Going Deep: In or Out? New Selection Show to Tell
Four days down, five days to go.
That’s the excrucating timeline for the Nebraska men’s basketball team as it awaits its postseason fate – NCAA Tournament or National Invitation Tournament?
Most pundits and bracketologists have Nebraska (22-10, 13-5 Big Ten, fourth place) on the outside of the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Most, but not all.
One web site, teamrankings.com, is giving Nebraska a 79 percent chance of earning an at large bid and listed the Huskers as a No. 12 seed. Hoops analyst Erik Haslam of Haslametrics.com has Nebraska among the last four byes, ahead of the last four teams in, destined for play-in games in Dayton, Ohio.
Nebraska coach Tim Miles, in an interview with the Big Ten Network on Tuesday, reminded viewers that all 61 previous Big Ten teams to win 13 conference games made the NCAA Tournament.
“Here’s what I know,” Miles said. “We’re in.”
Nobody asked me – and nobody will – but wouldn’t Nebraska aiming for its first NCAA Tournament win in school history against a former Big 12 Conference foe be something of a storyline?
The Big 12 has a few teams that would fit the mold of a play-in game in Dayton. How about Nebraska-Oklahoma? Or even Nebraska-Texas?
The NCAA Selection Show will have a different format this year.
TBS is broadcasting the show for the first time. It previously aired on CBS. Sunday’s 2-hour broadcast begins at 5 p.m. CDT. (Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night!)
The biggest change is that all 68 teams will be announced, in alphabetical order, to begin the show. That will eat about 15 minutes. Then, the brackets and matchups will be revealed, followed by the analysis, interviews, discussion, etc.
Nebraska players, coaches and staff will have a private watch gathering at Miles’ home.
The Nebraska women, meanwhile, also remain precariously on the NCAA Tournament bubble, despite finishing third in the Big Ten and advancing to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
ESPN women’s bracketologist Charlie Creme had Nebraska as his first team out in his initial Tuesday bracket -- behind six other Big Ten teams, including Creme’s No. 6 seed, Iowa, a team the Huskers swept.
But later, Creme announced on Twitter that South Dakota State’s Summit League Tournament championship on Tuesday opened an at-large bid. So he put in Nebraska. (He previously had anticipated SDSU as an at-large team).
ESPN will announce the women’s field on Monday.
Good news for Nebraska fans in the greater Kansas City area – the men’s basketball team will participate in next season’s Hall of Fame Classic, Nov. 19 and 20 at Sprint Center. Other teams in the field are Texas Tech, USC and Missouri State.
Texas Tech seriously challenged Kansas for the Big 12 title this season, and USC, an NCAA Tournament bubble teams, has been trending upward under fifth-year coach Andy Endfield. Missouri State, meanwhile, will be playing under a new coach. The school fired seventh-year coach Paul Lusk after the Bears, picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference, instead finished seventh and went 18-15 overall.
Nebraska last played at Sprint Center on March 9, 2011, a 53-52 loss to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Tournament – the Huskers’ final game as a member of the Big 12.
Congratulations to James Palmer Jr., a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches, for being named Tuesday to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association All-District VI Team.
Palmer is the third Husker under Miles to make the team, joining Terran Petteway (2014) and Tai Webster (2017). Palmer helped the Huskers to 22 wins – the second-highest total in school history – and a school-record 13 conference wins.
Palmer enters the postseason ranked fifth in the Big Ten in scoring at 17.3 points per game, with 4.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals per game. The 6-foot-6 junior guard from Upper Marlboro, Md., finished Big Ten play averaging 18.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
The first practice of the Scott Frost era begins March 16, when Nebraska begins its spring football season. The team will take the next week off for spring break, then reconvene in earnest in preparation for the sold-out April 21 Red-White Spring Game at Memorial Stadium.
The Spring Game is earlier than normal – 11 a.m. – and so are Nebraska’s practices. The Huskers will practice at 6 a.m. throughout the spring, and tentatively will hold the early-morning practices in the fall, too, if it works with class schedules.
Of course, players have already been early risers for conditioning and workouts, so the early alarms shouldn’t be a shock to the system.
Reporters, on the other hand ….
Folks in New York made a big deal Friday about the Nor’easter that moved in during the Big Ten Tournament.
I guess that makes what we had in Nebraska on Tuesday a Mi’wester?
Reach Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @GBRosenthal.