Nebraska is back in action Tuesday night when Iowa comes to town. A preview of the matchup is below:
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Nebraska
Radio: 590 AM (Omaha) 1400 AM (Lincoln)
2019-20 record: 10-4, 1-2
Offensive efficiency (KenPom): 3rd
Defensive efficiency (KenPom): 98th
Trending: Up. Iowa is receiving votes in the AP Poll and No. 20 in KenPom, with four losses all to good teams. They fell to a hot DePaul team at the beginning of the year, No. 7 San Diego State — which is No. 1 in the NET — No. 19 Michigan and most recently to No. 20 Penn State. Fran McCaffery’s offense is lethal, even without Jordan Bohannon, who is out the rest of the year with an injury. The Hawkeyes are the second-highest scoring team in the conference behind Michigan State, putting up 81.1 a game. They are, however, 13th in the Big Ten in scoring defense. That’s the Hawkeyes for you. Good enough offensively to blow you out, poor enough defensively to keep it interesting.
Players to watch
» Luka Garza leads the conference with 22.5 points per game and is second with 10.1 rebounds. Massive numbers for the massive, 6-foot-11, 260-pound inside force. Garza scored 34 points in 35 minutes against Penn State with 12 rebounds. He burst onto the national scene with 44 points against Michigan in a 103-91 loss last month.
» Joe Wieskamp doesn’t play like the sophomore he is. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound shooter carries himself like a vet and scores 13.5 a game with 5.9 rebounds. He shoots 45.9% from the floor and 41.7% from 3-point range. He had 23 against Penn State with 10 rebounds in 35 minutes.
Three keys for Nebraska
1. Stop everyone else but Garza. Even if he puts up 40, that’s only 40 points. Iowa is a bit handcuffed with a few guys sick or hurt. Keep the rest of the team to 20 or fewer, heck, 25 or fewer, and you’re in it. Nebraska is probably not going to slow Garza. So control what you can control.
2. Limit the Hawkeyes from deep. Iowa made 11 3s against Penn State and nearly won. They hit 10 and beat Iowa State, hit 10 and beat Minnesota by 20, hit 11 and beat Texas Tech. But they also hit 3 and lost to Michigan, hit 6 and lost to DePaul.
3. Jervay Green hasn’t scored in double digits since the Creighton game. In the three games he’s played in since, he’s scored 3, 8 and 6. The former starter is just 6 for 18 from the floor in his last three games. Not great. He needs to begin to break out again. Nebraska could also use a more productive Kevin Cross, who has scored 9 in the last two outings with 10 rebounds in 34 minutes. Need more.
KenPom: Iowa wins 84-74.
Chris Heady’s take: We’re putting Garza on a 20-20 watch. He could have that with points and rebounds in this game. What Nebraska cooks up defensively will be interesting. It’s hard to imagine it working all that well considering what we saw against Rutgers. That’s concerning. Nebraska’s also shot worse than 30% from the floor in two straight games. That’s the first time that’s happened this year. So they may be due to ascend to the mean and shoot well. That happens, NU could be a rock’s throw from Iowa. Hard to bet that this is close. Wilder things have happened, especially in this game, especially in that arena. Iowa 90, Nebraska 71,