NCAA Basketball Betting – Nebraska looks to continue momentum against Maryland

The Big Ten Conference is probably the most competitive league in college basketball today. And it is very difficult to make inroads, especially if you are not known as a traditional basketball school. Such a case has been seen with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who have had a hard time even putting victories on the board, much less challenging before the conference title.

We are not suggesting that they are turning the corner, but it looks as if perhaps they’re making progress. And they’ll try to continue that on Tuesday night, as they face off against the Maryland Terrapins in a game that begins at 7 p.m. Eastern time in College Park.

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Nebraska thought it might be finding some answers when it hired Fred Hoiberg as head coach. After all, he had built a sustainable program at Iowa State, often in the running for the Big 12 championship. and of course, he has also had experience coaching in the NBA.

But he has struggled in his current location. In fact, the Huskers lost 26 consecutive big ten games until the end of that awful streak against Penn State in their last outing.

And then there were the issues with the Coronavirus. Hoiberg, along with three assistant coaches, nine players and the student manager, were tested positive for the virus. For Hoiberg himself, it was a particularly hazardous situation, as he was a susceptible person, having had two heart procedures in the past, related to an aorta problem he’s had since birth. He has expressed that there was grave concern during that period.

Maryland is coming off a 72 – 59 victory over Minnesota, and that brought their record to 11 – 10, with a 5 – 9 ledger within the conference. The Terrapins, of course, came over from the ACC, and their tenure in the Big Ten has been somewhat rough as well. It is conceivable that they could play their way into the NCAA tournament, but they have to play almost perfect basketball to do it.

In the NCAA basketball betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, Maryland is laying considerable points:

Maryland Terrapins -10
Nebraska Cornhuskers +10

Over 136 points – 110
Under 136 points – 110

Nebraska does not stack up very well statistically with a lot of the other teams in the conference. For example, they are last in the Big Ten in offensive turnover percentage, coughing the ball up on 19.2% of their possessions. And they are among the nation’s worst teams at the free-throw line, as they are only 63% accurate. Observers who are familiar with Hoiberg as a player would express surprise at such a thing, since he shot 85% from the line during his 10 year career.

The fact is, Nebraska is just not a good shooting team, ranking 291st in triples, and 294th in two point accuracy. When Hoiberg got to Lincoln, he employed a faster pace then his predecessors did, and this is going to offer quite the contrast in this matchup, as Maryland’s defensive setup has required opponents to hold the ball for an average of 18.6 seconds on the 30-second shot clock.

The Terrapins, if you are familiar with them, have a style a ball that is position-less in a sense, as their players are very close to each other in height. This would theoretically make it less problematic for them to do switching when the other team is using a pick and roll. So that is a challenge for Nebraska to face.

The Cornhuskers did not play for 26 days, from January 10th to February 6th. But you might say they’ve made some strides lately; two games ago they got off to a 9 – 0 lead and wound up taking Illinois, the 5th-ranked team in the nation, to overtime before losing (77-72). Nebraska would have done a lot better, and perhaps won the game out right, if it could have shot better than 17 of 45 inside the arc.

Last time out, however, they broke that long conference losing streak by holding Penn State to just 32% shooting from the field in a 62-61 victory. The Nittany Lions have a losing record, but they are a lot better than their 7-10 mark indicates, having had to navigate their way through the rugged Big Ten waters.

Keep in mind that in this strange season, there have had to be some scheduling quirks. One of those is that these teams will meet up again on Wednesday night at the same location. What we are thinking is that perhaps Maryland gets off to a decisive lead, and decides to rest starters for the second game in the back-to-back set. And that may present Nebraska with an opportunity to come through the back door.

So in a measured recommendation, we are going to take the points.

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