FORT WAYNE – Indiana coach Tom Crean said his players remember last season’s game against Nebraska well, and the No. 1 Hoosiers (21-3, 9-2 Big Ten) will use it as motivation tonight when they play host to the Cornhuskers (12-12, 3-8).
Nebraska upset then-No. 11 Indiana 70-69 on Jan. 18, 2012, in Lincoln. It was the Hoosiers’ third straight loss.
There is no doubt that we will go back and look at part of that film (of the loss to Nebraska), Crean said of his team, which kept the top spot in the Associated Press Top 25 this week despite losing 74-72 at Illinois on Thursday.
We didn’t finish the job there. That definitely plays into it. There is a fine line between their memory and their future. Their future right now has got to be, OK, are we going to be better today? Are we going to be better tomorrow? Are we going to absolutely be locked in to what makes us better?’ Not just what got us a win (Sunday at Ohio State), but the fact that because we improved from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon, that’s the whole trick.
Although Nebraska comes in as the conference’s worst scoring team (59 points per game) and allows 61.9 points per game, Crean said the Cornhuskers are a threat.
They approach each game with the mindset of winning the game. I think that is what makes (Nebraska coach Tim Miles) such a dangerous opponent, Crean said. He’s not locked into just one way to play the game. He’s not locked into just we do it this way, we do it that way.’ He’s trying to win the game.
I think that is what makes them such a tough opponent, because you can see a lot of different things from them. This is a game where you really have to stay locked in to doing what you do and trying to set the tempo and the pace as best you can.
Indiana was locked in when it rebounded from the loss to the Illini with an 81-68 win at Ohio State on Sunday. Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford combined to score 70 points, and the Hoosiers shot 53.1 percent (25 of 59) in the win at Value City Arena.
Indiana’s firepower – the Hoosiers lead the Big Ten in scoring with 83.2 points per game – had Miles’ comparing tonight’s game to a classic horror movie.
How do you slow these guys down? I think it would probably be easier to try and figure out which whack job is going to get Shelley Duvall next in The Shining,’ Miles said. It’s just one thing after another, and they are all nightmarish.
They’ve got great athleticism. They shoot the three really well. They’ve got great interior play. Victor Oladipo is a potential player of the year. You just look at all the weapons they have and they are an amazing team.