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January 30, 2014

Quick Thoughts: Nebraska

What just happened
For 30 minutes Thursday evening, it appeared Indiana basketball would become just the second team to defeat Nebraska at Pinnacle Bank Arena this season.

However, the Hoosiers came up short, as the Huskers went on a furious 41-23 run to end the game, earning a 60-55 victory, their second consecutive against IU in Lincoln, Neb. Nebraska had also defeated IU head coach Tom Crean and Co. 70-69 at the old Devaney Center on Jan. 18, 2012.

Yogi Ferrell led the Hoosiers with 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting, while snatching four rebounds and dishing two assists.

What it means

After a confidence-boosting victory against Illinois at Assembly Hall on Sunday, IU was riding on a high note, fully prepared to add to the win column against Nebraska.

However, the Hoosiers reverted to old form, playing an extremely sloppy game, turning the ball over an eye-popping 19 times. Because of their carelessness with the basketball, the Hoosiers cost themselves a chance at entering a three-way tie for fourth place in the Big Ten Conference.

A positive note to consider is another solid, efficient outing from Stanford Robinson.

Earning another start, the freshman guard poured in 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting to go along with a rebound and an assist. With an offense that has suffered through many stagnant stretches, continued output from Robinson will be essential.

But playing in a building in which the home team had lost just once this season (a 71-70 loss to conference-leading Michigan on Jan. 9), IU couldn't afford to not consistently get Vonleh the ball on the block and turn the ball over at an alarming rate.

How it happened

IU burst out of the gates from the start, building a 16-point lead (32-16) on a Yogi Ferrell layup at the 2:02 mark of the first half.

However, that would be the end of optimism for the Hoosiers. From there, they displayed stagnation offensively, consistently passing the ball without purpose around the perimeter. Combined with a lack of off-ball movement and wasted possessions ending in turnovers, the Hoosiers dug their own grave.

The Huskers ended the game on a 41-23 run.

Aside from the turnover bug rearing its ugly head, the most concerning aspect of the Hoosiers' performance was the failure to consistently involve Noah Vonleh in the offense.

The former McDonald's All-American attempted just five field goals, converting three en route to an underwhelming seven-point, three-rebound performance.

Key Player

This distinction goes to two players: Ferrell and Sheehey.
Sheehey displayed his versatility, knocking in 12 points while grabbing five boards and adding two assists. The Stuart, Fla., native also knocked in six of the Hoosiers' 10 free throws.

Ferrell led IU with 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting while dishing five assists and corralling three boards.

Playing in a building in which the home team had lost just once this season (a 71-70 loss to conference-leading Michigan on Jan. 9), IU couldn't afford to not consistently get Vonleh the ball on the block and turn the ball over at an alarming rate.

Key Stat

As has been drilled away, turnovers were the overwhelming cause of the Hoosiers' loss.

Crean has preached time and again the value of each individual possession, though that message wasn't received against Nebraska.




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