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Taking A Look at Nebraska Basketball as the 2018-19 Season Approaches

How are things shaping up in Lincoln?

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Nebraska vs Michigan Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska Cornhuskers had one of the program’s best seasons in 2017-18, but one that did not equal a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

That goal is a central focus of the 2018-19, a point probably hammered home to players during their workouts this summer. It certainly does not seem out of reach. Nebraska returns their top four scorers from a team that won 22 games last season, 13 in the Big Ten.

Let’s take a look at some of the offseason storylines happening around the Nebraska program right now.

Forward Jordy Tshimanga Leaves Program

Nebraska couldn’t escape the transfer bug yet again this summer as forward Jordy Tshimanga announced he was leaving the program to pursue other schools.

The 6-foot-11 junior contemplated leaving Nebraska in January but seemed to commit to Nebraska moving forward by the end of the season. That did not materialize.

Tshimanga averaged 4.0 points per game and 4.6 rebounds. He struggled with fouling and Nebraska eventually pushed him out of the starting lineup in the middle part of last season. His departure will likely mean more small ball type lineups for this upcoming season.

The Dayton Daily Times reported on August 1st that Tshimanga and his younger brother, Emmanuel, visited campus to look to play for the Flyers.

Coach Tim Miles Receives An Extension

To reward Nebraska’s turnaround the athletic department extended the contract of Tim Miles one season to run through the 2020-21 season. The annual hot seat question has now cooled on Miles some, but it is interesting that the extension was only for one season. Usually, contracts need to run 4-5 years in advance to protect a coach’s ability to recruit. Nebraska instead opted for only a one-year extension which seems to indicate that the AD still wants to see more from Miles.

An NCAA Tournament bid this season would certainly add to the entrenchment of Miles at Nebraska, but there still is the lingering question of what happens if Nebraska doesn’t meet expectations this season? Miles may find himself right back where he’s been the past few seasons.

Isaiah Roby Nicked Up In Summer Workouts

The Cornhuskers avoided disaster in one of their summer workouts when 6-foot-8 forward Isaiah Roby left a session on crutches and in a boot. He appeared to jam his heel during a defensive drill according to a report from Big Read Today. Roby underwent an MRI and the results came back negative, so he should have plenty of time to heal up for practice officially beings in the Fall.

Roby is one of Nebraska’s most important pieces in the 2018-19 season. In the last eight games of the season, Roby averaged more than 13 points per game. Nebraska solidified their 13-5 mark in the Big Ten in that time span. Look for Roby to be one of Nebraska’s most important floor spacers and rebounders for the Huskers this season. A more sustained breakout campaign could lead to Nebraska’s first NCAA Tournament birth since 2014.

Thomas Allen Ready To Break Out?

Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports released a list of potential breakout players in the Big Ten for 2018-19 in late July. Husker guard Thomas Allen appeared on the list alongside some other young guns of the Big Ten.

Allen averaged 3.2 points per game last season in nearly 10 minutes of play. His best game last season came against Kansas. There he scored 13 points on 3-4 shooting from three and helped Nebraska nearly pull off the upset.

It might be tough for Allen to find sustained minutes in a backcourt that includes seniors Glynn Watson Jr. and James Palmer Jr., but Allen as a nice spark off the bench would sound nice to Tim Miles and his coaching staff.