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Huskers Set to Face Hoosiers In Big Ten Quarterfinals

by Mar 15, 2024Nebraska Mens Basketball

Nebraska Cornhusker head coach Fred Hoiberg reacts to the aciton on the court against the Michigan Wolverines during a college basketball game on Saturday, February 10, 2024, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Photo by John S. Peterson.
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska men’s basketball will start its 2024 Big Ten Tournament run Friday against Indiana.   

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be televised on Big Ten Network with Brandon Gaudin and Robbie Hummel on the call. 

The Huskers are 2-0 against Indiana this season, winning both games by double figures and scoring over 80 (86, 85) in each contest while giving up 70 to the Hoosiers in both games. 

The Huskers have won six of their last seven games after finishing the regular season with an 85-70 win at Michigan on Sunday. 

Coach Fred Hoiberg likes his team and the momentum they have heading into the Big Ten Tournament. 

“I feel really good about things at this time,” Hoiberg said in his media availability before the tournament. “We just can’t get complacent. We’ve got to stay hungry.”

Nebraska has held six of its final seven opponents to 70 points or less, including the 85-70 win at Indiana on Feb. 21. 

Nebraska led the Big Ten in field goal defense in conference play (41.6%) and Indiana was offensively challenged in their Thursday night win over Penn State. The Hoosiers shot just 39.3% from the field including 3-of-12 from 3-point range. 

“This week we have to make sure we’re fresh going into it with the potential of what could happen,” Hoiberg said. “When you look at the 8 o’clock game and if you’re fortunate enough to get by that one, the next game is at 2:30; that is a hell of a tough turnaround. I’ve never had anything like that.”

Keep Making History

Nebraska is on the verge of doing something the program hasn’t done in a very long time. 

Nebraska has lost five consecutive conference tournament games. Their last Big Ten Tournament win came in 2019, a 68-61 win over Rutgers in the tournament’s opening-round game. 

This season, the Huskers have ended numerous streaks. They’ve secured their first win at Michigan in program history (after a 0-for-12 start) and have snapped five losing streaks of at least seven games: Michigan State (11 games), Michigan (eight), Kansas State (seven), Indiana (seven) and Northwestern (seven).

The Huskers finished the regular season with an 18-1 record inside Pinnacle Bank Arena, setting a single-season mark for home wins in a season and are 1-0 (Oregon State in Sioux Falls) in neutral site games this season.

Nebraska is looking to make its first-ever Big Ten semifinal and first conference semifinal since 2006.

Since Feb. 1, Nebraska is second nationally in defensive efficiency according to, trailing only Iowa State in that metric.

For the season, Nebraska is currently ranked 26th nationally in defensive efficiency in KenPom after ranking 69th in 2022-23 and 178th in 2021-22.

The Huskers have held their last 11 opponents to under 43% shooting dating back to Jan. 29, and have held six of the last seven opponents to 70 points or less.

In Big Ten play, Nebraska held opponents to a league-low 41.6 shooting percentage, marking the first time that Nebraska has led the Big Ten in field goal defense.

“Our preparation has been on point with these guys and you can tell by your defensive numbers with what they’ve been,” Hoiberg said. “And you know that that doesn’t change,” Hoiberg said. “We have to defend. We have to rebound at a high level if we want to win at this time of year. And I’m confident our guys will continue on that just with the way they prepared.”

A look at Indiana

A key for Indiana is senior guard Xavier Johnson. The Hoosiers are 13-6 in games he has played this season and just 6-7 in games he has missed. One of those losses where he played was the Hoosiers’ 86-70 loss at Nebraska on Jan. 3. 

In the Hoosiers’ win Thursday night against Penn State, Johnson had four points, six rebounds and five assists in 37 minutes. 

Indiana enters Friday night with some momentum. The Penn State win was their fifth in a row and snapped a four-game losing skid to the Nittany Lions. 

This is also the third straight year Indiana has reached the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals.

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