The Nebraska Cornhuskers did not have very high expectations heading into this college basketball season. They lost one of their best players in Terran Petteway from last year, but they have replaced him quite smoothly with transfer Andrew White III, who has been terrific. The team welcomed back players like Shavon Shields, Benny Parker, and Tai Webster, who have all been been pretty good this year, especially Shields. The team also welcomed some talented recruits in Ed Morrow Jr., Jack McVeigh, and Glynn Watson Jr, who have helped out immediately.
Now, the Cornhuskers were not looked at as a potential Big Ten contender before the start of the season, and it was even a bit of a stretch to think about them as a NCAA tournament team, but they have showed some great signs, and they have shown some bad signs. Below are a few takeaways from the Cornhuskers' season so far.
Andrew White III Has Been Phenomenal
Many people were wondering who was going to replace Petteway for the Cornhuskers after he left early for the NBA Draft, and coach Tim Miles and Co. have certainly found a worthy replacement in White. He has great size on the wing, and he is a fantastic deep shooter. He is averaging 17.1 PPG (leading the team), 5.5 RPG, and he is shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from deep. White and Shields are Nebraska's top scoring options and they have both been pretty good this year for the team.
Not many players in the Big Ten have been as a good as White this season and that is certainly saying something.
Nebraska Is Too Inconsistent
Nebraska this season has shown that they can compete with some of the better competition around the country, but they have also shown that they can lose to almost any team. Take their game against Samford for example, the Cornhuskers just did not come to play that night. They suffered a bad loss to a mid-major team at home after coming off a pretty big win over Rhode Island. The Cornhuskers was also on a pretty good stretch at the beginning of the season after playing some really good games at the Barclays Center Classic, losing to a really good Miami team in overtime, but in their next game they got dismantled by Creighton.
Other than the Samford loss, the Cornhuskers do not have any terrible losses. The team just needs to bring it on every night so they do not lose to teams like Samford or get demolished by Creighton, which is another team the Cornhuskers could have beaten.
The Freshmen Have Been Alright
Watson, Morrow, and McVeigh have all played a lot for the Cornhuskers in their first season. Each player has showed some great signs, but every time you think they are going to take the next step, they disappoint. Watson plays the most as a freshmen and he is averaging 7.5 PPG, while McVeigh averages 5.0, and Morrow averages 3.1, These numbers do not jump off the page at all and each one of these players has to step up a little more.
Morrow is very vital to Nebraska's success because the team does not have much of a frontcourt presence, so Morrow has to become a beast down low down the road.
An 8-5 record for Nebraska is not too bad to start the season, even though a loss to Samford is inexcusable the team has been alright this year. They start Big Ten play against the Northwestern Wildcats at home. This is yet another opportunity for the Cornhuskers to show that they can be much more than just bottom tier Big Ten team.