The second act of Indiana vs. Nebraska is here as the Hoosiers continue to hunt for their first road win of the season.
The first meeting in Bloomington put the Big Ten on notice that these Cornhuskers are not to be taken lightly as Indiana survived 96-90 in overtime.
Things won’t be any easier in Lincoln, as two very different styles go head-to-head. It’s Nebraska’s small and fast Cornhuskers against Indiana’s big and physical Hoosiers, and it’s round two.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
Indiana (13-4, 3-3) at Nebraska (7-10, 2-4)
- Tip time: Saturday / 7 p.m. ET
- Location: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Neb.
- Television: BTN (Stream)
- Series: Indiana leads 13-7 (Last meeting: IU won 96-90 on Dec. 13)
- Point Spread: Vegas likes Indiana by around 5.5 points. KenPom likes Indiana by 6.
- Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Nebraska Statistical Leaders
- Haanif Cheatham (G) 12.9 ppg
- Cam Mack (G) 12.5 ppg
- Dachon Burke (G) 11.7 ppg
- Yvan Ouedraogo (F) 9.3 rpg
- Cam Mack (G) 4.7 rpg
- Cam Mack (G) 6.7 apg
A look at KenPom No. 133 Nebraska’s noteworthy metrics
- Hurry up and slow down – The Cornhuskers have a somewhat unusual tempo profile, with some of the shortest possessions on the offensive end (15.3 seconds / No. 14) while forcing long possessions on the defensive end (18.2 seconds / No. 319). Those numbers suggest that Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg is getting what he wants out of his teams stylistically.
- I’ll have another – Indiana’s 19 offensive rebounds against Nebraska in the first meeting were no fluke. The Hoosiers are good at getting second chances, and the Cornhuskers allow rebounds on opponent misses 34.9 percent of the time. That’s No. 344 nationally.
- No Husker handouts – Few teams take care of the ball better than Nebraska. Their 15.1 percent turnover percentage comes in at No. 7 in the country.
- Hack-a-Husker? – Nebraska comes in at No. 350 at the free throw line, making just 58.9 percent of their attempts as a team.
- Miller, Hunter, Green Preview Nebraska
- Hoiberg Previews Indiana
- Indiana’s History Behind the Three-Point Line
HOOSIERS NEED TO SLOW DOWN MACK AND BURKE THIS TIME
When Nebraska quickly erased a 13-4 Indiana lead in December and took the Hoosiers to overtime, it was two Cornhusker guards that gave IU all they could handle.
Lightning quick point guard Cam Mack scored 15 points and added 10 assists, while backcourt mate Dachon Burke led Nebraska with 25 points.
“Mack is one of the probably more unsung point guards in college basketball in terms of what he does for his team. He is a blur off the bounce and he’s a fantastic passer,” Indiana head coach Archie Miller said. “When they are successful, he pretty much dominates the game with his production in terms of not only creating shots for others but also his own offense.”
With the ball in Mack’s hands and all four of his teammates on the perimeter, the floor was spaced well for the talented point guard to facilitate in Bloomington.
Mack also pushed the ball up the floor aggressively and IU often struggled to stay in front of him and slow down the Husker transition game.
Miller knows what is coming on Saturday night in Lincoln — more of the same. And he knows that if his Hoosiers are not primed and ready to go, they can lose.
“They have our attention. They have our ultimate respect,” Miller said. “We weren’t good enough defensively by any stretch, and coming off of that game and now going into the second time, we’re going to have to be much, much better defensively in terms of how we defended the ball and getting back.”
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS TRYING TO GET COMFORTABLE IN BIG TEN
Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis probably knew it wasn’t going to be that easy every time.
But after a 25 point, 15 rebound first ever Big Ten home game in the first meeting with Nebraska, it looked like Jackson-Davis might take the league by storm.
Instead, there have been struggles as the Greenwood, Ind. product adjusts to the league’s size and physicality.
“He’s a young player who is going through a normal progression of the Big Ten schedule,” Miller said. “He’s not an average freshman that’s asked to come in the game and give you a role and give you spot minutes.”
Jackson-Davis had his lowest point total and minutes of the season on Wednesday night at Rutgers when he scored four points in 19 minutes of action. In three Big Ten road games he is averaging just 6.7 points, well off his season average of 14 a contest.
In Miller’s view, part of Jackson-Davis’ recent struggles stem from him being a focus of the opponent’s scouting report.
“Talking to Trayce, one thing I think young guys have to understand, especially at this time of year, is you’re a player now.” Miller said. “Not only are you a player for our team but you’re a player on the other coach’s mind; what do you do to stop him and what do you do to keep him from doing this and what do you do to keep Jackson Davis from doing this because he’s so impactful for our team.”
With coaches having some degree of effectiveness in slowing him down, Miller sees Jackson-Davis responding like a lot of young players.
“You know, he leads us in scoring, rebounding, free throw attempts, free throw makes, blocked shots. He’s a good player. I just think young guys get caught up sometimes in like, it’s not going well for me right now, I’m a little down, I didn’t make any baskets, we lost, blah, blah, blah,” Miller said. “It’s hard for a young guy to maybe realize sometimes the value that he has for your team not scoring, but just the value he adds to our team when he’s himself.”
Miller and Jackson-Davis have had one-on-one conversations since the Rutgers game about refocusing and moving forward.
“The bottom line is, players continue to evolve as the season goes,” Miller said. “Sometimes they have their ruts. Sometimes good players go through a couple games. But the best players always find a way to bring it on the biggest nights, and we need Trayce to bring it on the biggest night and that biggest night will be Saturday for him. He’s got to be aggressive.
“You never want to see a guy go through the dumps and let it carry over, and I don’t think he’ll do that.”
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