Indiana looks for 11th Big Ten win as it hosts Nebraska

  • 02/17/2016 8:22 am in

Indiana will take on Nebraska on Wednesday night at Assembly Hall in a game that is a must win should the Hoosiers want to keep hopes of a Big Ten title alive.

Tied with Maryland for second in the Big Ten at 10-3, IU still controls its destiny because of its remaining road game at Iowa, but has three games before it travels to Iowa City.

Nebraska (14-12, 6-7) has shown it is capable of beating a ranked team on the road after topping Michigan State in East Lansing. However, the task will be much tougher as second leading scorer Shavon Shields will not make the trip to Indiana as he continues to recover from a nasty fall in a win over Rutgers on Feb. 6.

“It’s unfortunate when someone gets hurt like that, that’s having the kind of year that he’s having,” Tom Crean said on Tuesday.

Shields is averaging more than 15 points per game and five boards a game.

With him out, the spotlight belongs to Andrew White, a junior who averages 17.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. White scored 35 in Nebraska’s win over Penn State.

“When you’ve got Andrew White out there with his capabilities, he makes the game easier for everyone else so we’ve got to do a great job on him,” Crean said.

Nebraska is No. 90 in the rankings, with the No. 62 offense and No. 137 defense in the nation. Crean knows though that IU can’t take the Cornhuskers lightly.

“We’ve spent probably as much time in the film room as we have on the practice court,” Crean said. “The bottom line for us is to make sure we’re learning from our success and mistakes, and seeing where we can make improvements, and this time of year it’s important you get the mental part down as much as anything else, but also get your fundamentals.”

Crean also said that freshman OG Anunoby was battling a sickness last week and it affected his stamina, but not his play. Anunoby has come on during Big Ten play and has outplayed what most people believed he could contribute in year one.

“I think it’s confidence, I think it’s repetition,” Crean said. “I think it’s the fact his teammates believe in him, I think he’s getting more comfortable.”

Crean said he doesn’t have to explicitly talk to his team about where they are in the standings as everyone is well aware. He doesn’t want players to lose sight of the goal of a Big Ten championship.

“The key is why are we in it,” Crean said. “And what do we have to do to stay in it.”

Indiana is fighting not just for a conference title, but also to remain in the top four of the Big Ten standings so it gets a double bye in the conference tournament.

“It’s definitely exciting because we’re still in a position now where we can control most of our destiny,” Robert Johnson said. “We just have to take it day-by-day and play-by-play.”

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  • BL

    Good to know OG’s obvious stamina issues last week were caused by illness and he’s on the mend. Going to need all he’s got down the stretch. Hope others on the team avoided the bug.

  • Ole Man

    Wonder what Crean means when he talks about “fundamentals?”
    If IU is still working on fundamentals this time of the year, give it up.
    If they’re reviewing them, that’s different.
    Although IU has had trouble with some basic fundamentals (i.e. blocking out) from time to time the entire season. Using that example, at times they’ve been brilliant; a few times, not so much.

  • pcantidote

    This is a must win folks. We don’t need style points and the margin doesn’t matter. Just get the W and get ready for a war on Saturday.

  • PBzeer

    This has the makings of one of those inexplicable home losses we seem prone to.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    if we can somehow pull off wins in both games this week (granted, it’s a big if), i like our chances. MD and IA both have to play us, and i have to believe they’ll lose one they’re not supposed to (IA has three road games left and wiscy at home. MD hosts scUM and has to travel to PUke). so for now, ain’t no reason not to be hopeful. OG’s on the mend. YF will play like YF again, i have no doubt. RJ and MB are playing their best ball of the season. CTC still got to figure out how to consistently get TB the ball,a nd how to keep him out of foul trouble, but stranger things have happened. JM needs to step in and contribute meaningful minutes, as does HN. TW has to embrace the team concept and focus on doing things that help this team win. and if NZ is draining 3’s, that’s the icing on the cake baby. woohoo!

  • Newman

    Anyone who has played or coached the game knows teams work on fundamentals in every practice. That goes for NBA teams also.

  • PS IU

    The six man (FANS) need to be a vocal as possible. Show support. Positive energy does wonders. GO IU!!

  • calbert40

    That’s what I’m thinking. We did the same drills in practice every day. Peyton Manning works on his footwork on 3, 5 and 7 step drops every day at practice. If we aren’t working on fundamentals, then there’s a problem.

  • Senor

    Wonk wonk……..

  • Senor

    Wonk wonk

  • pcantidote

    Very true. Sometimes it is better to just focus on the fundamentals rather than getting into the weeds on strategy.

  • Koko

    I think he ment executing fundamentals.

  • Koko

    I knew there was speculation on the illness thing but didn’t know it was factual….did Crean bring it up at some point? And you know even though he was gassed/ill he still played pretty good. He looked healthy at MSU. The kid never seems overly bothered by the big stage….he just plays ball.

  • Ole Man

    That’s why I made a distinction in my statement. The very same one you just made.
    However, without being in practice, we don’t know what Crean meant when he said it.
    That’s why I posed the question.

  • Ole Man

    Yes; and no, calbert.
    It’s not quite that simple.

  • Ms hoosier

    The thing I like about OG is that he rarely tries to force the issue he just lets the game come to him if his shot is not there he will pass it if it’s there he’ll take it!! The kid shows great maturity for a unranked freshman

  • calbert40

    How is it not that simple? Every team works on fundamentals every day at practice. They shoot FTs. They do dribbling drills. They practice defensive stances and rotations. They do shooting drills. Every basketball practice has all of these things.

    Evidently, Crean believes they have gotten away from some of the fundamentals, so he wants to key on them in upcoming practices. I have no issue with that at all.

  • Koko

    Goes to show you a well coached, fundamentally sound high school player is not something all of those who rank players pay a lot of attention to. They like the bling and sometimes pass up the blue collar players.

  • BL

    Yes, see Andrew’s comment in this article and Coach touched on it in his presser.

  • Koko

    got it….thanks

  • BL

    TW plays better at home. Need to get him going so he goes into the PU game with momentum.

  • IULore

    Looking back at the schedule we have not lost a single home game. “Prone” is a very disingenuous thing to say.