The Nebraska Cornhuskers have had an above .500 conference record just once in the past 10 seasons and go on the road to face the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday first a game that could be critical in their quest to bust through in the Big Ten.
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Wisconsin Badgers (-6.5, 144.5)
When coach Fred Hoiberg took over the Nebraska program prior to the 2019-20 season, to no success he tried to push the team uptempo with the squad, ranking 42nd or faster in total possessions in each of his first three seasons before failing things back.
Nebraska entered Friday 185th in the country in total possessions per game and face a Wisconsin team that is back to playing their traditional slow and controlled style, ranking 328th in total possessions per game.
The Badgers have had a few outliers skew their overall defensive ratings skew their defensive metrics as the team enters having allowed 72 points or fewer in 10 of their last 11 games, but surrendered a combined 156 points to Arkansas State and Tennessee to warp their overall metrics, putting them at 108th nationally in points allowed on a per possession basis.
The offense for Wisconsin is much improved from a season as well, averaging 11.9 more points per 100 possessions this year than a season ago, but has to face a Nebraska defense that is the top 60 in points allowed per possession for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
Nebraska entered Friday 34th in the country overall in points allowed on a per possession basis, but has been far better on the road than at home, giving up 2.9 points fewer per 100 possessions than at home and are overall third in the country in points allowed per possession in games played away from home.
Both teams have built their defenses similarly as neither generates more than 12.6 turnovers per game, but have strengths on the inside. Nebraska ranks 21st in the nation in opponent 2-point shooting percentage while Wisconsin is 16th in the nation in defensive rebound rate, allowing opponents to rebound just 21.2% of their missed field goal attempts.
With both teams 180th or worse entering Friday night in 3-point shooting percentage and Wisconsin at home specifically making just 29.7% of their 3-point shots this season, Saturday’s showdown sets up to be a defensive struggle.
The Play: Nebraska vs. Wisconsin Under 144.5