Huskers Head to No. 14 Indiana Wednesday Evening
Coming off a win at No. 7 Creighton, the Nebraska men's basketball team continues its early season gauntlet on Wednesday night, as the Huskers travel to Bloomington, Ind., to face No. 14 Indiana. Tipoff from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall is slated for 7:30 p.m. (central) and the game will be televised nationally on BTN and on the Huskers Radio Network.
The Huskers are in the midst of a stretch of playing three straight top-15 teams which culminates with Saturday's game against No. 4 Purdue at Pinnacle Bank Arena. In the initial NET rankings released Monday, Nebraska has already played four Quad 1 games, a total which ties for fourth nationally and matches the most of any power conference team.
|Game 10: at No. 14/11 Indiana|
|Date: Wed., Dec. 7
Tipoff: 7:30 p.m. (CT)
Location: Bloomington, Ind.
Arena: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall
On the Air
Radio: Wednesday's game will be carried on the Huskers Radio Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KXSP (590 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington and will also be available on Huskers.com and the Huskers app. The pregame show begins an hour before tipoff.
TV/Online: Wednesday's game will be televised nationally on BTN with Kevin Kugler and Stephen Bardo on the call. The game will also be available on the Fox Sports App
The Huskers (6-3) come to Bloomington for their Big Ten opener riding a three-game win streak following Sunday's 63-53 win at Creighton. Derrick Walker and Sam Griesel combined for 40 points and 20 rebounds, while Nebraska held Creighton to a season-low 53 points (previous low was 67 at No. 2 Texas) on 30.8 percent shooting. Walker led all scorers with 22 points on 11-of-16 shooting, dominating the matchup with Big East Defensive Player of the Year Ryan Kalkbrenner in the paint, while Griesel had 18 points, including six straight after the Bluejays pulled within three, a season-high 12 rebounds and seven assists, as Nebraska enjoyed a commanding 46-16 advantage in the paint and shot 52 percent from the field in the second half.
Nebraska has relied on a balanced attack with five players averaging double figures and a sixth at 9.4 points per game. NU has had four players (Walker, Griesel, C.J. Wilcher and Keisei Tominaga) post 20-point games this year, while Greisel became the fourth different player to record a double-double in NU's first nine games.
Indiana (7-1, 0-1 Big Ten) looks to rebound following a 63-48 loss at Rutgers on Saturday. The Hoosiers, who were without Jalen Hood-Schifino because of injury, shot 30.4 percent and were out-rebounded 47-33 by the Scarlet Knights. Indiana features one of the nation's top centers in Trayce Jackson-Davis, who averages 18.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
Indiana comes into Wednesday's game with a 7-1 record following a 63-48 loss at Rutgers on Saturday afternoon. In that game, Miller Kopp scored a team-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers, but Trayce Jackson-Davis was held to 13 points and 10 boards. The Hoosiers, who are shooting 52.1 percent on the season, were held to just 30 percent shooting, including 6-of-25 from 3-point range, in the loss at Rutgers.
Former Indiana All-American Mike Woodson is in his second season at the helm of the Hoosier program. Woodson returned to his alma mater after coaching in the NBA since 1996. Woodson spent eight-plus seasons as an NBA head coach, guiding the Atlanta Hawks (2004-10) and the New York Knicks (2012-2014). He guided his teams to a trio of Eastern Conference semifinal appearances (2009, 2010, 2013) during head coaching tenure. Woodson was the 1980 Big Ten player of the Year before playing 11 seasons in the NBA.
Indiana, which returned four starters from a team that won 21 games and reached the 2022 NCAA Tournament, rolled through its first seven opponents, including a 81-79 win at Xavier and a 77-65 win over No. 18 North Carolina. Jackson-Davis is one of the nation's premier players as the senior averages 18.3 points on 68 percent shooting, 8.6 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game. He is one of four seniors in the Indiana lineup, as Xavier Johnson averages 11.8 points and 4.6 assists per game, while Kopp is at 9.0 points per game and shooting 53 percent from 3-point range. Indiana's strength is on the defensive end, as the Hoosiers are holding teams to 36.4 percent shooting and out-rebounding foes by 4.6 per contest.
Nebraska and Indiana meet for the 26th time on Wednesday and the 17th time since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011-12. Indiana leads the all-time series, 18-7, but the Huskers are 6-10 against the Hoosiers since NU joined the Big Ten (6-9 regular season; 0-1 Big Ten Tournament). Nebraska looks to snap a six-game losing streak to the Hoosiers dating back to the start of the 2019-20 season.
Numbers to Know
.671 - Derrick Walker's career field goal percentage at Nebraska. He is on track to set NU's career record in that category. Larry Cox (.625, 1974-76) and Dave Hoppen (.600, 1983-86) are the only two Huskers with career field goal percentages above .600.
1.39 - Nebraska's point per possession total in the win over Boston College on Nov. 30. It was the highest PPP for NU under NU Coach Fred Hoiberg (1.36 vs. Doane on Dec. 17, 2020) and the highest since posting a 1.40 PPP vs. Creighton on Dec. 8, 2018).
4 - Through the first nine games of the season, Nebraska has had five double-doubles by four players (Derrick Walker-2; Juwan Gary-1; Blaise Keita-1 and Sam Griesel-1).
5- Nebraska's win at No. 7 Creighton was the fifth top-10 road win in school history and second for NU Coach Fred Hoiberg. The other top-10 road wins were at No. 1 Missouri (1982), at No. 7 Iowa State (1997), at No. 9 Michigan State (2014) and at No. 10 Wisconsin (2022).
9.6 - Nebraska is allowing its opponents only 9.6 free throw attempts per game. The Huskers have held five of their nine opponents to 10 free throws or less, including five at Creighton on Sunday. On the other hand, NU is getting to the line an average of 16.4 times per game.
13 - Nebraska is 9-4 in its last 13 games dating back to last season, including 3-0 against ranked teams. The Huskers are 4-1 in road games dating back to Feb. 28, 2022. A win on Wednesday at Indiana would also match Nebraska's longest conference road streak since 1920.
- Nebraska opens Big Ten play at Indiana for the third time in four seasons under Fred Hoiberg (all but the Covid season of 2020-21 when NU opened at No. 9 Wisconsin). Since the Big Ten went to its early-season December scheduling format in 2017, NU has opened Big Ten play on the road in five of the last six seasons (all but 2018-19). Wednesday's game will be the fourth time since 2016-17 that Nebraska has opened Big Ten play at Indiana.
- Wednesday's game will feature a pair of former NBA coaches with Fred Hoiberg and Indiana's Mike Woodson. Indiana won both meetings last season. Woodson and Hoiberg both spent significant time in the NBA, but their head coaching careers did not overlap. They are just two of eight former NBA coaches on the Division I sidelines this year.
- Nebraska comes into Wednesday's game with wins in its last three games against ranked opponents dating back to last season (at No. 22 Ohio State, at No. 10 Wisconsin, at No. 7 Creighton). NU's three straight road wins against ranked teams is already a program first, and NU will look for four straight ranked wins for the first time since a school-record four-game streak from Jan. 20-Feb. 10, 1999 (at No. 25 Oklahoma, No. 20 Kansas, No. 24 Missouri, at No. 24 Kansas). The current three-game win streak ties for the second-longest in school history.
- Wednesday's game at No. 14 Indiana continues a run of three straight games against nationally ranked opponents. It is the first time since the 2020-21 season that Nebraska had played three straight games against ranked foes.
- A win at No. 14 Indiana would be the Huskers' 75th win in program history over a ranked opponent.
- The Big Ten has six teams ranked in the Top 25 this week in either the AP or coaches poll (Purdue-4/4; Maryland-13/13; Indiana-14/11; Illinois -17/17; and Ohio State-25/23 and Iowa RV/24). In addition, three other teams (Rutgers, Wisconsin and Michigan State) are receiving votes in at least one poll.
- With more of an emphasis on positional size compared to previous Hoiberg-coached Husker teams, Nebraska has made significant improvement on the defensive end despite breaking in an entirely new starting lineup. The Huskers have held eight of their nine opponents to 70 points or less and have climbed 107 spots in adjusted defense in KenPom compared to last season. The Huskers have held six of their nine opponents to under 1.0 point per possession.
- The biggest strides Nebraska has made has been in rebounding. NU is currently sixth in the Big Ten in rebounding margin at +5.6 per game and has been out-rebounded once in its first nine games. NU is 71st nationally in rebounding margin after ranking 344th last year. NU has four players averaging at least 5.0 rebounds per game entering Wednesday's game at Indiana.
- Nebraska has been balanced during the early portion of the season. Currently five Huskers are averaging double figures, led by Derrick Walker's 16.8 points per game, while Emmanuel Bandoumel is at 9.4 ppg. Since 2000-01, NU has had only four seasons with four players averaging double figures (2019-20, 2018-19, 2013-14, 2005-06). The last time NU had five players finish the season averaging double figures was the 1993-94 season.
- Nebraska shared the wealth during the first nine games. The Huskers have had six different players lead the team in scoring (Griesel-Maine; Wilcher-Omaha; Tominaga-St. John's and Boston College; Gary-UAPB, and OU; Bandoumel-Memphis; Walker-Florida State and Creighton) and eight players score double figures at least once.
- Nebraska has done an excellent job of not fouling. The Huskers are fourth nationally in fewest fouls per game (11.6) as of Dec. 6. Nebraska has made more free throws (92) than its opponents have attempted (85), while one opponent (Florida State) has gotten to the line more than Nebraska in the nine contests.
- Nebraska has had five double-doubles in the first nine games of the season, by four different players (Juwan Gary, Blaise Keita, Sam Griesel and Derrick Walker).
- The wins by the Husker men (63-53 at No. 7 Creighton) and women (90-67 at No. 20 Maryland) on Sunday marked the first time since March 9, 2014, that both programs beat ranked opponents on the same day.
Last Time Out
Derrick Walker and Sam Griesel combined for 40 points and 20 rebounds, as Nebraska knocked off No. 7 Creighton, 63-53, at the CHI Health Center on Dec. 4. Walker led three Huskers in double figures with a career-high 22 points on 11-of-16 shooting and eight boards, while Griesel added 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists as Nebraska picked up its third straight road win against a ranked opponent dating back to last year.
Griesel, who had 13 of his 18 in the second half, scored six straight in a decisive run after Creighton cut an eight-point lead to 36-33 with just over 10 minutes remaining. His spurt pushed the Husker lead to nine, as Nebraska shot 52 percent in the second half and withstood a barrage of Bluejay 3-point attempts.
Creighton pulled to within 44-39 after Francisco Farabello's 4-point play, but Griesel came back with a three-point play on the ensuing possession, and Nebraska stretched the lead in the final minutes in picking up its first win over the Bluejays in Omaha since 2004. Nebraska held Creighton to just 30.8 percent shooting, including 10-of-40 from 3-point range. Walker had 22 of the Huskers' 46 points in the paint over the Bluejays.
Ending Streaks and Starting New Ones
Over the past week, the Huskers have ended a pair of significant streaks and come into Wednesday's game at Indiana with some momentum.
- The Huskers' 88-67 win over Boston College on Nov. 30 broke NU's three-game losing streak in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and snapped a five-game streak in either the Gavitt Games or ACC/Big Ten Challenge dating back to 2018.
- Nebraska's 63-53 win over No. 7 Creighton on Dec. 4 was NU's first win against Creighton since 2018, but first win in Omaha against Creighton since 2004, and first regular-season win against the Bluejays since 1995.
- Nebraska's win at Creighton was NU's first non-conference ranked win since 2007 when Nebraska downed No. 16 Oregon at the CHI Health Center in Omaha
Efficient Night vs. Boston College
Nebraska averaged 1.39 points per possession in its Nov. 30 win over Boston College, marking the highest total in Fred Hoiberg's four seasons. Boston College entered the game allowing just over 62 points per game and ranking in the top 75 nationally in defensive efficiency. NU's 88 points were the most points the Eagles allowed in regulation since UNC scored 91 on Jan. 2, 2022.
Trio of Transfers Making Impact
Nebraska added three Division I transfers in the offseason in Sam Griesel (North Dakota State), Emmanuel Bandoumel (SMU) and Juwan Gary (Alabama). The trio combined for nearly 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in their college careers before enrolling at NU and have made major contributions early on. They've combined for 31.0 points, 18.0 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game in NU's first nine contests.
Griesel, a Lincoln native, has enjoyed quite the homecoming, averaging 11.3 points, 4.9 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game from his point guard spot. He is fifth in the Big Ten in assists entering this week. The Huskers' first scholarship recruit from the state since Jake Muhleisen in the early 2000s, Griesel keyed NU's win at No. 7 Creighton with 18 points - including 13 in the second half - a season-high 12 rebounds and seven assists. Against Maine, Griesel scored a season-high 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds while also chipping in 18 points against Omaha. Griesel's 22-point effort against Maine was one of the highest-scoring debuts by a Husker in the last 50 seasons.
Bandoumel has been steady on both ends of the court, averaging 9.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while also pacing NU's effort on the defensive end. Bandoumel, who played off the ball for most of his time at SMU, has nearly a 1.7-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and matched his career best with six assists against Boston College. He had 18 points and five assists in the loss against Memphis on Nov. 15 and had 13 points and five dimes against Oklahoma on Nov. 24. He enjoyed his best game against Omaha with 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in NU's game-opening 11-0 run. His on-ball pressure on opposing guards has helped with NU's defensive efforts early on in the season. Bandoumel averaged double figures in his final two years at SMU.
Gary, who can be used on the wing or in the post when NU goes small, has been a disruptive force on both ends, as he averages 10.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and a team-high 1.7 steals per game. He is sixth in the Big Ten in steals and eighth in offensive rebounding (2.5 per game). He has reached double figures in five of the last six games, including 12 points and nine rebounds in the win at No. 7 Creighton. Gary had 16 points and seven rebounds against Oklahoma. He posted a double-double against Maine with 14 points and 11 boards, while he matched his career high with 11 rebounds in the loss to St. John's.
If history is any indication, it will be likely that one of these three will pace NU in scoring, as a newcomer has topped the Husker scoring chart in each of the three seasons under Fred Hoiberg. Of the eight players who have averaged double figures under Hoiberg, all eight have been in their first year of competition at Nebraska.
Walker Looks to Continue Efficient Shooting
Nebraska has been a much more efficient team since the return of Derrick Walker on Nov. 25. Walker, who missed NU's first five games, has been a force in the paint, averaging 16.8 points on 73 percent shooting, 9.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. The 6-foot-9 forward was NU's only returning starter and has posted two double-doubles in his first four games.
- Walker keyed NU's win over Creighton with a career-high 22 points on 11-of-16 shooting and eight rebounds against Ryan Kalkbrenner, the reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Walker's efforts helped NU enjoy a 46-16 advantage in points in the paint.
- He posted his first career 20-point game in a win over Florida State on Nov. 27, with 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting and matched his career high with 13 rebounds.
- He made his 2022-23 debut against Memphis and had 15 points and 12 boards in a loss to the Tigers.
- Over his last six games dating back to last season, Walker is averaging 16.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest while the six straight games in double figures is the longest stretch in his career.
- Prior to Walker's return, NU was 181st in offensive efficiency and 115th in defensive efficiency in Bart Torvik's T-Rank stats. Since Nov. 25, NU is 63rd nationally in offensive efficiencyand 59th in defensive efficiency.
- Walker averaged 9.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg in 2022, breaking NU's single-season field goal percentage mark by shooting 68.3 percent from the field.
- Last season, Walker was the only Big Ten player and one of just 14 players in Division I to shoot at least 65 percent and average at least eight points per game.
Tominaga Continues Strong Play
After a summer with the Japanese National Team, junior Keisei Tominaga continued his strong play during the opening stretch of the season. Tominaga, a 6-foot-2 guard, has been a spark off the bench, ranking third on the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game while averaging just under 20 minutes per contest.
- Tominaga is second on the team with 15 3-pointers and is shooting a team-best 42 percent from long range.
- He enjoyed the best performance of his career in NU's win over Boston College on Nov. 30. He tied his career high of 23 points on just eight field goal attempts (7-8 FG, 4-5 3PT; 5-5 FT) for his second career 20-point game. He had 17 of his 23 markers in the first half, including 11 straight NU points.
- Tominaga has been in double figures five times this season, including a team-high 15 points at St. John's and a 19-point effort against Maine. In that game, he connected on 7-of-12 shots from the field, including a trio of 3-pointers, and added two rebounds and a blocked shot in 20 minutes.
- He averaged 10.0 ppg during the three games in the ESPN Events Invitational, including a 13-point effort in the win over Florida State.
- Of Tominaga's 12 double-figure games at Nebraska, nine have come off the bench, including his other 23-point game against South Dakota last season.
- Over the summer, Tominaga was with the Japanese National Team, making his debut in the FIBA World Cup Asia qualifier in early July and then starred for Japan in the 2022 Asia Cup. In seven games with the Senior National Team, Tominaga averaged 15.9 points per game while shooting 39.3 percent from the 3-point line. His best performance came against Australia in the Asia Cup quarterfinals, when he poured in 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 8-of-15 from 3-point range.
Wilcher Breaks Out
Sophomore C.J. Wilcher was one of the Big Ten's top scoring sixth men last year and has moved into the starting lineup in 2022-23. The 6-foot-5 guard is averaging 10.2 points per game while shooting 44 percent from the field.
- He tops NU with 17 3-pointers this season and is shooting 36 percent from 3-point range.
- Wilcher scored all 14 of his points in the second half in the win over Boston College on Nov. 30, including a quartet of 3-pointers.
- He had 13 points in NU's win over Florida State, including a trio of 3-pointers. Wilcher also had three assists in the win.
- Wilcher was efficient in NU's win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 15 points and three assists on just nine shots. Wilcher was 3-of-3 from 3-point range, the second time this season he had at least three 3-pointers.
- He posted a career-high 21 points against Omaha on 8-of-12 shooting, including four 3-pointers. It marked the first 20-point game of his career.
- Last season, he closed the season playing some of his best basketball, shooting 60 percent from the field, including 50 percent from 3-point range, over NU's final five games. In Big Ten play last season, he shot a team-best 43.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Revamped Husker Coaching Staff
In addition to nine new faces on the Husker roster (six scholarship players and three walk-ons), the Husker staff also has several new faces this season.
- Assistant Coach Adam Howard comes to Nebraska after spending the last four seasons at South Alabama, helping the program to 75 wins in that span after the program had seven straight losing seasons. Last year, South Alabama won 21 games, the school's highest total since 2008. Howard also coached at Troy, Tennessee, Southern Miss and Morehead State after playing collegiately at Western Kentucky.
- Assistant Coach Ernie Zeigler comes to Lincoln after spending six years on Ben Howland's staff at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs had four postseason appearances between 2018-22. Zeiger spent six seasons as the head coach at Central Michigan (2007-12) and previously served stints at UCLA, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Detroit and Bowling Green.
- Emmanuel Tommy joined the staff as Director of Player Development. He was an assistant coach at Alabama A&M last season and had worked on the administrative side at both McNeese State and South Alabama.
- Two familiar faces in new positions are graduate managers Michael Bania and Payden Borders, both of whom worked as managers in the Husker program. Both graduated from Nebraska last May.
A Change of Pace
One typical trait of a Fred Hoiberg coached team is to play at a fast pace. The Huskers led the Big Ten in pace in each of the last three seasons according to KenPom, including top-20 rankings in 2019-20 (16th) and 2021-22 (19th). NU has been the only Big Ten team to rank in the top-50 in any of the past three seasons.
- The 2022-23 team has been completely different, as NU is 283rd nationally in pace entering this week's action. NU has had just three games with 70+ possessions in the first nine contests (St. John's, Florida State and Creighton). In all three of those games, NU held its opponent to under 1.0 point per possession.
Playing with Pace (Adjusted Tempo per KenPom)
|Year||Hoiberg-Coached Team||Big Ten Leader|
|2010-11||Iowa State (34th)||Iowa (100th)|
|2011-12||Iowa State (128th)||Iowa (70th)|
|2012-13||Iowa State (30th)||Iowa (95th)|
|2013-14||Iowa State (12th)||Iowa (29th)|
|2014-15||Iowa State (10th)||Minnesota (47th)|
|2022-23||Nebraska (283rd)||Illinois (15th)|
Three Huskers on NBA Rosters in 2022-23
Nebraska is well represented on 2022-23 NBA rosters with Isaiah Roby (San Antonio), Dalano Banton (Toronto) and Bryce McGowens (Charlotte). The group is joined by Tyronn Lue, who begins his third season as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.
- Nebraska's three active NBA players is the most since the 2007-07 season (Eric Piatkowski, Mikki Moore and Lue)
- McGowens became the 15th former Husker to make his NBA debut on Oct. 19, as he saw action in Charlotte's win over San Antonio.
- Four members of the 2021-22 team are playing professionally, including Bryce McGowens (NBA), Lat Mayen (Australia), Alonzo Verge Jr. (Poland) and Kobe Webster (Netherlands). Trey McGowens was in camp in the G-League but was cut in November.