Purdue Basketball: Nebraska Preview – Hammer and Rails

Friday, January 13, 2023, 7:00 AM EST

Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Indiana

Big 10 Network

Nebraska Roster

Nebraska Starting 5

Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Previous Team
Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Previous Team
Center 13 Derrick Walker Sr 6’9″ 245 Kansas City, MO Tennessee
Forward 4 John Gary Jr 6’6″ 215 Columbia, SC Alabama
Wing 0 CJ Wilcher So 6’5″ 208 Plainfield, NJ Xavier
Guard 30 Keisei Tominaga Jr 6’2″ 175 Moriyama Nagoya Aichi, Japan Rangers College
Point Guard 5 Sam Griesel Sr 6’7″ 216 Lincoln, NE North Dakota State

Nebraska Bench

Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Previous Team
Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Previous Team
Guard 30 Keisei Tominaga Jr 6’2″ 175 Moriyama Nagoya Aichi, Japan Rangers College
Center 32 Wilhelm Breidenbach So 6’10” 231 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Center 15 Blaise Keita So 6’11” 240 Bamako, Republic of Mali Coffeyville CC
Guard/Wing 12 Denim Dawson Fr 6’6″ 193 San Bernardino, CA
Guard/Wing 10 Jamarques Lawrence Fr 6’3″ 185 Roselle, NJ

Nebraska On Offense

They’re simply not a very good team at shooting beyond the arc and, especially in their most recent loss to Illinois, they just couldn’t seem to hit open shots. Matt Painter’s squad does not give up a lot of open shots.

As if their record didn’t indicate, Nebrasketball is a very middle team offensively. The Huskers have a 213th-ranked effective field goal percentage of 49.3 and, while some of their off-the-ball movement has shown promise, they’re not great at making those open jumpers. From an objective standpoint they move the ball well, but if I’m a Nebraska fan I need to see more of those well-created shots fall. They shoot under 30% from three-point land and if you’re going to beat a team to which you’ve already lost once (and at home), you’ll need the best three-point shooting night of your season.

They shoot free throws poorly, which likely won’t be a part of the post-game discussion as Purdue is a bigger team who doesn’t foul. They get a lot of shots down low blocked.

They’re great when they set up for high picks and rolls to Griesel, but that’s going to be made a lot more difficult against a team with Purdue’s size. It’s simply another case of anything you can do, I can do better, and I’m taller and just as mobile. As is tradition for this ’22-’23 Boilers team.

Nebraska On Defense

This is an evergreen statement when it comes to profiling Purdue’s opponents, but they’re simply a lot smaller than the Boilermakers. They don’t quite have the size to compete getting boards and they’re already not so adept at rebounding even against lesser and smaller competition. Second-chance points are going to be few and far between.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Purdue has the most dominant center in college basketball posting up against guys who would be classified as forwards should they make it to the NBA. A seven-foot-four athletic center like Zach Edey will win in the paint nine times out of ten against a six-foot-nine center.

They’re much better at perimeter defense that guarding the lane, and I think we all know who that favors in this matchup.

Against teams that move the ball well, they play close and play clean around the perimeter, but as soon as their opponent has anyone drive into the lane, the Huskers have a tendency to crowd the lane and lose sight of a shooting guard or small forward who can find some space in a double team situation. Purdue shoots very well in those situations. It’s difficult for a shorter team to avoid double-teaming a guy with Edey’s size and athleticism. It’s another example of picking your poison when trying to figure out how to limit the frontrunner for player of the year.

X Factor – Turnovers

Nebraska doesn’t steal the ball especially well, another middling statistic of theirs at 8.3%, ranked 260th, so they’ll need to perform some switcheroos against one of the most sure-handed teams in the country. Purdue is ranked 42nd in turnover percentage offensively, so that’s going to be a tall task against a taller team. If Purdue takes care of the ball, they should have an easy night. The Boilermakers almost certainly won’t be out-rebounded or out-blocked, so just take care of the ball and the rest will take care of itself.

Prediction

Garrett

Purdue – 78

Nebraska – 59

Nebraska has looked shaky all year and basically struggles in all the areas offensively in which Purdue excels defensively. The early-season matchup on the road looks more and more like a Boilermakers fluke than a Cornhuskers success, and I can’t see a scenario in which this game plays out as closely as the previous matchup. I’ll eat crow if I’m wrong, but I see the Boiler Ball being more like Bully Ball on Friday the 13th in West Lafayette.

KenPom

Purdue – 72

Nebraska – 57

91% Confidence

Leave a Comment