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After both suffering multiple-OT losses, Indiana and Nebraska face off to start Big Ten play

After suffering its first loss at the hands of Syracuse, Indiana returns home to welcome its first Big Ten opponent Saturday. The Nebraska Cornhuskers come off their own heartbreaking loss against NC State this past Wednesday. After losing in four overtimes, Nebraska fell to 5-3 while Indiana is 6-1.

With both teams following multiple-overtime road loses, their emphasis will be on bouncing back and not making the same mistakes which cost them each close ball games. The Cornhuskers certainly watched the tape of IU’s first half struggles against the Syracuse zone defense and may implement that into their own game plan. Opponents implementing zone defenses against IU is something to watch for in the coming weeks.

Head coach Mike Woodson said he was disgusted with his team’s turnover differential against Syracuse. If the players weren’t already tired from playing 50 minutes of basketball, the sprints Woodson made them run in the practices following surely did. IU will continue to aim for no more than 12 turnovers per game.

Led by an offensive-minded head coach in Fred Hoiberg, Nebraska averages 80 points and gets half of that total from three players. Bryce McGowens, Alonzo Verge Jr. and Derrick Walker are all talented but the roster is top-heavy in terms of scoring. Their lack of scoring depth may prove costly against an IU team poised for an improved defensive showing.

As for IU’s offense, we’ve come to expect excellence from Trayce Jackson-Davis every night but can we see Parker Stewart and Miller Kopp become those compliments on the perimeter? I believe we can. It will be telling in the next few games to see if their confidence carries over. They benefited from good looks within a zone, but it’s time for them to cash in off man-to-man with ball movement.

IU has won four straight against the Cornhuskers including a 84-76 victory in Lincoln last season. Tip-off is at noon Saturday from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

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