With the 2019-’20 college basketball season wrapping up, it’s a great time to look back on the decade for the Big Ten. While the league didn’t win a national championship during the 2010s, it did send a variety of teams to the Final Four and had plenty of quality play.
So, in that mindset, BTP is looking at the most memorable games for each Big Ten team during the 2010s. These aren’t necessarily the most significant or the most fiercely contested games. Rather, they’re the most memorable. So, just because a game came in the postseason doesn’t guarantee it a spot on this list.
But before we jump in, a few other notes on our criteria. To qualify for this list, a game needed to happen sometime between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019. I realize that cuts between two seasons, but that’s the criteria we’re using. A team also didn’t have to win a game for it to make this list. For instance, Michigan’s loss to Louisville in the 2013 title game was certainly memorable, even though the Wolverines didn’t come out on top.
With that, let’s look at the 10 most memorable games for the Nebraska Cornhuskers over the last decade.
The Most Memorable Nebraska Games During The 2010s:
-Texas at Nebraska (February 19, 2011) — Nebraska 70, Texas 67
While this wasn’t Nebraska’s last game as a member of the Big 12, it did mark the program’s last marquee win before moving on to the Big Ten. The Longhorns came into Lincoln with a 23-3 overall record, an 11-0 mark in Big Ten 12 play, and had won 11 in a row. And while the Huskers weren’t an elite team, the group did have a 17-8 overall record heading into tip.
The game ended up living up to the hype, too, as it was close in the first half before Nebraska pulled away in the second. And despite a late 12-1 run by Texas, Nebraska did just enough to come out with the win.
-Nebraska vs. Oklahoma State (March 9, 2011) — Ok. St. 53, Nebraska 52
This game is notable for a few reasons. To start, it was a really entertaining battle in the 2011 Big 12 Tournament between two teams hoping to get into the postseason discussion. Nebraska and Oklahoma State were fighting for postseason positioning and the game ended up going down to the wire. That’s about all you can ask for in a league tournament.
But more importantly, this was Nebraska’s final conference game as a member of the Big 12. It was the end of an era and should be remembered as such. It wasn’t a victory for the Huskers, but it’s something that will remain with fans for a long time.
-Wisconsin at Nebraska (December 27, 2011) — Wisconsin 64, Nebraska 40
While this isn’t a good result for the Huskers, it’s the flip side of the Oklahoma State game described above. This was Nebraska’s debut as a member of the Big Ten and the beginning of a new era for the Huskers. Unfortunately, Nebraska didn’t end up on the right side of this game or the team’s first four league games. The Huskers would eventually top Penn State at home on January 11, 2012 to improve to 1-4 in Big Ten play.
-Nebraska vs Purdue (March 14, 2013) — Nebraska 57, Purdue 55
Although the 2012-’13 season was a disappointing one for Husker fans, there were a few bright spots and perhaps none more memorable than Nebraska’s 57-55 win in the 2013 Big Ten Tournament. It was the program’s first ever Big Ten Tournament win and was a sign of things to come for the 2013-’14 season. From a purely analytical perspective, the team’s wins over Iowa and Minnesota earlier in the year were probably better, but this one seemed to turn more heads nationally. The historical significance also cannot be overlooked.
-Nebraska at Michigan State (February 16, 2014) — Nebraska 60, MSU 51
The 2013-’14 season was a historical one for Nebraska’s program and perhaps no game better embodies what that year was for the Huskers than this one. While we knew Nebraska was an improved unit even before they knocked off the Spartans in February, nobody was sure of the extent until this result occurred. This was a shot heard around the Big Ten and nation, started an epic run to close Nebraska’s season, and helped the team get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998.
Beating a Tom Izzo team anywhere is tough, but doing it on the road is even more difficult. By any measure, this is a win that will be remembered for a long time.
-Wisconsin at Nebraska (March 9, 2014) — Nebraska 77, Wisconsin 68
If the win over the Spartan was the game where Nebraska began its run back to the NCAA Tournament, this is the one that cemented it. In front of an absolutely ferocious crowd, Nebraska closed the regular season out with a win over a Badgers team that would go on to make the Final Four and narrowly lose there against Kentucky. It was an epic performance from Nebraska that launched the program into the postseason.
We’ve seen some great Big Ten crowds over the years, but this is one that should stand out. The crowd was on fire from tip and never let off. There’s little debating that intensity had a real impact on this result.
-Nebraska vs. Baylor (March 21, 2014) — Baylor 74, Nebraska 60
While this might be the most disappointing result on this list, it deserves to be mentioned as Nebraska’s only game in the NCAA Tournament over the last decade. Unfortunately, after finishing the regular season on an 8-1 run, Nebraska fell flat in the Big Ten Tournament and followed it up again in the opening round of the NCAAs with a lopsided loss to teh Bears. Terran Petteway ended up with 18 points, but went 0-for-7 from three-point range.
-Michigan at Nebraska (January 18, 2018) — Nebraska 72, Michigan 52
After making the NCAA Tournament in 2014, Nebraska struggled over the following three years, compiling an underwhelming 41-55 record during the span and failing to make the NCAAs. But as the 2017-’18 season began, renewed excitement gripped the program. It finally felt like the Huskers might be able to repeat their 2013-’14 success.
And when a talented Michigan team came to town in mid-January, fans were hoping an upset could start a great run to close the season.
And while Nebraska ended up falling short of its NCAA hopes, the game against Michigan proved memorable. The Huskers blew out the Wolverines by a 72-52 margin. It was a great win against an opponent that would go on to play in the national championship game.
-Nebraska vs Maryland (March 14, 2019) — Nebraska 69, Maryland 61
This game is notable for a few reasons. To start, it marked one of the most surprising results of the 2019 Big Ten Tournament. Nebraska entered as a sizable underdog and yet still found a way to upset a really solid Maryland team. Add in Nebraska’s significant roster issues entering the game and this result becomes even more surprising. The Huskers were frequently forced to rely on unheralded prospects and unfamiliar faces in grabbing the 69-61 win.
But most importantly, this game was really the last moment of glory for Miles at Lincoln. After he lost this game, Nebraska slipped into the NIT and his future was set in stone. Nebraska was able to knock off Butler in the postseason, but everyone knew it was over for Miles and his staff. For many, this will remain the last image of the Miles’ era.
-UC Riverside at Nebraska (November 5, 2019) — UC Riv. 66, Nebraska 47
This isn’t a game that will be remembered much nationally, but it’s one that will stay in the minds of Nebraska fans for quite some time. A 19-point loss to UC Riverside alone is pretty surprising, but this was also Fred Hoiberg’s first game with the Huskers. Last season was a tough one for fans and they’ll have to hope this wasn’t a foreboding sign.
Disagree with our list? Tell us your picks in the comments below.