Iowa has had perhaps no bigger weakness than its lack of consistent 3-point shooting. However, the Hawkeyes are hoping a strong showing from outside in their non-conference finale can spark an improvement moving forward in the Big Ten.
No. 22 Iowa tries to open conference play with a win for the first time in seven seasons Tuesday night when it hosts Nebraska.
The Hawkeyes (11-2) shot a respectable 35.8 percent from 3-point range through their first 12 games, but didn't make opponents pay from outside often, averaging only 6.1 made 3-pointers.
Josh Oglesby provided instant offense from long range in his season debut, making 4 of 5 3-pointers in an 86-61 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 22. Oglesby, who had been sidelined with a broken foot, made his first four shots from beyond the arc during a six-minute span in the first half, part of a 39-5 opening run for the Hawkeyes.
The junior guard hit only 26.9 percent of his 3-pointers last season after shooting 37.2 percent in 2011-12.
"It felt really good, especially just making my first shot so I could get into the groove of things," Oglesby said. "This team's so unselfish and they found me, and I knocked down some shots."
Iowa shot a season-best 58.8 percent from 3-point range, going 10 of 17. Jarrod Uthoff was 3 of 4 with 16 points while Anthony Clemmons was 2 of 3. Leading scorers Roy Devyn Marble (15.3 ppg) and Aaron White (13.2 ppg) totaled 16 points in just 18 combined minutes.
"It takes a lot of pressure off of Devyn and White, who are our key guys," coach Fran McCaffery told the school's website. "If you look at Josh and Jarrod scoring the ball the way they are, it gives you that much more to prepare for when you're getting ready for us."
Iowa opened last season's Big Ten slate with three consecutive losses - all to ranked foes - and hasn't won a league opener since beating Michigan State on Jan. 4, 2007.
The Hawkeyes own a 14-9 edge against Nebraska - including a 9-3 mark at home - but have split four meetings since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten in 2011-12. Iowa claimed a 74-60 victory in Iowa City in the last meeting on March 9.
White combined for 34 points and 19 rebounds in two games versus Nebraska last season.
The Cornhuskers (8-4) have struggled in two road contests, losing at Creighton and Cincinnati by 15 points each. They recorded season lows in scoring and field goal percentage (35.7) and were 11 of 36 inside the arc in a 74-59 defeat to the Bearcats on Saturday.
Nebraska's early league slate doesn't leave much margin for error, with a game at No. 3 Ohio State this Saturday.
"It's a team that really needs to be mentally tougher, mentally more together," coach Tim Miles said. "Then I think we've got a chance because I think we've got the talent to knock off some of these guys."
Terran Petteway, averaging 20.3 points over his last four contests, scored 22 against Cincinnati. Nebraska didn't receive much from second-leading scorer Shavon Shields (12.7 ppg), however, as he was held to two points on 1-of-11 shooting.
The Cornhuskers are 1-15 against ranked conference opponents since joining the Big Ten and 0-8 on the road. They've lost 18 straight road games to ranked foes since a 65-59 victory over No. 22 Texas A&M on Feb. 23, 2008.