Indiana Hoosiers Preview
Date: Friday, December 13th
Time: 7:00 pm CST/8:00 pm EST
Location: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, IN
2018-19 Record: 19-16 (8-12 T-8th in Big Ten)
2019-20 Record: 9-1 (0-1 in Conference)
All-Time Series Record: 6-6 since 1949-50, so Nebraska is actually .500 against the Hoosiers. The Huskers are riding a 3 game winning streak right now, winning their single regular season match-ups each of the past 3 seasons.
Mascot: We’re not really sure what a Hoosier actually is per-say, but definitely open to arguments that it should be changed to Ron Swanson
Head Coach: Archie Miller (3rd season, 44-32, 17-32 in-conference)
Odds: Nebraska +17
How To Watch: BTN
The Hoosiers started out last season lightning hot at 9-2 in their non-conference, suffering a close road loss at Arkansas (104th RPI), and notching wins over Marquette (30th RPI), Louisville (33rd), and Butler (96th). However, after winning their first three conference games of the season, Indiana went on to lose their next 7 games. The Hoosiers snapped the losing streak with an overtime road win at Michigan State (don’t remind me), and then lost the next five straight games after that. After a Thursday loss to Ohio State in the conference tournament, Indiana went on to beat St. Francis (PA) and Arkansas in the NIT, before losing to Wichita State in the quarterfinals.
The Hoosiers have had a great start to the season, sitting at 9-1 on the year so far. Among those wins are the notable victories of 80-64 over then #17 Florida State Seminoles in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge in Assembly Hall, a 57-54 win over the U-Conn Huskies in Madison Square Garden Tuesday night of this week, and a common opponent with the Huskers of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits 64-50.
However, their strength of schedule after ten games is a mile wide and an inch deep so to speak. Per ESPN, they rank 13th in the conference for strength of schedule (our Huskers are 14th), and nationally sit at 189th. KenPom is even more harsh, ranking their adjusted SOS at 253rd. On top of that, their loss was on the road to Wisconsin, and it was an ugly one. The Hoosiers extended their losing streak in the Kohl Center (dating back to March 5, 2000) with a 20 point blow-out by Wisconsin. However, they had a bounce back win over U-Conn Tuesday night, who is ranked 52nd in KenPom and was 6-2 going into that match-up.
As for the roster, the Huskers will have plenty of players to be wary of in this one starting with 6’9” 245 pound freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis. He leads Indiana in scoring with 14.1 points per game, in rebounding with 8.5 per game, and blocks with 1.9 per game. He is also shooting 62.7% from the field and 75% from the free throw line. After Trayce, there are three others averaging double-digits in points. Second in scoring is senior guard Devonte Green who is scoring 13.6 points while shooting 46% from three point range on 35 attempts so far on the season.
Junior forward Justin Smith, who stands 6’7” and iis 230 pounds, is the third leading scorer with 13.2 points, leads in steals with 1.7 per game, and is tied for second leading rebounder with junior forward Joey Brunk with 4.7 boards a game. Junior guard Al Durham rounds out the double-digit scorers with 12.7 points per game, shooting 51% from the field and 41% from three.
Also of note is sophomore guard Rob Phinisee, who has been hampered by injury early on causing him to only play in 5 games and see his minutes average 17.8. However, he was back for U-Conn and leads the teams in assists with 4 per game, while scoring 8.4 on 38% shooting from three.
Should we buy into the superstition of Friday the 13th with this game? Stranger things have happened. Unfortunately, it won’t prove true in this one. The Hoosiers will get the win and snap hopes of getting a winning streak in Assembly Hall going. Huskers leave Bloomington with the loss 96-75. But hey, this is why we play the game is to prove people like me wrong.