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Nebrasketball: Nebraska-South Dakota Preview

This border battle may heat up Pinnacle Bank Arena

NCAA Basketball: Idaho State at Nebraska Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska Cornhuskers hope to continue their winning ways when the University of South Dakota travels to Lincoln’s Pinnacle Bank Arena to battle Fred Hoiberg’s hot squad Saturday at 1 p.m. Following a 1-2 start to the season, Nebraska has won three straight contests – sometimes ugly – to improve to 4-2 on the season. The South Dakota Coyotes come to Lincoln sporting a record similar to Nebraska’s, following a 4-1 start to the season.

When: Saturday, Nov. 27 at 1:01 p.m. CST/2:01 p.m. EST

Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena – Lincoln, NE

TV: N/A, streaming on B1G+

Announcers: Jessica Coody (Play-by-play), Buzzy Caruthers (analyst)

Radio: Huskers Radio Network

Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka

Analyst: Jake Muhleisen

Broadcast Stations: KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KXSP (590 AM) in Omaha, KNEB (960 AM/94.1 FM) in Scottsbluff, and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington

Also available on Huskers.com and the Huskers app.

The pregame broadcast with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen begins one hour before tipoff.

Line: Nebraska -12 (Draft Kings), Nebraska -11.5 (Odds Shark)

South Dakota started the season with a 59-53 conquest of the Air Force Academy before suffering their only loss of the 2021-22 season, a 99-50 setback to Drake. Since that loss, however, the Coyotes have averaged 84.3 points a contest in subduing Southern (71-68), Tennessee State (83-66) and Presentation (99-58).

Following a 75-74 loss to Western Illinois in the season opener, Nebraska upended Sam Houston 74-65. Then, following a 77-69 setback to the Creighton Bluejays, Fred Hoiberg’s club has averaged just south of 80 points itself in wins over Idaho State (78-60), Southern (82-59) and Tennessee State (79-73).

Lee, who is 51-41 at South Dakota earned valuable head coaching experience at Division II power Kentucky Wesleyan before taking a coaching position under former NBA great Dan Majerle at Grand Canyon University.

As the head coach of the Panthers, Lee guided Kentucky Wesleyan to five NCAA Tournament appearances in eight seasons and reached the Midwest Regional final in 2012. Lee went 13-17 in 2018-19, his first season with his alma mater Coyotes. Lee then went 20-12 and 14-11 in 2019-20 and 2020-21 respectively.

South Dakota returned four starters from last year’s 14-11 squad and another four players that earned starting minutes at some point a year ago. Included in the latter group is Platteview (NE) High School’s Brady Heiman and Kanon Koster of Kearney (NE) High School. Heiman started five contests and played in 14 while averaging 10.7 minutes a game a year ago. Koster, on the other hand, started one contest and played in 20 while averaging 8.1 minutes per contest.

Junior guard Kruz Perrott-Hunt, who is averaging 14.4 points through five games, leads a trio of Coyotes averaging in double figures heading into the Nebraska contest. The 6-foot-3 Perrott-Hunt is also good for three rebounds a contest and has dished out a team-high 14 assists and blocked two shots during the 4-1 start. Xavier Fuller, a 6-4 senior guard, is averaging 12.8 points and six rebounds this season and has been credited with eight assists, a team-high five blocked shots and five steals.

Senior guard Mason Archambault is pouring in 11.6 points and pulling down 3.8 boards a contest. He has dished out nine assists, blocked three shots and swiped a team-leading eight enemy balls. Koster has played in four contests this year and averages 3.3 points an outing while Heiman has earned three minutes of playing time so far.

A pair of newcomers lead Nebraska in scoring so far this season. Freshman Bryce McGowens averages 17 points and 6.7 rebounds a game while Arizona State transfer Alonzo Verge, Jr averages 15.3 points and pulls down 5.7 boards a contest. McGowens has also been credited with 12 assists, five steals and three blocked shots. Verge, meanwhile, has contributed team-highs of 34 assists and 10 steals. Derrick Walker scores 9.3 points an outing while C.J. Wilcher and Kobe Webster add 8.8 points apiece.

South Dakota could give Nebraska issues on the boards. The coyotes have outrebounded foes 182-142 this year and own an 8.0 rebounding margin to sit third in the Summit League. Lee’s club is fifth in the conference in scoring defense having given up just 68.8 points per contest. Nebraska does take care of the basketball, averaging just 10.6 miscues an outing while forcing opponents into 16.1 errors a game. Nebraska ranks third in the B1G with a turnover margin of 5.57.

McGowen’s 17.0 scoring average ranks 10th in the B1G while Verge, Jr. ranks second with 5.7 assists an outing. Walker’s 1.3 blocked shots per contest is tied for 10th with Maryland’s Julian Reese and Hunter Dickinson of Michigan.

Nebraska upended South Dakota 76-69 on the road a year ago and is 33-5 against the Coyotes all time. The Cornhuskers are currently enjoying a 21-game win streak against South Dakota dating back to Dec. 7, 1942. Nebraska won the first battle with the Coyotes 30-25 on Feb. 4, 1911 and secured its largest margin of victory over the Coyotes 87-51 Dec. 11, 1954.

South Dakota

2021-22 Record: 4-1 (0-0 Summit League)

Head Coach: Todd Lee

Record at South Dakota: 51-41 (4th year)

Career Record: 205-122 (12th year)

Nebraska

2021-22 Record: 4-2 (0-0 Big Ten)

Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg

Record at Nebraska: 18-47 (3rd year)

Career Record: 133-103 (8th year)