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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, December 28, 2016 1:51 pm

Pregame: Indiana (10-2) vs. Nebraska (6-6)

Chris Goff | The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON — No. 16 Indiana opens Big Ten play at home for the first time in six seasons. Nebraska is in town. Coach Tim Miles' program is 1-5 all time in Bloomington.

Here are three things to watch for tonight when the ball is tipped at Assembly Hall.

Contrast in styles: As Miles' teams sometimes do, the Cornhuskers are largely eschewing the 3-point shot. Nebraska attempts only .296 3-point attempts per field goal attempt, the second-lowest rate in the Big Ten. And for good reason, apparently, as they rank 332nd out of 351 Division teams in accuracy at 29 percent.

Then there's Indiana, a team seemingly blessed with tons of 3-point shooters. James Blackmon Jr. is having a ridiculous year shooting, knocking down 46 percent from long range. Robert Johnson is shooting 44 percent. The team's hitting 40 percent on the year and has attempted 3s on 40.8 percent of its attempts, ranking 73rd in the nation.

Guards in focus: Though they rarely try the long ball, make no mistake: the Cornhuskers are a backcourt-dominant team. They get most of their scoring from point guard Glynn Watson Jr. and shooting guard Tai Webster, with each offering different pieces of the puzzle. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Webster is a demon off the dribble who can carve up defenses with his penetration and strength off the dribble. Watson is adept at freeing himself for midrange jumpers.

Keeping up with the Jones: The Hoosiers' Curtis Jones is a project who has struggled mightily the last three games, shooting 3 for 15 and scoring just eight points. The freshman guard has great quickness and the ability to be a high-scoring combo guard at some point in his career. But in the present, can he perform at a level anywhere near what Nick Zeisloft gave them a year ago? Zeisloft's true shooting percentage as a senior was 62.6. Jones, his heir apparent as Indiana's third guard, sports a true shooting percentage of 51 percent.