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Nebrasketball: Offensive Inefficiency Astonishing

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A defensive team at the start of the season, the Huskers have had to rely on good offense. Has it actually been good?

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Purdue Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Four potential All-Big Ten players all capable of scoring on their own, Nebraska came into the season with all the offensive power they could want. The “Big 4”, Glynn Watson Jr., Isaac Copeland, Isaiah Roby, and James Palmer Jr., was viewed as the arguably best starting lineup in the Big Ten. While everyone was healthy, did they have the best starting lineup?

During non-conference, it looked so. But it wasn’t because of offense. Their intense, tight defense turned into good offense. Besides Texas Tech, the Huskers had smart selection because of their defense. Then conference season began.

Since the Iowa game (1/6), Nebraska hasn’t scored more than 70 and has lost seven of their last nine. The Big Ten is known as a defensive league, but are other teams struggling like Nebraska? No.

In terms of points per game, the stats are deceiving. Nebraska ranks sixth in the Big Ten at 72.9 PPG. Before conference season, they averaged around 80 PPG. Not to mention, the field goal percentage is 43.1%, 11th in the Big Ten and only ahead of Northwestern, Penn State, and Rutgers, arguably the three worst teams in the Big Ten. Lately, Nebraska has looked worse than all three.

A whole team creates the team’s field goal percentage, but for Nebraska, their top player and primary scorer is causing that, more than any other top scorer is for their team.

James Palmer Jr. is ranked third in the Big Ten for points per game, averaging 18.9. However, out of the top 40 players in the Big Ten for PPG, JPJ is ranked last at 36.9%. He is talked about as an All-Big Ten First-Team candidate, along with the likes of Carsen Edwards and Cassius Winston, yet they consistently score at a 40% FG clip. Edwards also averages way more points per game than Palmer, scoring 24.6.

I love JPJ and always wish him the best, but when your lead scorer is one of the most inefficient Big Ten players on offense, the rest of the offense will struggle, as we’ve seen in the past nine games.

With Copeland’s injury, the offense will only continue to go in their infamous scoring droughts. Cope had a 52.5% field goal percentage, and ranked 20th in the Big Ten in PPG. His efficiency on offense carried this team offensively, especially against the zone, and now everyone is seeing how much of an impact his injury made.

Having no true center on this team forces a lot of outside shots, and no one on the team besides Thomas Allen can seem to make them.

A season gone wrong. Offensive inefficiency is one of the main factors that caused this. But let’s beat Minnesota at home.