Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-2) vs South Dakota Coyotes (4-1)
Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 – 1 p.m. CT
Pinnacle Bank Arena
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Internet: BTN+ (subscription only)
1. Make some 3-pointers
For head coach Fred Hoiberg’s offense to work, Nebraska needs to start hitting 3-pointers.
The Huskers have been dismal from behind the arc through the first six games despite supposedly having the best perimeter shooting Hoiberg has had yet in Lincoln.
Nebraska is now shooting 26.6 percent (37-of-139) from behind the arc. That ranks 316th nationally and 12th in the Big Ten.
What’s even worse, though, is that a whopping 40.4 percent of NU’s total shots this season have been from 3-point range. So, not only are the Huskers not making many threes, but they’re shooting a ton of them.
Only two players with 10 or more attempts this season, Wilcher (11-26, 42%) and Kobe Webster (5-10, 50%), are shooting better than 25 percent from behind the arc.
Yes, the Huskers could do a better job of setting up some more high-percentage looks. But it’s also a matter of guys knocking down wide-open shots.
Against Tennessee State, where NU went 6-of-25 on three, Hoiberg said he counted just six forced shots off of one pass or no passes. He also said there were seven or eight misses that were completely uncontested.
2. Love the rim
Until Nebraska actually starts making 3-pointers, it has to continue to produce points at the rim.
The good news is the Huskers have been exceptional in that area this season, especially over the past three games. NU currently ranks 17th nationally with a 58.5 field goal percentage on 2-point attempts.
Nebraska has also scored at least 30 points in the paint in every game thus far this season.
Junior forward Derrick Walker has been a significant component of that success at the rim, as he’s shooting a stunning 82 percent while having made 19 of his past 20 shots.
If the struggles continue from behind the arc, NU has to get the ball inside and limit empty possessions and extended scoring droughts.
3. Win at the FT line
Another way Nebraska has overcome its poor 3-point shooting has been by manufacturing offense at the free-throw line.
The Huskers rank 32nd nationally in free-throw rate (41.9) and 39th in total point distribution percentage from the charity stripe (23.0).
However, South Dakota will come into Pinnacle Bank Arena looking to do the exact same thing on offense.
The Coyotes are the best team in the country at getting to and converting at the free-throw line. They lead the nation in both free-throw rate (62.0) and point percentage on free throws (34.2).
Hoiberg said USD would attack the lane and try to rack up fouls early, and the last thing Nebraska wants is to get into a free-throw competition today.
Defending without fouling will be crucial in keeping South Dakota off the line and for keeping NU’s players out of early foul trouble.
Nebraska 75, South Dakota 68
Robin’s season record: 4-2
vs. the spread: 4-2