holdovers from the Miles era.
The roster reconstruction hasn’t gone well thus far for new head coach Fred Hoiberg. “Nebrasketball” has reverted back to just plain old Nebraska basketball, at least for the time being.
KenPom likes Nebraska to lose each of their Big Ten games this season when analyzed individually, including at home to Northwestern. That makes the Cornhuskers the clear bottom feeder in the Big Ten according to that service.
With a cobbled together new group, Nebraska (4-5) has already lost to the likes of UC Riverside, Southern Utah, and George Mason, and it trailed last week to in state rival Creighton at one point by a 42-11 margin.
Although not nearly as dramatic, much has changed with Indiana as well since that January meeting.
IU’s leading scorers from that night, Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan, are both with NBA teams.
Langford played with a thumb injury on his shooting hand that would ultimately require surgery, sophomore point guard Rob Phinisee was a shell of himself as he tried to recover from a concussion, and De’Ron Davis could barely run up and down the floor with an ankle injury.
Meanwhile, Al Durham left the game with an injury after playing only six minutes. Race Thompson was in the midst of a nearly three month long absence due to a concussion, and the news had broke that very night that Jerome Hunter would miss the full 2018-19 season and redshirt.
How dire was Indiana’s situation on that night? A very faint buzz surrounded sophomore forward Clifton Moore and his five points. Moore transferred after the season, and the five points would be his IU career high.
Fast forward to today, and Indiana is fully healthy. For the first time since before the 2018-19 season, IU had all of its scholarship players in uniform and ready to play against Connecticut on Tuesday, and barring anything unforeseen, that should be the case once again when the Hoosiers face Nebraska on Friday night.
Eleven months ago it was the beginning of the end for IU.
With Indiana healthy and coming off of a promising win over UConn, and with Nebraska in the throes of their own death spiral, things look much different for both programs as the Cornhuskers return to Bloomington.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
Nebraska (4-5, 0-0) at Indiana (9-1, 0-1)
- Tip time: Friday / 8 p.m. ET
- Location: Simon Skjdot Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.
- Television: BTN
- Series: Indiana leads 12-7 (Last meeting Nebraska won 66-51 at IU, 2019)
- Point Spread: Vegas likes Indiana by 16.5 points. KenPom likes IU by 16.
- Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Nebraska Statistical Leaders
- Haanif Cheatham (G) 12.6 ppg
- Cam Mack (G) 12.3 ppg
- Dachon Burke (G) 12.0 ppg
- Haanif Cheatham (G) 5.2 rpg
- Yvan Ouedraogo (F) 5.0 rpg
- Cam Mack (G) 5.7 apg
- Jervay Green (G) 2.7 apg
A look at No. 158 Nebraska’s noteworthy KenPom metrics
- Average Possession Length (No. 16 / No. 248) — Nebraska is in hurry up mode under Fred Hoiberg with an average offensive possession of 15.1 seconds, good for 16th in the country. Meanwhile the defense is forcing opponents into a respectable 17.7 seconds.
- Offensive Rebound Percentage (No. 341 / No. 338) — The Cornhuskers are only rebounding their own misses 19.9 percent of the time, while allowing the opposition to snare 35.1 percent of its errant shots. Both measures are near the bottom of all teams nationally. With Indiana’s size and rebounding prowess, the Hoosiers should be able to dominate the glass.
- Free Throw Attempts / Field Goal Attempts (No. 5 defensively) — Nebraska is one of the best teams in the country at not putting its opponent on the foul line — something that IU ranks No. 2 at offensively and relies on heavily to put points on the board.
- Turnover Percentage (No. 32) — Nebraska is a guard oriented team and they generally take care of the basketball, turning it over just 16.4 percent of the time. Indiana forces turnovers on 21.4 percent of possessions, good for No. 88.
- Free Throw Percentage (No. 350) — At 56 percent, the Huskers are one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the country.
See also: Nebraska’s Fred Hoiberg discusses trip to Bloomington
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