Indiana basketball looks to go even in Big Ten play on Wednesday night, as the Hoosiers host the 6-3 Nebraska Cornhuskers at Assembly Hall. It will be an 8:30 p.m. tipoff and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
After last Saturday’s loss against Rutgers, this may just be what IU needs to get itself back on track, as IU enters a crucial stretch over the next couple of weeks. But Nebraska is no team to look over, as it has proven that it can win a road game against a really good team. Here’s a closer look at Fred Hoiberg’s Nebraska squad.
Taking a look at the Cornhuskers
It was quite the shock seeing what Nebraska did last Sunday, soundly defeating the previously No. 7 Creighton Bluejays 63-53. The Cornhuskers will carry the momentum from that win Wednesday night into Assembly Hall, so this team is not afraid of playing in front of a hostile crowd on the road.
The Husker frontcourt had an impressive performance in that game against Creighton, as Derrick Walker and Juwan Gary were not afraid to go up strong against preseason Naismith finalist Ryan Kalkbrenner. The two dropped 22 and 12 respectively, along with combining for 17 rebounds. So going against one of the best forwards in the country will be no stranger to Nebraska’s front court.
In the backcourt, Sam Griesel is a player who creates a lot for Nebraska. Griesel leads the team in assists with 4.9 per game, as well as ranking near the top 50 in the country in that category. With his elite passing ability and court vision, it will be up to the IU backcourt to keep an eye on him at all times to limit his impact on the game.
But Nebraska has also been impressive defensively to start the season. Yes, besides Creighton, the Cornhuskers have not played the gritty non conference schedule that other Big Ten teams have had to face. But holding teams to 63.9 points per game thus far is pretty impressive, which is only a couple points higher than what Indiana is holding teams to.
Keys for the Hoosiers
Seeing what Walker and Gary were able to do against Kalkbrenner in that Creighton game, IU’s frontcourt is going to play a big-time role Wednesday night. After a tough night from the field against Rutgers, I expect the Hoosier frontcourt with Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson and Malik Reneau to play a lot more aggressively on both sides of the floor and look to provide the bulk of the scoring.
I also think taking care of the ball on offense needs to be at the top of the priority list for the Hoosiers in this game. In Nebraska’s game against Florida State, the Huskers forced the Seminoles into 19 turnovers, resulting in a decisive 75-58 victory for Nebraska. Xavier Johnson had six of Indiana’s 14 turnovers against Rutgers last Saturday, and I’m looking for him to be much more careful with the ball Wednesday night.
And lastly, I’m looking to see how Indiana’s energy remains throughout the game. Yes, we know this team will be excited to get back out on the floor in front of its home crowd, but will that same fire the Hoosiers have shown stay the same if they are up big at any point in the game? This is certainly an important game the Hoosiers need to take before facing two top-10 opponents over the next two weeks in Arizona and Kansas, but this is a Nebraska team IU cannot afford to overlook.