Illinois at Nebraska
TV: Big Ten Network
Each year in Lincoln, something happens to put Tim Miles on the hot seat. Last year it was an underperforming (12-19, 6-12) team with high expectations, which led to a glut of transfers and a reheated seat. Once again, however, Miles has cooled his chair and gotten more than expected production from his charges.
The Huskers have already matched last year’s win total (12-7) and done so against decent competition, including beating then-ranked Minnesota and Wisconsin. KenPom puts their adjusted strength of schedule at 59th overall, and the Huskers have hung tough in losses as well, such as in their 1-point loss to #12 Kansas.
One thing that has made Nebrasketball successful this year is a lack of turnovers. Their 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio is 55th in the nation. Against Illinois, who rank 23rd in turnover margin (335 opponent turnovers), the Huskers ability to control the ball could be important. Also important are the trio of James Watson, Isaac Copeland, and Glynn Watson, all of whom are averaging better than 12 points per game.
Coming in 0-5, after losing a miserable home game against an Iowa team they should have beaten, things are at a low point for the Illini. Some kind of adjustment seems necessary, from the team or from the game plan or both. What that adjustment is and whether is happens remains to be seen.