Fred Hoiberg’s first season at Nebraska got off to a rocky start with back-to-back losses against teams ranked outside of the top-150. The Cornhuskers have since responded with four wins over their past six games to come in with a 4-4 overall record. Nebraska will try for its first quality win of the season on Saturday in what will be their second consecutive Tier-A contest. Creighton is hoping to close out the non-conference schedule strong after winning six of their first eight contests to open the season. Can the Bluejays avoid an upset at home against a Cornhuskers team that is starting to catch its stride?
Nebraska still looking for first marquee win under HoibergNebraska was unable to earn its first quality win of the season on Wednesday, losing on the road to Georgia Tech 73-56. It was a rough shooting night for the Cornhuskers, who made just 32.3 percent of their field-goal attempts and 6 of their 26 attempts from beyond the 3-point line. Haanif Cheatham scored a team-high 14 points and 11 rebounds while Cam Mack, Jervey Green, and Thorir Thorjarnarson added 11 points apiece in a losing effort for the Cornhuskers.
Hoiberg’s squad has stumbled out to a 4-4 record through eight games and they enter the weekend slotted at No. 147 in the latest KenPom rankings. Nebraska plays fast and they don’t turn the ball over at a high rate but poor shooting and a lack of second-chance opportunities on the offensive glass have held them back on offense. Led by Cheatham (12.4 points per game), Nebraska has scored 99.9 points per 100 possessions for the season (168th in the NCAA) while turning the ball over on only 16.6 percent of their offensive possessions (42nd in the NCAA). However, the Cornhuskers have shot just 56.3 percent from the free-throw line as a team (348th in the NCAA) and they own an offensive rebounding rate of just 20.1 percent (336th in the NCAA).
On defense, the Cornhuskers have surrendered 99.1 points per 100 possessions (149th in the NCAA) and they’ve excelled at defending the 3-point arc, limiting teams to just 29.0 percent from distance (59th in the NCAA).
Creighton hitting its stride on offenseCreighton topped Oral Roberts 72-60 on Tuesday evening to improve to 6-2 through their first eight contests. Sophomore Christian Bishop led the team in scoring with 17 points while Marcus Zegarowski and Ty-Shon Alexander added 14 points apiece for the Bluejays, who led by as many as 22 points before taking their foot off of the gas pedal late.
Greg McDermott’s squad comes in ranked No. 56 in the latest KenPom rankings but they’ve started to hit their stride on offense. The Bluejays enter the weekend scoring 110.1 points per 100 possessions (20th in the NCAA) while allowing only 97.5 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor (118th in the NCAA). Creighton has been one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation so far this season. They sport an effective field goal percentage of 53.9 percent (41st in the NCAA) and have turned the ball over just 16.3 percent of the time on offense.
The Bluejays are a jump-shooting team though and they don’t get offensive rebounds (227th in the NCAA) or get to the free-throw line (312th in the NCAA), which leaves them vulnerable on off-shooting nights. Even when they get there, the Bluejays have left points at the free-throw line, where they have shot just 65.5 percent as a team (279th in the NCAA) this season.
- Cornhuskers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- Cornhuskers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 road games.
- Cornhuskers are 4-13 ATS in their last 17 games following a straight-up loss.
- Bluejays are 21-10 ATS in their last 31 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.