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12/3 Big Ten Basketball Preview: Nebraska Hosts Top 15 Creighton

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

There’s a doubleheader set for the day with Nebraska hosting a 15th ranked Creighton set to tip off things later this afternoon. Let’s take a look at the upcoming action.

Game of the Day

#15 Creighton Bluejays at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 4:00 PM ET FS1
  • Line: Creighton -4.5

Nebraska is currently sitting at 7-0 but their non-conference schedule has been laughably inept so far this year. Facing in-state opponent Creighton will give the Cornhuskers their first true test to see if they are for real or not.

Creighton is 11th in the KenPom ratings with a top 20 offense and defense. Outside of a puzzling 21 point loss to Colorado State the Bluejays have been rolling this season, including a 92-84 win over Iowa and a 14 point win on the road against Oklahoma State last time out. Creighton has three different players that average 15 or more points and as a team shoots 50% from the field (40% from three). Offensively they can score basically at will.

Nebraska has been a bit better offensively but that’s also misleading due to their opposition. They’ve limited turnovers and have a decent set of guys that can score, led by Juwan Gary’s 16 points per game and a pair of guards (Keisei Tominaga and Brice Williams) that are both shooting at least 40% from three. They’ll need everyone on the top of their game if they’re going to keep pace with Creighton.

Nebraska could definitely land an upset here if they can have a good day on the defensive side of the ball. That being said, Creighton has enough offensive firepower that they should find a way to pull off a win on the road.

Pick: Creighton

The Rest

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ohio State Buckeyes

In the second game today the Buckeyes host Minnesota in their conference opener. Ohio State has quietly won five games in a row, including a win over a ranked Alabama squad. Their lone loss so far was a 7 point defeat at home to Texas A&M and the way the schedule plays out they should probably be 9-1 heading into a showdown with UCLA in the middle of the month.

KenPom puts the Buckeyes at 23rd right now, with a top 20 offense and top 50 defense. They’ve had success on both sides of the ball versus a pretty decent non-conference schedule as well. The same can’t be said for the Gophers, who have five wins against cupcakes and have lost both games to the two decent teams they’ve faced. Those losses include getting blasted 76-58 by San Francisco a week ago.

Minnesota stole a win in Columbus last year early on during a 1-14 run for the Buckeyes. This year the Gophers have a bit more depth but offensively haven’t found consistent production outside of Dawson Garcia. It also looks like Ohio State is considerably better this year. The Buckeyes should win comfortably this evening.

Pick: Ohio State