Get right time for the #14 Indiana Hoosiers hosting Nebraska (Indiana Nebraska pregame thoughts)

Alright Indiana… you’ve got that chip on your shoulder now. After having strayed off course in that last game against Rutgers, the Hoosiers shooting was poor enough to be run out your local YMCA. I have to imagine shooting is now the focus of most drills before the Nebraska Cornhuskers come to town. Because while I pray that that game was a statistical anomaly, one could fear it be a glaring issue of this team.

The Hoosiers looked like the MonStars stole their talent(at least shooting) when they took the court against the Scarlet Knights. 1 for 16 from beyond the arc for everyone not named Miller Kopp. The Hoosiers looked downright timid against the Scarlet Knights and the shooting looked reminiscent of last year, where shots were taken with little to no confidence that they were going in. We cannot remain that stagnant in this one.

I really hope that the Rutgers game has been marinating in the bellies of our guys. Our squad, nationally recognized as a physical, smash-mouth contender, got out muscled and were boxed out each and every time the ball was coming off the rim. Here’s hoping that game gives them a chip early in the season to never allow to happen again. The rebounding battle must be won by Indiana, if tenacity and toughness are to be key characteristics of our team, that’s a category on the box score that the Hoosiers must dictate. I fully expect this team to come out reinvigorated at home looking to reestablish their identity down low.

Xavier Johnson needs to not “break the glass in case of emergency” immediately when our offense hits struggles. Xavier showed off a lot of the solo effort ball he played with last year that I doooooo appreciate, but we do not need. Effort is always appreciated, but unfocused effort ultimately amounts to nothing. I’m hoping Jalen Hood-Schifino is back in the lineup and allowing the second primary ball handler, limits what the Hoosiers ask of Xavier and what he asks of himself. If Jalen is back, I expect Xavier to have a much improved game.

Miller’s 3 point shooting is showing up this season. He’s shooting at over 50% from beyond. While he’s had a hot hand, he can not create his own shots. Indiana was unable to move the ball enough to get him reliable openings to take full advantage of his hot night. If Jalen Hood-Schifino is back in this one, I expect him to greatly aid in Miller getting prime shot selection. But ultimately, I would never ask for more or Miller than what he delivered against Rutgers. That is exactly what we asked of him when he got here.

While Indiana was out Indiana’d by Rutgers, I fully believe our guys to have the fortitude to respond in a big way against Nebraska.

You have to think Nebraska will be looking towards Rutgers for the playbook on nullifying the Hoosier offense. While Mike Woodson was out coached in the Rutgers matchup, I expect him to have schemed up several contingency plans heading into Nebraska. I expect them to look to pack the paint and harass Trayce Jackson-Davis the whole game. Time for the Hoosier coaching staff to display the ability to adapt that all Championship teams need to possess.

Nebraska is coming off one of their best wins in some time. They have just beat Creighton in their last game. Sam Griesel was their best player on the night with a stat line of 18 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. The Huskers will be looking to keep their momentum going beating their second ranked opponent in the now #14 Hoosiers, and while Same Griesel may present his own set of issues for the Hoosiers, their game ultimately runs through Derrick Walker.

The Cornhuskers rely heavily on senior forward Derrick Walker. After sitting out the first five games of the season Walker has immediately helpers his squad. Averaging 16.8 points and 9.5 assists a game. Shooting 73% from the field, Walker is able to distribute from the post, like all the best senior forwards in the country can. He’s playing very well.

Thing is, if Trayce is in this game, if the Indiana defense is anything but entirely out of character, and if the Indiana Hoosiers can bring a chip that produced better rebounding, I don’t think the Hoosiers should have too many problems presenting Walker with his greatest roadblock yet. Trayce was triple teamed and still able to put up double digits last game. He’s undeniable down low unless the opposition is throwing the kitchen sink. The Hoosier depth just needs to be able to find the bucket, I am confident they can, because they have already shown they can. I fully expect this to figure itself out.

The Indiana Hoosiers need to get right, and get right right now. With Arizona and Kansas making up the next games after this call for a game to regain our footing. Time to rinse out the bad taste of that Rutgers loss with a dominant display over the Huskers in Assembly Hall. Losses are going to come in the Big Ten, but if the Hoosiers want to contend for hardware, they must cauterize the wound and move on. To often last season, it felt like each loss was giving birth to the next, stop that before it can even start.

I have full confidence in Mike Woodson and the Indiana Hoosiers to bounce back with an attitude laced performance in front of their home crowd. If Trayce and Jalen are both in the lineup, Indiana’s offense is an entirely different monster. One that operates much more fluidly, offering more comfortable shot selections that present themselves to shooters through the increased distribution Jalen’s game brings. I pray the Hoosiers are healthy come Wednesday night. While the Scarlet Knights have the Hoosiers’ number with 6 wins in a row, we have Nebraska’s with 6 in a row. Let’s go make it 7. Down with the Huskers!!!

Thank you for taking the time to read my short thoughts heading into the Nebraska game. Listen to my recap the following morning on the OFTEN DAUNTED podcast. Have a great day Hoosier fans. Our team is good. No need to hit the big red button yet. It’s one game, onto the next one.

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

-Burke

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