Nebraska Cornhuskers: NCAA Tournament Team Preview

Cornhuskers NCAANebraska University Cornhuskers (11 Seed, West Bracket)

Record: 19-12 (11-7 Big Ten)

Coach: Tim Miles

Tournament Berth:  At Large

Big Wins: Florida Gulf Coast, Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin

Big Loses: UMass, Creighton, Cincinnati, Iowa, Michigan

Second year coach Tim Miles has built a winning attitude at Nebraska, starting with a “win at home” mentality that saw the Cornhuskers lose only one game at their brand new Pinnacle Bank Arena, 71-70, to Big Ten regular season champion Michigan.  After seeing their record fall to 8-8 following a 5-game losing streak in the middle of the season, the team went 11-4 the rest of the way and earned a number-four seed and a bye in the first round of the Big 10 post-season tournament.

Top Players

POINTS

PPG

FG%

FT%

3PT%

Terran Petteway

18.1

.430

.820

.343

Shavon Shields

12.7

.438

.731

.304

REBOUNDS

REB

OFF

DEF

BPG

Shavon Shields

5.8

1.4

4.4

0.3

Terran Petteway

4.9

0.9

4.0

0.7

ASSISTS

APG

SPG

TO

AST/TO

Tai Webster

2.0

0.8

1.9

1.1

Terran Petteway

1.6

0.9

2.7

0.6

Starting Five

F– David Rivers

F – Terran Petteway

F – Walter Pitchford

G – Shavon Shields

G – Derrick Walton Jr.

Who’s Hot:  Shavon Shields averaged 12.7 points on the season, but in the final four games for the Cornhuskers, he’s averaged 18. The only time he was above his season average in those four game was in a 12-point performance during the team’s loss to 24-ranked Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the Big 10 tournament. Shields is one of the smartest players on the court too. Terran Petteway, the team’s leading scorer, averaged 23 points over Nebraska’s last two games, five points above his average.

Who’s Not: The other side of the coin in the Huskers’ near-perfect home record is their troubles playing away from Lincoln. Playing in the Big 10, tough road game are the rule more than the exception, but Nebraska lost to some of the weaker teams in the conference away from home too. As with any up-and-coming team, they must figure out how to get over the “road” hump.

Outlook:  With the team’s inability to win away from home, the picture does not look rosy for Nebraska in the NCAA tournament. Coach Tim Miles is trying to change the culture of Nebraska Cornhuskers basketball, and has started with developing an excitement for the program for home games. As they hit the road for new experiences in the post-season tournament, they will have an opponent bigger than that of the teams they will be playing. They will be battling the ghosts of Cornhusker basketball past. The Nebraska basketball team has not made the field for the tournament since 1998, and has made the tournament only six times in their history. They have never won a first-round game. They will also be battling memories of their loss to Ohio State in the Big 10 tournament. Even though the final score showed they lost by only four points, 71-67, it was a bitter loss. The Buckeyes erased an 18-point second half lead behind relentless full court pressure for which Nebraska had no answer. The loss dropped Nebraska to 1-3 all-time in Big 10 tournament play.  If the tournament selection committee places them in a venue easily accessible for their fans, the Huskers have a chance for their first NCAA tournament win ever.

Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
@Chuck_pod

Sources:
ESPN
Husker Max
Big Ten

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