Indiana Basketball vs Nebraska: Know your opponent, preview, prediction

Jerome Hunter, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Armaan Franklin, Indiana Basketball. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Jerome Hunter, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Armaan Franklin, Indiana Basketball. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

The Indiana basketball program is back in action at Assembly Hall looking to get its first Big Ten win of the 2019-20 season.

Back in Assembly Hall, the Indiana basketball program is fresh off of a trip to Madison Square Garden, picking up a win against non-conference opponent UConn, and now turns its attention back to Big Ten play.

The Hoosiers sit at 0-1 currently, but will look to improve on that record on Friday when the Nebraska Cornhuskers come to Bloomington.

Tim Miles is no longer on the sidelines for Nebraska and it has been a rocky start to the Fred Hoiberg tenure in Lincoln. Sitting at 4-5 on the young season, the Cornhuskers have suffered losses to UC Riverside (by 19), Southern Utah (by 1), George Mason (by 19) Georgia Tech (by 17), and Creighton (by 19) so far.

With just one player returning from last season, Hoiberg has brought his Iowa State ways to the Cornhuskers as he received commitments from five transfers, four eligible, in the offseason.

The leader of those transfers is a five-year, well-traveled senior in Haanif Cheatham. The 6-foot-6 wing has spent time with both Marquette and Florida Gulf Coast before arriving at Nebraska, but has played just 15 games combined in his last two seasons. Averaging a team-high in points (12.6) and rebounds (5.2), he is also shooting a career-high at 57.3 percent from the field. Taking some time to get adjusted to being the go-to guy, the Florida native is averaging 17.2 points per game in his last five outings after averaging just 6.8 points per game in his first four games.

Cam Mack enters as a junior college transfer, who has also spent time in the Stephan F. Austin program, and is off to a very solid start to his Nebraska career. At 6-foot-3, Mack is a physical guard who can judo just about anything you ask of him. Averaging 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game, he also averages 5.7 assists to just 2.7 turnovers a game.

Overall, Nebraska struggles to defend, giving up 77.2 points per game, ranked No. 320 in the NCAA, and allows opponents to shoot near 44 percent from the field, ranked No. 202 in the country. For an Indiana team that struggles at times to score, seeing a vulnerable defense from Nebraska could be a major cause for concern for Hoiberg and the Cornhuskers.

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Key storylines


After a very physical and mentally draining game against UConn, can the Hoosiers avoid a letdown at home? Devonte Green shot 2-of-10 from the field on Tuesday, expect him to come out hot, hunting his shot early. Nebraska has very little size, just four players over 6-foot-6 and the tallest being 6-foot-8, so look for Indiana to have its way on the glass and in the paint.


Can the Cornhuskers keep it relatively competitive? All but one of their losses have been by 15+ points. It’s the third straight road game, will it be a third straight loss with no real crowd to support them? Not a great shooting team, they can’t even rely on the FT line as they shoot 56 percent as a team. Can Nebraska force enough turnovers, forcing 15 a game, to get easy points in transition to offset its inability to make shots? Usually making up for its lack of shooting on the offensive glass, IU’s size is a cause for concern for Nebraska.

Key Players


Trayce Jackson-Davis (14.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg), Devonte Green (13.6 ppg, 2.9 apg, 45.7% 3pt), Justin Smith (13.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg), Al Durham (12.7 ppg, 2.9 apg, 41.2% 3pt)


Haanif Cheatham (12.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg), Cam Mack (12.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 5.7 apg), Dachon Burke Jr. (12.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg), Jervay Green (10.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg)

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Prediction: Indiana 78, Nebraska 68