The Indiana Hoosiers will close the season with one of the toughest five-game stretches in college basketball, and head coach Tom Crean knows tonight's matchup with the struggling Nebraska Cornhuskers is one of the only easy contests remaining on the schedule.
Everyone will be expecting a dominant performance by the Hoosiers to validate their No. 1 ranking and unfortunately for the Cornhuskers, there is not a whole lot they will be able to do to slow down Indiana.
This game will serve as nothing more than a tune-up for the Cream and Crimson. The only thing junior shooting guard Victor Oladipo, who is playing as well as anyone in the country right now, and sophomore big man Cody Zeller need to worry about against Nebraska is padding their stats for the postseason award circuit.
Senior guard Dylan Talley or freshman small forward Shavon Shields will be tasked with slowing down Oladipo. Neither will be successful.
In recent games against the Michigan State Spartans and Ohio State Buckeyes, two of the best defensive teams in the nation, Oladipo averaged 23.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and four steals. Expect a similar performance from Oaldipo tonight.
Zeller is back to dominating lesser foes as well after struggling at the tail end of January. In Indiana's last four games, Zeller has scored no less than 14 points, including a 24-point performance in the Hoosiers' victory over Ohio State. During that span, Zeller has also recorded two double-doubles.
Even if Nebraska's senior forward Brandon Ubel plays the best game of his career tonight, Zeller should have no problem dominating the paint against a very small group of Cornhuskers.
Indiana's defense will give Nebraska fits all night as well. The Hoosiers only allow their opponents to shoot 38.2 percent from the field, while the Cornhuskers are barely shooting better than 40 percent through 24 games.
Performing well away from the friendly confines of the Bob Devaney Sports Center has proved to be next to impossible for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are 2-6 on the road this season.
Several of those road contests were not close either. Nebraska were beaten by 15 points or more in five of those six losses.
Meanwhile, Indiana's only setback at home this year came at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers, who are now 10-0 against Indiana with Bo Ryan at the helm. Only Michigan State, the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Michigan Wolverines were able to avoid being throttled by more than 20 points at Assembly Hall.
If you are hoping to watch Indiana put on a basketball clinic then tune in to the Big Ten Network tonight at 7 ET, because Nebraska does not stand a chance of winning on the road against the top team in the league.
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