Scouting Report: Nebraska

Nebraska took down the Hoosiers in Lincoln, Neb. earlier this season, erasing a 13-point halftime deficit to beat IU 60-55. Starting with that win, the Cornhuskers are 7-2 in their last nine games. Can they keep continue rising up the conference standings with another win?

Here's a look at Wednesday's Indiana opponent:

Nebraska Cornhuskers (17-11, 9-7)

Last time out: W, 54-47 against Northwestern Saturday

After the team's loss to Illinois, ending a five-game winning streak, the Cornhuskers got back on track with a home win against Northwestern 54-47 Saturday. Shavon Shields led the team with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, as well as 10 rebounds, in his double-double.

In the first half, Nebraska shot just 37 percent and could never quite grasp a comfortable lead. With a 17-5 run, the Cornhuskers took a nine-point lead, they led by eight and seven points after different points down the stretch towards the end of the first half, but Northwestern's Tre Demps hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the first 20 minutes to cut Nebraska's lead to 26-22 at halftime.

Northwestern stayed close early in the second half before Shields and Nebraska distanced themselves with a 13-5 run to build an 11-point lead with 3:46 to play. Northwestern's Alex Olah, who scored a game-high 20 points, tried to bring his team back, scoring six-straight points on his own, but the closest the Wildcats would gets was just three points.

2012-13 season

Record: 15-18 (5-13 in the Big Ten Conference)

The Cornhuskers started their season rolling, winning their first four games before a 74-60 loss at home to Kent State. Nebraska then pulled through for its conference, winning on the road against Wake Forest in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge before finishing off the non-conference schedule with a 9-4 record.

But the conference slate brought Nebraska's success to a screeching halt. Facing an incredibly tough start to Big Ten play, the Cornhuskers fell to Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State, as well as Purdue, before the team's first conference win of the season on the road against Penn State.

Nebraska would never win two conference games in a row during the 2012-13 campaign, but the team also rolled off wins against Northwestern, Iowa, Minnesota and another win against the Nittany Lions. They opened the Big Ten tournament with a first round victory against Purdue 57-55, avenging a loss to the Boilermakers last season in the conference tournament. Nebraska would end its season the next day in a 71-50 loss to eventual tournament winner Ohio State.

What they do well:

On paper, the Cornhuskers don't have any one statistical category that jumps out as their strength. Beyond having the leading scorer in the Big Ten in Terran Petteway on its roster, Nebraska doesn't dominate teams in any one area, but what the team can do is slow games down a grind out wins. In their earlier win against IU this season, the Cornhuskers won 60-55 at Pinnacle Bank Arena after holding IU to just 23 points in the second half while having one of their best offensive halves of the season, scoring 41 in the final 20 minutes.

Nebraska does a decent job taking care of the ball, turning it over just 11.2 times a game this season. During the team's five-game winning streak where they beat Illinois, Penn State and Purdue at home along with Northwestern and Michigan State on the road, they scored more than 67 points just twice while holding their opponents under 60 points in four of the five games.

Wednesday's game will almost certainly not be a fast-paced, up-tempo game like the Hoosiers played against Iowa, the type of game you could tell they loved and excelled at. To beat Nebraska, the Hoosiers are going to have to grind out buckets similar to games against recent Wisconsin or Ohio State teams while not trying to move to quickly, which has caused too many unforced errors for this young IU squad this season.

Star players:

F Terran Petteway, So.

Nebraska's offense hinges on Petteway's opportunity to score, especially when he can get to the free throw line. He's tied for the conference lead in individual scoring going into Wednesday's game with Michigan State's Gary Harris at 17.9 points per game, but he's shown he can go much higher. Petteway has scored 20 points or more five times in conference play – four of those games resulted in wins.

Beyond Petteway, Nebraska's scoring options significantly drop off, with just one other player, Shields, averaging double-figures in points this season. If IU can contain the sophomore forward, they've got a good chance of pulling out a victory. Even if he goes for 20 or more, if the Hoosiers can quell the rest of his teammates' in scoring while getting some decent production, they can be okay too. But, just as he surged with 13 points in the second half against IU earlier this season, leading his team to erase a 13-point deficit, the Hoosiers have got to keep an eye on him.

G Shavon Shields, So.

Shields is the other Cornhuskers averaging double-figures in scoring this season at 12.1 per game. His games, though, have been much more inconsistent during Big Ten play, where he's had seven single-digit games along with a 33-point show against Illinois in a 67-58 victory.

At 6-foot-7-inches, Shields leads the team in rebounds per game this season with 5.8 boards. He's clearly not as reliable or dynamic a scorer as Petteway, but he's the type of player that could get overlooked as teams try to stop his fellow sophomore teammate, and he has the potential for a high-scoring night if he gets into a rhythm early.


Peegs.com Top Stories