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Nebrasketball: Indiana Hoosiers Preview

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska Cornhuskers continue a two game road stand this afternoon against the Indiana Hoosiers. The Huskers also begin a two-game stretch of early Big Ten conference action with the matchup, becoming the first league team to face off against IU in head coach and alum Mike Woodson’s first season at the helm.

UNL enters the matchup at 5-3, coming off a four-overtime loss to NC State on Wednesday night as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. In fact, Nebraska’s game against NC State marked the longest Big Ten game in the last decade. Only three other Big Ten games had reached triple overtime dating back to the start of the 2011-12 season. The Hoosiers come into the game at 6-1 after falling in a double-overtime matchup at Syracuse Tuesday night in the team’s own Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup.

The game today marks the first time former NBA coaches Fred Hoiberg and Mike Woodson face off against each other. While both spent stints at the helm of NBA franchises, the Chicago Bulls from 2015-2018, and Woodson twice with the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-2010 then again with the New York Knicks from 2012-2014, neither has faced off against the other as head coach.

Overall, the two teams are becoming familiar with one another to start the season. Nebraska will have opened league play at Indiana twice in the past three seasons with today’s game, having done so last in 2019-20. With today’s game, the teams have also started Big Ten play against one another four times since the 2014-15 season (2014-15, 2016-17, 2019-20). Last year’s matchup on Jan. 10 was an eight point defeat for the Huskers, but following the game a nearly month long pause followed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the roster and coaching staff.

When: Saturday, Dec. 4 at 11:01 a.m. CST/12:01 p.m. EST
Where: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (17,222) - Bloomington, Indiana

TV: Big Ten Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Live/Fox Sports App
Announcers: Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), Stephen Bardo (analyst)

Radio: Huskers Radio Network
Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka
Analyst: Jake Muhleisen

Broadcast Stations: KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KKCD (105.9 FM) in Omaha, KHYY (106.9 FM) in Scottsbluff, and KAMI (1580 AM) in Lexington
Also available on and the Huskers app.

Line: DraftKings has Indiana as an 11.5 point favorite.

The Hoosiers, as mentioned above come, into today’s matchup after suffering the team’s first loss of the season. Honestly, the only noteworthy opponent for IU to this point that was a win, however, was St. John’s in the Gavitt Games and that was a narrow two-point home victory. [Please note: Should any Hoosier fan read this and become offended by my schedule criticism then please refer to my own criticisms of Nebraska’s non-conference schedule before angrily chastising me.]

The Hoosiers have been impressive on offense so far this season, however. IU is averaging 82.1 points per game while shooting 51 percent from the floor. On the defensive end, Indiana is holding opponents 65.0 points per game and just 35 percent shooting, including 29 percent from three-point range. I might be inclined to break the down by Power Six opponents, but IU has played just two and one was a double-overtime matchup that would heavily skew the number even more meaningless than it is by such a small sample size.

As for the roster, by now more than familiar junior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis is one of the Big Ten’s top big men. He leads IU in scoring with 22.0 points per game (ppg) on 67 percent shooting from the field, leads in rebounding with 8.9 rebounds per game (rpg), and in blocked shots with 3.7 blocks per game (bpg). Two other Hoosiers join him in averaging double figures for scoring. Those include senior guard Xavier Johnson, a Pitt transfer, who is averaging 10.7 ppg, and leads Indiana with 4.6 assists per game (apg), while familiar foe, though in different uniform colors, senior forward Miller Kopp is averaging 10.1 ppg while shooting an impressive for a big man 39 percent from three-point range. Kopp is of course a Northwestern transfer with the Hoosiers this season.

Also of note is that Johnson was a former Husker recruit who signed with Nebraska in 2017, but later requested and was granted a waiver of release and ended up at Pitt. He played two seasons there with now Husker Trey McGowens (2018-20) before McGowens departed for Lincoln and lasted one more season himself with the Panthers before moving to Bloomington. Hopefully the two will be able to face off again, this time as opponents, when IU comes to Pinnacle Bank Arena on Jan. 17.

Mike Woodson leads IU on the sideline as head coach this year after Archie Miller was fired following last season. The former Indiana All-American returned to his alma mater after coaching in the NBA as a head coach or assistant coach since 1996. Woodson spent eight-plus seasons as an NBA head coach. He guided his teams to a trio of Eastern Conference semifinal appearances (2009, 2010, 2013) during his head coaching tenure. Woodson was the 1980 Big Ten player of the Year at IU on a team that won the league title that season and also featured Isiah Thomas on the roster. Woodson also was a key player on the team that won the 1979 NIT title. He went on to play 11 seasons in the NBA after his college career.

Tonight’s matchup is the 24 all-time meeting between the Huskers and the Hoosiers, and also marks the 15th meeting of the two teams as Big Ten opponents. Nebraska trails Indiana 16-7 in the all-time series, but is a more competitive 6-8 since joining the Big Ten. In fact, during regular season Big Ten action, Nebraska is 6-7 against IU. In the Big Ten Tournament, the Huskers faced the Hoosiers in what would become one of the final games of the 2019-20 season in the Big Ten Tournament as well, falling to them before the college hoops season came to a premature end the following day as the COVID-19 pandemic took root in the United States. UNL currently is on a four-game losing streak to IU dating to the start of the 2019-20 season.

2021-22 Record: 6-1 (0-0 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Mike Woodson
Record at Indiana: 6-1 (1st year)
Career Record: Same

2021-22 Record: 5-3 (0-0 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg
Record at Nebraska: 19-48 (3rd year)
Career Record: 134-104 (8th year)