It’s back home to the friendly confines of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Monday night for another difficult Big Ten contest against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Indiana will be looking to avoid a three game losing streak after losses on the road to Michigan and Maryland. With four of the next five back out on the road after this one, picking up a win over Nebraska is critical. The Huskers were able to snap their own two game losing streak (road losses to Maryland and Iowa) with a home win over Penn State on Thursday.
The Hoosiers will have their hands full in this one. Nebraska brings a lineup full of upperclassmen, and they are one of the more overlooked good teams in a deep conference race.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
Nebraska (12-4, 2-3) at Indiana (12-4, 3-2)
- Tip time: 6:30 p.m. Eastern
- Location: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
- Television: FS1
- Series: Indiana leads 12-6 (Nebraska won the last meeting 66-57 in Lincoln)
- Point Spread: Indiana is a 2.5 point favorite.
- Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)
Tim Miles is in his seventh season leading the Nebraska program. He has a career record of 392-321.
- Tim Miles and James Palmer, Jr. preview the game.
Indiana (KenPom No. 25)
- Juwan Morgan, forward, 6-foot-8, 232 pounds, senior
- Justin Smith, forward, 6-foot-7, 227 pounds, sophomore
- Al Durham, guard, 6-foot-4, 181 pounds, sophomore
- Romeo Langford, guard, 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, freshman
- Devonte Green, guard, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, junior
Key reserves: Rob Phinisee (G), Zach McRoberts (G), De’Ron Davis (C), Evan Fitzner (F)
Nebraska (KenPom No. 15)
- Isaac Copeland, forward, 6-foot-9, 225 pounds, senior
- Isaiah Roby, forward, 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, junior
- James Palmer, Jr., guard, 6-foot-6, 207 pounds, senior
- Thomas Allen, guard, 6-foot-1, 184 pounds, sophomore
- Glynn Watson, Jr., guard, 6-foot-0, 180 pounds, senior
Key reserves: Nana Akenten (G), Tanner Borchardt (F), Brady Heiman (F)
TALE OF THE TAPE
KEYS TO VICTORY
Slow Down Glynn Watson, Jr.. Although the Husker point guard scores 13.4 points per game, we don’t mean slow down Watson the scorer. Maryland’s Anthony Cowan exposed IU’s defense a little bit pushing the ball downhill and setting up transition points before the Hoosiers could get the pack-line set up. It was reminsicent of UMBC pushing the pace in their upset of Virginia. Watson, who seems like he has been at Nebraska since the 1990’s, has the speed to test IU’s ability to get back and set up.
Who Can Get Bench Production? Indiana’s bench production over the last two games has been historically bad. Hoosier reserves produced just two points total in the losses to Michigan and Maryland. Nebraska looks to its bench less than just about any team in the country, with bench minutes accounting for just 21% of its total minutes per game. This is likely to be an intense game, with fatigue possibly playing a role like it seemed to against Maryland. It still seems too soon to expect major production, but the Hoosiers could certainly use a boost from Rob Phinisee and De’Ron Davis.
Should They Stay or Should They Go? Indiana is one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the country. Part of the reason for that is an emphasis on getting back on defense. Nebraska is one of the worst teams in the country at giving up offensive rebounds. Husker opponents are getting second chances on 33% of their missed shots. The opportunity seems to be there if IU wants to take it. But will they, especially in light of the risk of Watson leading the charge the other way?
Attack the Rim. That seems like an obvious one with this IU team, right? Indiana has been uniquely efficient knocking down the two-point shot. But 57% of the points that Nebraska allows is from two-point shots. That figure is towards the top nationally. The Huskers like to extend their defensive and play aggressively out on the perimeter. That means if you want to score, you have to break through that pressure and get production off the dribble. That sets up nicely for what IU wants to do, but they have to avoid turnovers. The Huskers force turnovers on 21% of possessions. Indiana has been really strong taking care of the ball in the last two games, committing just seven miscues in each contest.
Feed Off the Home Crowd. Indiana needs this game in the worst way to keep any hopes alive of contending for the Big Ten title. The 6:30 start time is unfortunate, but the students should be enthusiastic once they arrive to support a team that they haven’t seen in nearly a month. Nebraska, on the other hand, has struggled in true road games. The Huskers are just 1-3, with losses at Minnesota, Iowa and Maryland. Their lone road win was at Clemson in the Big Ten / ACC Challenge. Indiana will need every advantage it can find in this one, and working the home crowd into a frenzy will go a long way towards that end.
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