The Big 10 has proven to be one of the best conferences in the land this season, and tonight we are in for a treat as the Nebraska Cornhuskers head to Bloomington to play the Indiana Hoosiers in a matchup of two of the best team’s the Big 10 has to offer. The Cornhuskers have struggled on the road to start league play as they have lost all three of their conference road games. While the Cornhuskers aren’t ranked in the AP Poll top twenty-five, they are ranked 15th on kenpom, so this team is a good one despite their recent struggles.
For Indiana, they have had similar struggles on the road, but are undefeated at home so far this season. The Hoosiers snuck into the top twenty-five of both the AP Poll and the USA Today ESPN Coach’s Poll, coming in at number twenty-five in both in the just released rankings. Kenpom has the Hoosiers ranked at number twenty-five as well. The Hoosiers are -2-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 144 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 PM PST from Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana.
The Indiana Hoosiers were cruising right along to start the conference season as they had won seven straight games. That stretch included wins over solid teams like Louisville, Northwestern, Butler, and Penn State. Then they hit a roadblock with back to back road losses. Neither of those losses were bad ones. The first loss came against a Michigan team that just might be the best team in the nation, and the followed that one up with a closely contested loss to a very good Maryland Terrapins team.
And that Loss at Maryland could have easily been a win as the Hoosiers had a double-digit lead in the second half before fading and losing the game by just three points late. The question for Indiana is, was this a small blip on the radar, or a sign of more trouble to come? When you look at the recent play of superstar freshman Romeo Langford, it makes me think that Indiana will get right back on track tonight.
Langford came into the season as the savior of Indiana basketball. As an Indiana high school legend, the minute that Langford chose to stay home in Indiana, the Final Four talk started in Bloomington. After starting out his college career a bit slow, Langford has really turned it up in conference play. Langford dropped twenty points on Northwestern, Twenty-eight on Illinois, and twenty-eight on Maryland in their last game. This kid is turning it on at just the right time for Indiana to make a run at the Big 10 regular season title.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers aren’t getting the respect that they deserve right now. Yes, they have struggled on the road as they have lost all three of their Big 10 road games, but this team is loaded with talent, and I expect to see them make a run in the tournament this year. The big reason I am so high on Nebraska is their senior point guard James Palmer Jr.
Palmer, a former Miami transfer, has really picked his game up this season and is leading the way for a Nebraska team that has never won an NCAA tournament game. Palmer is averaging nineteen points, four rebounds, and three assists a game. When Nebraska lost to Iowa and Maryland recently, Palmer shot just a combined 3-15 from three-point land. As Palmer goes, this Cornhusker team goes. They will need a big effort out of him tonight if they want to knock off Indiana on the road.
I bet a lot of Big 10 basketball. The league is full of good teams, and they play each other a lot, they have more conference games than any other league. This year, the Big 10 has as many as ten teams that could make the NCAA tournament. I know that sounds really high, but with the Big East and the PAC-12 way down this year, there is going to be a lot of opportunity for at-large bids coming out of the Big 10.
When I am making all of these Big 10 bets, I tend to always lean towards the home team. Outside of the upper echelon of the league, the Michigan’s and Michigan State’s of the world, I just don’t trust teams to win on the road in league play. When you look at both of these teams tonight, two of the better teams in the Big 10, they are elite at home, and shaky on the road. In my eyes, these team’s matchup very closely talent wise. The deciding factor for me is that this game is being played in Bloomington.
This game is going to be an intense one that will come down to the last couple of possessions. Not much separate these teams, but I feel like the Hoosiers are going to find a way to stay undefeated at home. As talented as this Nebraska team is this season, they still lost at Iowa, they still lost at Minnesota, and they still lost at Maryland. And all three of those teams have a similar level, or lower level of talent, than this Hoosiers squad. So, I will back the Hoosiers in what should be a tight one. Give me the Indiana Hoosiers laying -2-points tonight from Assembly Hall!