Indiana Basketball: Why the Hoosiers Shouldn't Overlook Nebraska
The Indiana Hoosiers (13-7, 3-4) will play a crucial game when they travel to Lincoln to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Indiana, trying to keep pace in the rugged Big Ten, is desperate for a win to get it back to .500 in the conference standings.
But, why should the Hoosiers even be worried about Nebraska? The Huskers are a mortal 10-9 (3-5). They should be no problem for Indiana, right?
There's more to Nebraska than meets the eye, and the Hoosiers must take their opponent seriously if they want to leave Lincoln with a win.
Huskers Love Being Home
The Huskers may have only 10 wins, but nine of them have come when they are on their home floor.
The Huskers are a tough opponent when they have their crowd behind them, which Indiana should already know seeing as the Hoosiers lost in Lincoln two seasons ago.
IU better bring its A-game or the long trip back to Bloomington will feel a lot longer.
The Huskers shoot a respectable 35 percent from beyond the arc. Deadly? No. But, it's good enough to cause opposing teams problems.
At times this season, Indiana has had trouble on defensive rotations on the perimeter, leaving teams with plenty of open looks from three. The games against Penn State and Wisconsin are two that come to mind. Luckily for the Hoosiers, they missed those opportunities (PSU was 8-of-23, Wisconsin 7-of-23), and Indiana was able to pull out victories.
The Hoosiers can't afford to have these types of defensive breakdowns against Nebraska. The Huskers don't pull the trigger often (third-least three-point attempts in the Big Ten) but are effective when they do.
If I told you the Big Ten's top scorer suited up for Nebraska, you would probably think I was pulling your leg, but you better believe it.
Since Big Ten play started, Nebraska's Terran Petteway is the conference's leading scorer at 19.7 points per game. He shoots 45.5 percent from the floor and and almost 50 percent from beyond the arc.
How Petteway goes, so go the Huskers.
If the play of Michigan State's Gary Harris and Illinois' Rayvonte Rice are indicators of how Indiana shuts down the opponents' best player, then the Hoosiers could be in big trouble. Each has played the Hoosiers twice, and Harris dropped a combined 50 points, while Rice lit up the scoreboard with 49.
Petteway is good enough to carry Nebraska to a victory. IU's Stanford Robinson and Will Sheehey will be tasked with slowing him down and have to respect his game despite the fact that he's not a household name.