One of the more prominent storylines in August, outside of the inevitable recruiting chatter, is the exhibition trips a number of teams take each year. Besides for these trips being a way to add additional practices, play with new players and work on things you can't really replicate in a team practice, they also offer a relatively early open look at the team before the season rolls around later on in the fall. We've already touched a bit on the trips Illinois and Minnesota are currently on, but there are also two other Big Ten teams that have recently departed for their own overseas exhibition trips (Nebraska and Northwestern).
Today we're tackling the Cornhuskers, who will be an interesting team to keep an eye on next season. Nebraska used a late season push to make it to the NCAA Tournament back in 2013, but the team took a step back last season as they failed to return to the postseason on their way to a disappointing 13-18 finish. Mix that with the loss of star Terran Petteway, forward Walter Pitchford and a slew of others and you now have a Nebraska team that will look drastically different than last season. Considering how they finished, though, that might not be a bad thing. With Shavon Shields set to return, Kansas transfer Andrew White III now eligible and a strong recruiting class, including Illinois natives Ed Morrow Jr. and Glynn Watson, the 2015-16 Nebraska Cornhuskers team has plenty of talent and loads of potential, with the team at least ready to have a better season than last year.
The question now is if all of the fresh faces can come together and form a competitive Big Ten team that is more like the 2013-14 Cornhuskers and less like last season's disappointment. Nebraska's August trip to Spain is the first glimpse of what we can expect a few months from now and so far it's off to a decent enough start.
While competition on these trips can vary, a 79-64 win is a nice way to get things rolling. Nebraska, a team that struggled at times on offense last year, managed to shoot a solid 48% from the field, with a decent amount of that stemming from a big day by Taj Webster (17 points on 8 of 12 shooting). Freshman Ed Morrow Jr. also had a hot hand, adding in 17 points himself, while both Andrew White III and Jack McVeigh reached double digits. While the game was tied at the break, Nebraska eventually opened up a 22 point lead in the fourth thanks to a 28-7 third quarter over Eurocolegio Casvi. Shavon Shields, who is expected to be one of the team's key players this season, also had a strong day with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Of course there were a few hiccups along the way, mainly a so-so day from beyond the arc and a ghastly 24 turnovers. That being said, 28% from three isn't the worse stat line as the game utilized FIFA rules, meaning the three point line was deeper than what it is at the college level.
Next up for the Cornhuskers will be Albacete Basket on Tuesday. While there are still some things to work on, Nebraska's newcomers seemed to hit the ground running and it has to be nice for fans to see the offense rolling along efficiently enough.
Anyways, on to some social media fun.
Adidas might get a bad rap for their uniforms, but not gonna lie...Nebraska's jerseys for this trip are on point. Especially the shorts.
I find it funny that the Nebraska basketball managers happened to buy a considerable amount of Big Red gum for their trip. Coincidence? I think not.