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12/19 Big Ten Preview: Nebraska Hosts Kansas State

Big 12 throwback.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Nebraska Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

After a somewhat busy Saturday (which saw four games cancelled or postponed) there is only one game today, with Nebraska set to host Kansas State in their first matchup since the Cornhuskers were still in the Big 12.

Game of the Day

Kansas State Wildcats at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 6:00 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Nebraska -1.0

In an old Big 12 style matchup, Nebraska and Kansas State will tip off for the first time since the two teams shared a conference. Kansas State currently leads the series 91-53, winning the last six games between the two, but has gone 2-3 their last five trips to Nebraska. Kansas State comes in to today 69th in the KenPom rankings with a 6-3 record, while Nebraska is 5-6 and 124th in the KenPom rankings.

After a 5-2 start win that didn’t include any marquee wins, the Cornhuskers have lost four in a row to North Carolina State, Indiana, Michigan and Auburn. Fred Hoiberg has had a rough start at Nebraska, with the Cornhuskers going 19-51 since he took over. That’s a far cry from his run at Iowa State, where he never had a losing season before heading to the NBA to coach the Bulls.

It’s hard to win when you can’t shoot and that’s something that is once again plaguing Nebraska. So far this season they are shooting 25.9% from three, placing them 351st in the nation. They’re 250th in field goal shooting percentage and 247th in turnovers, while giving up 77.5 points per game (330th) in the nation. Or in other words, bad offense and bad defense. Bryce McGowens and Alonzo Verge Jr. are both averaging north of 16 points per game, but both are also shooting sub 24% from three. That’s not great when you realize that they are the teams two best playmakers.

Nebraska’s offensive woes are now set to face off against a Wildcats defense that gives up 59.7 points per game, putting them at 34th in the nation. Kansas State takes advantage of a stout defense to make up for a pedestrian offense, but considering all of Nebraska’s scoring and turnover issues they should be set to have another strong performance. It should also probably be noted that the three Kansas State losses include neutral site losses to Arkansas and Illinois (by eight points each) and a one point loss to Marquette, showing Kansas State is capable of hanging around with good teams.

The biggest advantage Nebraska has here is the game is on their home court. Kansas State doesn’t have a great offense, but the Nebraska defense doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that they can stop anyone. Mix that with a strong Kansas State defense squaring off against a Nebraska team that struggles to shoot the ball and turns it over consistently and the Wildcats should pick up the win today.

Pick: Kansas State