Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers Pick & Prediction JANUARY 17th 2024

Nebraska has shown it’s a legitimate contender that can match up with the very best in the Big Ten Conference.

Now coach Fred Hoiberg is seeking consistency when his Cornhuskers visit Rutgers on Wednesday in Piscataway, N.J.

Nebraska (13-4, 3-3 Big Ten) became just the second team to beat Purdue, ranked No. 1 at the time, when the Cornhuskers rained 14 3-pointers on the Boilermakers in an 88-72 home win on Jan. 9.

Yet they could not advance that momentum three days later when they lost 94-76 at Iowa. Nebraska has won all three of its home games in the Big Ten and lost all three road games thus far.

“Right now we’re riding the wave of the highs and lows, the emotions, it’s a little bit like a rollercoaster right now,” Hoiberg said on his radio show. “So we need to get more even. Whatever is happening with our team, wins, losses, anything in between, we’ve got to be better and we’ve got to be more consistent.”

The Cornhuskers, who have split their past four meetings with Rutgers, rely offensively on Keisei Tominaga, who leads them with 14.5 points per game and 34 3-pointers. Rienk Mast averages team highs of 8.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists to go with 13.3 points.

Rutgers (9-7, 1-4) is trying to escape the Big Ten basement. After beating Indiana 66-57 on Jan. 9 for its first league win, Rutgers fell 73-55 at Michigan State on Sunday.

The Scarlet Knights had two different seven-minute scoreless stretches in that game and gave up a 19-0 run in the second half. Still, Rutgers ranks eighth nationally in’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric and 15th in 2-point percentage allowed (43.3).

“We have to take care of the ball,” Hoiberg said. “They’re a top-10 defensive team. They really heat you up, they’ll throw different presses out there at you, they’ll get out into the passing lanes and deny. So we have to handle their pressure well.”

It’s the offense that Rutgers is desperate to fix. The Scarlet Knights rank 312th in the country at 67.5 points per game.

Aundre Hyatt (12.0 points per game) and Mawot Mag (10.9) lead them in scoring, but coach Steve Pikiell is hoping some reinforcements come in the form of transfers Emmanuel Ogbole (knee) and Jeremiah Williams (eligibility).

“(Adding) a couple more guys to the roster would be a big help for us, but we just got to keep getting better,” Pikiell said in a postgame radio interview at Michigan State. “We’re close and we show some signs, but we’ve got to do it for 40 (minutes).”

–Field Level Media

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