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3 takeaways from ugly loss to Iowa by Nebraska basketball

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Nebraska basketball
Syndication: Iowa City Press-Citizen

Following a win over No. 1 Purdue on Tuesday, Nebraska basketball was drubbed by Iowa. Here are three takeaways.

It was a Charles Dickens sort of week for Nebraska basketball. It was the best of times on Tuesday as the Cornhuskers upset No. 1 Purdue. But it was the worst of times on Friday as they were dominated by Iowa.

In some ways, you could see it coming. It’s hard to win on the road in the Big Ten, especially at Iowa. Plus, sports have a way of bringing back down to Earth.

Still, it was a disappointing performance, particularly after Nebraska basketball weathered the storm in the first half. Iowa built a 14-2 lead and the Huskers still tied the game at 50-50. Then, Iowa took over and won the game 94-76. Here are three takeaways.

Huskers didn’t handle success

Tuesday was an emotional night for Nebraska basketball. It was one of the biggest wins in program history, but the Huskers looked a little hungover on Friday night.

Iowa is a flawed team and they made twice as many 3-pointers as they average. More than anything, it was a missed opportunity because it would have been a quadrant-1 win. On paper, the Huskers matched up well with Iowa, but this is what Fred Hoiberg meant when he said nobody cared what Nebraska did on Tuesday.

Iowa certainly didn’t.

Nebraska’s defense didn’t travel

Coaches often like to say that a good defense travels, but the Huskers’ defense hasn’t shown up in each of the past two road games. Iowa also scores a lot of points. That’s just who they are, but the Hawkeyes had 35 made field goals on Friday night and 30 of them were assisted.

Sure, that’s good offense. However, it’s bad defense too. It means Nebraska was out of position, didn’t communicate well, and didn’t rotate well. The defense just felt disjointed all night and Iowa took advantage.

Iowa isn’t a great 3-point shooting team, yet they are good enough to take advantage of open looks and Nebraska gave them plenty.

Ice cold shooting

Nebraska isn’t going to win many games getting outscored 45-12 at the 3-point line. I said before the game that the Huskers needed the edge there and that proved to be true. If Nebraska had won the 3-point battle, it would have won the game.

Yet, the Huskers shot just 26 percent from 3-point range. Keisei Tominaga and C.J. Wilcher were a combined 2-for-8 from 3-point range after making eight triples on Tuesday.

The most disappointing thing about all of this is that it feels like one step forward and one step back. Nebraska was among the first four teams out before the Purdue game. It seems like that win would have them projected in the field, but the loss on Friday, while not as bad, certainly leaves a bad impression.

Nebraska is building a solid NCAA tournament resume, but it can’t afford a bunch of double-digit losses on the road. The Huskers need to be more consistent or that March Madness bid will be far from a sure thing.

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Chris has worked in sports journalism since 2005 writing for multiple newspapers and websites such as the Bleacher Report and Fansided before starting Husker Big Red, A fan site for hardcore followers of the #Huskers offering articles, podcasts, videos and more exclusive content on all things Nebraska

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