The Nebraska Cornhuskers came into this season with many question marks after their recent disappointing year. So far, the Cornhuskers have looked pretty good. The team is shooting well and finding multiple scoring options, but they have still not won a big game. The Cornhuskers have had three opportunities to prove that they might actually be an above average team, not just in the Big Ten, but in the nation. They have failed all three times by losing to Villanova, Cincinnati, and recently Miami. All three of those teams are nationally ranked and the Cornhuskers had a real shot of winning against Cincinnati and Miami, but Nebraska was completely outplayed by Villanova earlier this year.
Their most recent contest against Miami could have been the game were Nebraska proved that they are a pretty good team. Nebraska shot 50 percent from deep against Miami and Shavon Shields dropped 28 points, but that was not enough. Miami only shot 28.6 percent from deep on 21 attempts and still found a way to come away with the victory. It was a tough loss for Nebraska to take because they were at home and this game was a part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. If Nebraska would have came away with this win, the team would have turned many heads around the nation because Miami has been impressive so far this year (other than a loss to Northeastern).
Nebraska has had three chances to prove that they are ready to take the next step, but they have failed. It is early, but can Nebraska get that big win anytime soon?
Nebraska does not have really any big games that could be won before Big Ten play starts for them on Dec. 30. They are playing Rhode Island at home and Creighton on the road in the next couple weeks, but these wins would not mean much for Nebraska. If Rhode Island still had E.C. Matthews, then that would be a big game for the Cornhuskers because they were upset last year by Rhode Island when Nebraska was ranked. Now, Rhode Island is not very good without their injured star.
Nebraska first two Big Ten games are at home against the Northwestern Wildcats and Indiana Hoosiers. If Nebraska were to win both of these games, or even just one, then the team would be on the radar of Big Ten teams. Nebraska has the tools to be a successful team in the Big Ten. Their frontcourt still has a lot of question marks that need to be answered if they want to have a shot at making the NCAA tournament because frankly, their frontcourt production of offense has been horrendous.
Ed Morrow Jr, Jake Hammond, and Michael Jacobson play the most frontcourt minutes for the Cornhuskers, but they are all averaging less that five points per game. The team relies heavily on scoring from their wings and outside shooting. They average 19 three-point attempts per game and they are shooting 38.8 percent from deep as a team, which is pretty good. Three-point shooting is a huge key to Nebraska's success, but if they had more of a frontcourt presence on offense, the team's outside shooting would be even better. It would also create a more balanced attack that would prove to be more difficult for opposing defenses to stop.
Nebraska can win multiple big games this year, it just might take a little while before it happens. While Tim Miles and company have came up short several times this season, the team has remained competitive and there are plenty of reasons to remain optimistic as the season gets underway in Lincoln.