A Nebraska basketball primer
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are known for the Triple Option, Tommy Frazier, the Blackshirts and Tom Osborne. Last time I checked those were all football references. What about the basketball team? Is there anything there?
With Nebraska joining Northwestern as the other 'NU' in the Big Ten shortly here's a quick primer on the Cornhuskers' basketball team.
Head Coach: Doc Sadler just finished his 4th season as the head coach at Nebraska after two seasons at UTEP. He has a career record of 117-73 (.629), but only a .529 winning percentage at Nebraska. Overall he's been two one NCAA Tournament and three NITs.
Recent History: In 2009-10 the Cornhuskers weren't good at basketball, but not as awful as their record indicates. They finished 15-18 and 2-14 in the Big 12. Pomeroy had Nebraska as the 85th best team in the country at the end of the season, three spots below Northwestern. Nebraska had both a slightly better than average offense and defense, but neither were good enough to win games against quality opponents. Good news for Northwestern, the Cornhuskers were terrible at guarding the three-point line last season.
Star Player: The Cornhuskers had a number of seniors on last season's team and they'll probably be rebuilding whenever they do come to the Big Ten. Notable players that might still be around include freshman Brian Diaz and sophomore Brandon Richardson.
Venue: The Lincoln Haymarket Arena is going to be ready for 2013, but currently the Cornhuskers play in the Bob Devaney Sports Center. It seats 13,595 people. Which of course makes it way bigger than Welsh-Ryan Arena. Of course every Big Ten arena is bigger than Wesh-Ryan.
History: Nebraska has made six NCAA Tournament appearances. The last one was in 1998. The only time the Cornhuskers won the Big 12 conference tournament was in 1994. And it appears that it is going to be that way for a long, long time. Nebraska has appeared in the NIT 16 times. This seems to be a clear sign of a mediocre major conference program. Overall the school has a .550 all-time winning percentage.
Overall: It is obvious that Nebraska is a football school. The basketball team is often forgotten and ignored. Expansion isn't done for basketball reasons because it doesn't drive the revenue that big time football does for conferences. The addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten will give Northwestern another team to compete against in the upper tier of the bottom half of the conference. Expect a number of battles for the sixth or seventh spot in the standings between the two 'NU' schools in the future.