IU basketball game day: Hoosiers need to take care of business at Nebraska

This is it.  IU can’t slip up now.

Indiana will play its third and final game of the season against a team outside of the KenPom top-100 when it travels to Nebraska for a Sunday night showdown.

After Sunday the Hoosiers will play 14 straight to close out Big Ten play against KenPom top-60 teams, including 13 against the top-45.

But IU had better not look ahead.  Nebraska has several new faces — and they are long, fast and dangerous.


GAME DAY ESSENTIALS

Indiana (7-5, 2-3) at Nebraska (4-7, 0-4)

  • Tip time:  6:00 p.m. ET
  • Location: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Neb.
  • Television:  BTN (Larry Punteney and Shon Morris)
  • IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Errek Suhr, Joe Smith)
  • Series:  Indiana leads 15-7 (Indiana won last meeting 89-64 in 2020)
  • Point Spread:  Indiana is a 7-point favorite
  • KenPom has No. 23 Indiana by eight points over No. 119 Nebraska

Nebraska is coached by Fred Hoiberg who is in his second year leading the Cornhuskers. He is 11-30.

See also:  Healthy Jerome Hunter working way back toward promising potential


MEET THE CORNHUSKERS

Via Nebraska Athletics

For the second straight game, Indiana will go on the road to face a well-rested team.

Nebraska battled against Michigan State in its last game on Jan. 2, cutting a 17-point deficit to five points down the stretch, but could not finish the upset bid. Nebraska put together its best offensive performance in conference play, shooting 49 percent from the floor, including 9-of-19 from 3-point range, and out-rebounded MSU, 31-29.

The Cornhuskers’ style will look familiar, but the faces won’t.

Nebraska is 32nd nationally in tempo according to KenPom as of Jan. 9. The Huskers are one of two Big Ten teams currently in the top 50.  Nebraska’s length on the defensive end has been disruptive during the early portion of the campaign and that has helped fuel their fast break. The Huskers enter the Indiana contest ranked third in the Big Ten with 7.8 steals per game.

The Cornhuskers are one of the worst shooting teams in the Big Ten.  They’ve made just 46.9 percent of 2-point attempts, and 30.9 percent of 3-pointers.  Nebraska has converted just 65.9 percent of its attempt from the free throw line.

Nebraska’s top five scorers are all newcomers, including three double-figure scorers. In all, 89 percent of the Huskers’ offense and 77 percent of its rebounds have come from players who did not play at Nebraska in 2019-20.

6-foot-9 point guard Dalano Banton is a matchup problem with nearly seven foot wingspan.  He is top-10 in the Big Ten in assists and steals while averaging nearly seven rebounds per game, which is also top-10 in the Big Ten. Banton has six games with at least six assists following his seven-assist performance against Michigan State.

Trey McGowens is in his first season at Nebraska after starting for two seasons at Pittsburgh.  He is shooting 45 percent from 3-point range and is 10th in the Big Ten in steals.  McGowens had a season-high 20 points and five boards vs. Michigan State.

Teddy Allen is a junior college transfer who is sixth in the Big Ten in scoring and second in steals.  He was the No. 8 JUCO player in nation by JUCORecruiting.com.  He averaged 31.4 ppg at Western Nebraska CC in 2019-20.

Sunday’s game gives a pair of Indiana natives a chance to face their home state team. Kobe Webster (Indianapolis) has played in all 11 games and is averaging 8.2 points and 1.3 assists per game, while Trevor Lakes (Lebanon) has played in all five games since becoming eligible on Dec. 17, and is averaging 4.0 points per game while shooting 46 percent from 3-point range.  Webster faced Indiana in Bloomington last season with Western Illinois, totaling 18 points in a loss to the Hoosiers.

Junior Derrick Walker will make his Husker debut on Sunday against Indiana. Walker, a 6-foot-8, 232-pound forward missed Nebraska’s first 11 games because of an NCAA suspension dating back to his tenure at Tennessee. He played 64 games over two seasons for the Volunteers and averaged 5.3 minutes in his most recent season, 2018-19.

Indiana assistant coach Kenya Hunter is in his first season on the Indiana staff. He was at Nebraska from 2013 to 2018.


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