Hoops Game Day: Nebraska vs. South Dakota
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Hoops Game Day: Nebraska vs. South Dakota

Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-1) vs South Dakota Coyotes (0-2)

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 - 8 p.m. CT

Pinnacle Bank Arena

TV: BTN

Radio: Husker Sports Network

Internet: FOX Sports App

Nebraska projected starters
NAME HT/WT YEAR NOTES

Dalano Banton

6-9/204

So.

Ranks in the Big Ten's top 20 with 14.7 ppg (19th), 7.3 rpg (14th), and 6.3 apg (4th).

Trey McGowens

6-4/191

Jr.

Scored a season-high 19 points with 5 rebounds vs. NDSU after being held scoreless against Nevada.

Teddy Allen

6-6/223

Jr.

Had game-high 22 points vs. NDSU and now ranks 11th nationally with 4.3 steals per game.

Lat Mayen

6-9/205

Jr.

Posted 12 points and 4 boards and was 3-of-6 from 3-point range in the win over North Dakota State.

Thorir Thorbjarnarson

6-6/202

Sr.

Has started 27 straight games. Finished with 3 points, 3 boards and 3 steals vs. NDSU.

South Dakota projected starters
NAME HT/WT YEAR NOTES

A.J. Plitzuweit

6-2/170

RSo.

Ranks second on the team and 11.5 ppg this season.

Stanley Umude

6-6/210

Sr.

Scoring a team-best 17.0 ppg in the first two games. Averaged 16.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 2.1 apg last season.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt

6-3/195

So.

Averaging 5.0 ppg and 3.0 rpg and is 1-for-8 on 3-pointers this season.

Ty Chisom

6-4/190

Sr.

Has averaged 9.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, and 1.5 apg through two games.

Brady Heiman

6-11/210

RSo.

Former Husker who transferred to USD in 2019. Has 2 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 blocks in 2 starts.

3 KEYS TO VICTORY

1. Apply the pressure

Nebraska has been at its best so far this season when it's turned up the defensive intensity.

The Huskers currently stand as one of the most opportunistic defenses in the country, ranking 10th nationally in turnovers forced (21.7) per game.

Much of that is due to how aggressive NU has been on opposing ball handlers, as its 39 steals through three games ranks second in the country, led by Teddy Allen's 13 steals (11th nationally).

Not only is Nebraska taking away the basketball at a high rate, but it's also converting those extra possessions in 26.7 points per game off of turnovers.

Combine all of that with the Huskers' +12.0 turnover margin, and their formula for success is pretty evident.

2. Attack the boards

One of the biggest concerns Fred Hoiberg has about his team through three games has been an issue that has plagued Nebraska for years. Despite being a taller and longer team across the board, the Huskers have still struggled mightily in rebounding.

After holding a 45-35 edge in the opener vs. McNeese State, NU has been out-rebounded 100-72 over the last two games. That includes a 49-31 disadvantage vs. Nevada and then giving up 22 offensive boards to North Dakota State.

South Dakota has some decent frontcourt size, but like NDSU, the Coyotes get most of their rebounding from guards crashing the boards.

The Bison had two guards combined for nine offensive rebounds vs. Nebraska, so bodying up after shots and being the aggressors on the glass will be key today.

3. Don't let the familiar faces bring more fire

Tonight will mark one of the rare instances where a former Husker will take on Nebraska as an opposing player.

South Dakota center Brady Heiman played 30 games at NU as a true freshman in 2018-19 before transferring shortly after Hoiberg's arrival.

The 6-foot-10 redshirt sophomore from Springfield, Neb., has scored just two points in two starts this season but leads the team with 2.5 blocks per game.

Then there's Kearney, Neb., native Kanon Coster, who began his college career at Nebraska-Kearney before joining USD. The sophomore guard has averaged 13.0 minutes off the bench.

Last but not least, another former Husker will be on the Coyotes' bench in graduate assistant Johnny Trueblood. The Omaha, Neb., native played in 34 games and emerged as one of the best stories of NU's 2018-19 season.

When that many Husker connections come back to Pinnacle Bank Arena ready to make a statement, Nebraska better be prepared to match their fire.

QUOTABLE

"When we keep (our defense) tight, we are a pretty darn effective team. The other thing we have is length this year. You got length across the board. You got guys who are out there battling and talking. I love what this group is all about. I like the makeup, and that’s why we are going to have a chance this season.”
— Head coach Fred Hoiberg

PREDICTION

Nebraska (-12) 82, South Dakota 68

Robin's season record: 2-1

vs. the spread: 2-1