You could have easily painted any of the demons of Tim Miles’ Nebraska Cornhuskers past on the front of the uniforms that day. Central Florida, Gardner-Webb, Incarnate Word, Samford, Alabama-Birmingham... The list is probably far from exhaustive when thinking through teams Nebraska could have beat - nay, should have beat - but the unrelenting lack of consistency that sticks with this team had many a fan worried going into the final couple of weeks in the season.
Yet the then-ranked Cornhuskers basketball team took care of business. Sure, the Cal State-Fullerton game was about as entertaining as watching paint dry, but even in spite of less than desirable conditions on the court, Nebraska grinded out a 24 point win over an inferior opponent. This was not going to be a surprise upset, and this was not a patented swoon. This team looks ready to play. With wins over Creighton, Clemson, and Seton Hall already, Nebraska is putting together a decent NCAA Tournament resume, but as the rankings came out on Christmas Eve, the Cornhuskers actually dropped out of the Top 25. Weird.
Perhaps it was Creighton’s fall from whatever heights they have been at over the past few years, or I suppose it was the fact that a 24 point win just does not sway voters despite the fact that those do not just grow on trees, but it feels like Nebraska has done exactly what was asked of them this season and nobody cares. Outside of two dismal halves of basketball - both second halves against Minnesota and Texas Tech - Nebraska has played fairly impressively this season and it has resulted in a 10-2 record. KenPom has them ranked 14th overall and Sagarin currently lists them at 9th. Looking up and down at the Top 25, you have to wonder if this is more an indictment on Nebraska Cornhuskers past than present.
The stats are pretty straight forward. Nebraska is allowing opponents only 59 ppg on 38% shooting. From 3? Opponents are shooting 26%. That’s a great formula for success and with the starting lineup of James Palmer Jr.—who is starting to heat up finally and has gone 13/17 from 3 in the last three games—Isaac Copeland, Glynn Watson Jr, Isaiah Roby, and Thomas Allen, you have a recipe for success that can go toe-to-toe with any team in the conference. The fear going into the season of depth has also somewhat been assuaged with good minutes from defensive monster and 3-pt specialist Nana Akenten, newcomer Brady Heiman, and the minutes-eater Tanner Borchardt.
All said, Nebraska has a conference schedule that will allow for no breaks, but don’t sleep on this team. Yes, Nebraska has a way of seducing its fans into false belief, and if the Minnesota game taught us anything it’s that this team is also capable of losing at the worst possible moments. But, I like where things are headed and if you want to see some fun basketball, you should watch what Miles’ crew is putting together.
Is Nebrasketball underrated?
This poll is closed
Yep, the Huskers need more love.
They’re rated exactly as they should be.
Actually, they’re overrated.
Will Nebrasketball make the NCAA Tournament?
This poll is closed