clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Could the Huskers go dancing in March?

After a 20 point win against Michigan, does Nebraska have the talent to make a run?

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska Cornhuskers just beat No. 23 Michigan and now comfortably place themselves in the upper tier of the Big Ten standings.

For a down year in the Big Ten, it will be important for a team like Nebraska to capitalize on all the chances they have, including a win against a ranked opponent like Michigan.

Nebraska took advantage of having home court against Michigan, and led for the majority of the game. Even though Michigan shot poorly, it could be said that was because of Tim Miles defensive plan, or better yet, assistant coach Kenya Hunter’s defensive plan.

“I think we only had 4 or 5 open threes all game,” said Michigan head coach John Beilein during his postgame press conference.

Nebraska’s mentality during games is to play highly energetic and tight defense to cause turnovers, which leads to fast break points that the Huskers thrive off of. Around the 10:00 mark of the first half Nebraska had already caused eight turnovers against a Michigan team that has one of the best turnover margins in the Big Ten.

When Nebraska can feed off of another team’s frustrations and errors, that is when they’re at their best, and their best should worry Big Ten opponents.

Looking ahead in Nebraska’s schedule, another important road game that could really improve their NCAA tournament resume comes against No. 22 Ohio State on Monday.

While this game would really help out Nebraska in going to the big dance, this game isn’t a necessity to make the dance. What will really put Nebraska in the NCAA tournament is the games they should win, especially the ones at home.

Half of Nebraska’s game left take place in Lincoln, while the rest force the Huskers to travel around. Nebraska faces Iowa, Rutgers, and Maryland at home, while ending the regular season with two straight home games against Indiana and Penn State.

Nebraska currently ranks ahead of all of those teams besides Indiana, and the Huskers could very well jump in front of the Hoosiers by season’s end. Win at least four out of the five home games, then three out of the five away games, Nebraska gets to 12 wins in conference play and 21 wins on the regular season.

21 overall wins and 12 conference wins in the past couple of years in the Big Ten would always be enough to make the NCAA tournament, but with the struggles of the Big Ten during non-conference play, the million dollar question will be how many Big Ten teams the committee takes. Nebraska will need to accomplish at least the four wins at home and three road games if they want to go dancing.

As previously mentioned, the Huskers face off at No. 22 Ohio State on Monday, then just two days later travel to New Jersey to face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. This two game road stretch will be crucial to Nebraska’s success.