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Huskers Face Gophers in BIg Ten Tournament Opener

The Nebraska men’s basketball team begins postseason play Wednesday night as the Huskers will take on Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Huskers are the No. 11 seed while Minnesota is the No. 14 seed.

NU’s game against the Golden Gophers is scheduled to begin 25 minutes following the matchup between No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 13 Ohio State.  All-session and single-session tickets for the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament are on sale at the United Center box office and available online ( Wednesday’s game will be carried on BTN and the Huskers Radio Network and will also be available online on the Fox Sports app.


Game 32: vs. Minnesota
Date: Wednesday, March 9

Tipoff:  8 p.m. (CT)  

Location: Chicago, Ill.

Arena: United Center

On the Air

Wednesday’s game will be carried on the Huskers Radio Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KXSP (590 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington and will also be available on and the Huskers app. The pregame show begins an hour before tipoff.


TV/Online: Wednesday’s game will be televised on BTN with Brandon Gaudin, Robbie Hummel and  Andy Katz on the call. The game will also be available online on the Fox Sports app.

The Huskers (16-15) come to Chicago with plenty of momentum following an 81-78 win at Iowa on Sunday. Nebraska has won five of its last six games down the stretch to get over the .500 mark. Offensively, Nebraska shot 58.5 percent against Iowa, including a season-high 14 3-pointers, and had four players in double figures.  C.J. Wilcher scored seven of his 10 second-half points in the final four minutes, including five straight points to break a 75-all tie. The Huskers held Iowa without a field goal for the final six minutes, as Iowa shot just 35.6 percent from the floor in the second half.

Minnesota (8-21) comes off its best week of Big Ten play. The Gophers stunned Rutgers, 75-74, on a buzzer beater from Jamison Battle on Thursday before taking Wisconsin to the wire in a 71-67 loss on Sunday. In that game, Dawson Garcia had 19 points to lead three Gophers in double figures, while freshmen Breden Carrington (11) and Joshua Ola-Joseph (10) also finished in double figures.

Wednesday’s winner will meet sixth-seeded Maryland (20-11) Thursday night at approximately 8 p.m.

Worth Noting

• Nebraska is 6-2 since Feb. 1, which is the best record in the Big Ten in that stretch. Indiana (6-3), Michigan (6-4) and Northwestern (6-4) also have won six games since Feb. 1.

• Nebraska’s nine Big Ten wins are the most since winning 13 conference games in 2017-18. Of Nebraska’s 15 losses this season, 13 are against teams in the top 60 of the NET as of March 6. All 15 losses are in Quads 1/2.

• The Huskers win on Sunday gave NU its first sweep of Iowa since joining the Big Ten this season, and marked its first win in Carver-Hawkeye Arena since 2012.

• Nebraska’s offense has been a spark down the stretch. Over the last 11 games dating back to Jan. 25, the Huskers are shooting nearly 50 percent from the field. Of those 11 games, seven have come against teams currently ranked in the top 40 nationally in defensive efficiency.


Huskers’ Improved Shooting

Games FG Pct 3pt Pct. 3/GM
First 20 Games .439 .298 6.1
Last 11 Games .496 .359 7.8

Keisei Tominaga has been one of the Big Ten’s top scorers over the past month. He is averaging 21.7 ppg on 56 percent shooting since Feb. 1. Here’s how Tominaga’s numbers compare to the Big Ten’s top six scorers since Feb. 1.

Since Feb. 1 (Keisei + B1G Scoring Leaders)

Name (School) Avg FG Pct.
Trayce Jackson-Davis (IU) 22.7 .545
Zach Edey (Pur) 21.4 .608
Kris Murray (Iowa) 20.4 .456
Keisei Tominaga (Neb.) 20.0 .556
Boo Buie (NW) 19.8 .450
Hunter Dickinson (Mich) 19.4 .570
Jalen Pickett (PSU) 18.9 .567
Entering Big Ten Tournament

• Tominaga finished as one of eight power conference players averaging double figures while shooting 50 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range in conference games only (min. 1 made 3/gm). The others are Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State), Zach Freemantle (Xavier), Jack Nunge (Xavier), Jalen Pickett (Penn State), Kobe Brown (Missouri), Will Richard (Florida) and Riley Kugel (Florida)

• Tominaga led NU in scoring at 14.1 ppg in Big Ten play and became the third Husker to average double figures while shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range in conference play since the 3-point line was added to college basketball in the mid 1986-87.  The others are Isaac Copelend in 2017-18 (13.5/.506/.429) and Jaron Boone in 1993-94 (14.2/.510/.462).

• Tominaga had five straight 20-point games last month, the longest streak of consecutive 20-point games since Tyronn Lue had seven straight in 1997-98.

• Nebraska has tied a school record with its four overtime games, matching a mark which has been set six other times (also 2019-20, 2007-08, 1996-97, 1986-87, 1979-80 and 1955-66). Nebraska’s three OT wins this season are the most for the program since the 1986-87 team won a school-record four overtime games, including the third-place game of the NIT Tournament.

• Nebraska’s offensive outburst at Rutgers on Feb. 14 was impressive considering that Rutgers came into the contest second nationally in adjusted defense by KenPom and in the top 10 nationally in both field goal defense and scoring defense. The 82 points were the most Rutgers allowed at home since 2020, while NU became the first team to shoot 50 percent against the Scarlet Knights this season (.491 by Miami). The Huskers’ 69.1 effective field goal percentage was the best against Rutgers since Jan. 23, 2010, when the Scarlet Knights were in the Big East.

• Nebraska has faced one of the nation’s toughest schedules in 2022-23. As of March 6, Nebraska’s NET strength of schedule is 11th nationally, which is third among Big Ten teams (MSU 6, OSU 10). In addition, NU’s adjusted strength of schedule is 11th in KenPom as of March 6, which could mark the third time in Fred Hoiberg‘s four seasons that the Huskers have had a SOS in the top 10 (2019-20, 8th; 2020-21, 4th).

Schedule Strength

Category NCAA Rk. B1G Rk.
NET SOS 11th 3rd
   NET Non-Con SOS 79th 3rd
KenPom SOS 10th 2nd
KPI SOS 13th 2nd

• Nebraska played 13 regular-season road games, a total which led the Big Ten and ranked second among all power conference teams (DePaul, 14). NU’s four runs were highlighted by the Huskers’ first regular-season win at Creighton since 1997. The No. 7 Bluejays were the highest ranked opponent that NU beat on the road since 1997. The Bluejays, who are currently 14th in the latest NET, dropped only two home games all year – to Nebraska and Marquette. NU also picked up its first win in Iowa City since 2011-12 in the regular-season finale.

• Nebraska now has four Quad 1 wins (at Creighton, at Rutgers, Maryland and at Iowa) as well as four wins over teams in Quad 2 as of March 6.

• Nebraska overcame a 17-point second-half deficit in the win over Wisconsin on Feb. 11. It marked the Huskers’ largest comeback since 2012-13 and the second-largest comeback in the Big Ten era (2011-12 to present). The Huskers also overcame a 10-point second-half deficit in last year’s win over No. 10 Wisconsin in Madison. Prior to the loss to Nebraska, Wisconsin had not lost a game when leading at half since the 2021 Big Ten Tournament.

• According to BTN research, Nebraska’s comeback marked the first time since Dec. 9, 2015, that Wisconsin lost at least a 15-point lead (68-67 vs. UW-Milwaukee).

• Nebraska has nine active scholarship players available following season-ending injuries to Juwan Gary (shoulder), Emmanuel Bandoumel (knee) and Quaran McPherson (knee). In addition, Ramel Lloyd Jr. will redshirt this season, and Blaise Keita has missed the last two games with an ankle injury suffered in the final minutes against Maryland. Nebraska played just 10 games with its full starting lineup this year. 

• Entering the Big Ten Tournament opener, NU players have missed a combined 72 games this season: Quaran McPherson (31); Juwan Gary (14); Emmanuel Bandoumel (11); Blaise Keita (9); Derrick Walker (5); and Sam Griesel (2). McPherson had season-ending knee surgery in September, while Keita has not played since Feb. 19.

• Since the season-ending injuries to Juwan Gary and Emmanuel Bandoumel, freshmen guards Jamarques Lawrence and Sam Hoiberg have been thrown into the rotation.

• Since Jan. 24, Nebraska’s freshmen have accounted for 30.8 percent of the team’s total minutes. It was just 11.8 of the team’s minutes in the first 20 contests.

• Injuries have forced the Huskers to shuffle during the second half of the year. NU has used nine different lineups this season, as no starter has started all 30 games this season.

• Nebraska had started multiple freshmen in five consecutive games (Jan. 25-Feb. 8), including Denim Dawson, Jamarques Lawrence and Sam Hoiberg at Illinois on Jan. 31. That marked the first time NU started three freshmen

since the 2015-16 season.

• Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten, the Huskers have had 21 freshmen (true, redshirt or covid year) start at least one game, and Jamarques Lawrence became just the second Husker to reach double figures in his first start with 12 points against Northwestern. He joined Bryce McGowens (25 vs. Western Illinois, 2021) as the only two freshmen to score double figures in their first career start since 2011-12.

Derrick Walker is averaging a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game to rank ninth in the Big Ten in rebounding entering the Big Ten Tournament. Since 2000, only five Huskers – Ed Morrow Jr. (2016-17), Aleks Maric (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08), Andrew Drevo (2002-03), Kimani Ffriend (1999-2000, 2000-01) – have averaged at least seven rebounds per game. 

• Nebraska has been the one team to keep Zach Edey in check in 2022-23, holding the Big Ten Player of the Year to just 11.5 points per game in two contests. Edey’s two lowest scoring totals of the regular season came in the two games against Nebraska.

Numbers to Know

74.4 -Nebraska averaged 74.4 points per game over the last eight games after averaging 65.4 ppg in the first 23 contests. That is a big reason why NU went 6-2 down the stretch.

.928 – Nebraska is 13-1 this season when scoring at least 70 points. The only loss was at Michigan on Feb. 8. NU has scored 70+ points in seven of its last eight contests.

13.9 – Nebraska ranks ninth nationally and second in the Big Ten with 13.9 fouls per game as of March 6. Nebraska and Purdue are the only Big Ten teams in the top 25 nationally in fewest fouls per game.

2,200 – Combined points for Fred (1,993), Jack (125) and Sam (84) Hoiberg during their college careers. Sam went for double figures for the second time this season with 11 points in the win over Minnesota on Feb. 25.

12 – Nebraska had 12 basketball players make the Fall NU Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll with GPAs above a 3.00. The group included Wilhelm Breidenbach, Henry Burt, Denim Dawson, Jeffrey Grace III, Sam Griesel, Sam Hoiberg, Cale Jacobsen, Blaise Keita, Oleg Kojenets, Jamarques Lawrence, Keisei Tominaga and C.J. Wilcher

About Minnesota

Ben Johnson is in his second season in charge of the Golden Gopher program.  Johnson, who played at both Minnesota and Northwestern during his college career, won 13 games in his first season at Minnesota. Before taking the Golden Gophers job, he spent the prior three seasons at Xavier as an assistant. Previously, he had been an assistant with the Golden Gophers from 2013 to 2018. Johnson spent one season at Nebraska as an assistant coach under Tim Miles in 2012-13.

The Gophers have battled injuries, as Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia have both missed significant time this year. Minnesota was 6-6 at New Year’s and resumed Big Ten play with close losses at Wisconsin and against Nebraska before posting a 70-67 win at Ohio State on Jan. 12. The Gophers have played better since returning from a COVID pause in mid-February. Minnesota snapped a 12-game losing streak with a 75-74 win over Rutgers on March 2, and four of its last five losses have been by nine points or less.

The strength of the Gopher attack is the frontcourt duo of Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia. Battle, who led Minnesota in scoring with 17.5 ppg last season, is averaging 12.8 ppg while shooting 33 percent from 3-point range. Garcia, who played at both Marquette and North Carolina, has been an impact performer in his first season at Minnesota, leading the team in scoring (15.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.6 rpg). Point guard Ta’lon Cooper chips in 9.8 points per game and 6.1 assists per game to rank among the Big Ten leaders in assists. Minnesota also has several freshman who play significant roles, as four of their top seven scorers are freshmen.

Series History: Nebraska and Minnesota will meet for the 84th time on Wednesday, which is the most between the Huskers and any other Big Ten member. It is NU’s longest-running series in the Big Ten, dating back to February of 1902. The Gophers lead the all-time series, 57-26, while the Huskers have won 11 of the past 15 meetings, including both meetings this season. In all, 15 of the last 17 meetings have been won by the home team dating back to March of 2012.  Nebraska is 11-8 against the Golden Gophers as Big Ten members, but have never squared off in the Big Ten Tournament. Prior to joining the Big Ten in 2011-12, NU and Minnesota met in non-conference action every year from 1995 until 2004 after not playing for 16 years.

Last meeting Sam Griesel’s 19 points led six players in double figures as Nebraska posted a 78-67 victory over Minnesota on Feb. 25. Griesel scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half, as Nebraska withstood a number of late Gopher rallies. Minnesota cut a 14-point deficit to 58-52 with 7:28 remaining after Jaden Henley’s 3-pointer, but Griesel’s basket and two free throws by C.J. Wilcher pushed the lead back to 10 with less than five minutes remaining. Minnesota got to within seven four other times in the final 4:22, only to see Nebraska extend the lead. NU led 68-61 with 1:29 left before a Griesel basket started a 6-0 spurt to subdue the visitors one final time.

In addition to Griesel, Wilcher finished with 12 points, while Keisei Tominaga (11), Sam Hoiberg (11), Jamarques Lawrence (11) and Derrick Walker (10) all had at least 10 points.  Nebraska held Minnesota to 40.7 percent shooting and converted 19 Gopher turnovers into 21 points.  The Huskers had a season-best 13 steals, including four by Tominaga, which was a career high.

Jamison Battle and Ta’Lon Cooper led Minnesota with 12 points apiece, as the Gophers put five players in double figures.

Last Time Out

The Huskers used a strong shooting performance and a suffocating defensive effort down the stretch to rally from a seven-point second-half deficit for an 81-77 win at Iowa on March 5.

The Huskers completed the season sweep of the Hawkeyes thanks to a strong shooting performance. Nebraska shot 58 percent from the field in the game, helping the Big Red post the victory in a game where Iowa attempted 21 more shots, nine more free throws and committed nine fewer turnovers than Nebraska. The Huskers were 31-of-53 on the day, including 14-of-26 from the 3-point line (54 percent).

It was a balanced effort offensively, as all nine Huskers who attempted a shot scored at least nine points. Sam Griesel led the way with 16 points – including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc – and grabbed six rebounds. Jamarques Lawrence scored 15 points, knocking down five of his eight 3-point attempts. C.J. Wilcher was 5-of-7 from the field on his way to 12 points, while Keisei Tominaga added 11 points. Derrick Walker and Wilhelm Breidenbach chipped in nine points apiece. Walker flirted with a triple double as he added 12 rebounds and eight assists to go along with his nine points.

Defensively, Nebraska limited Iowa to 36 percent shooting. In the second half, the Husker defense harassed the Hawkeyes into an 11-of-37 performance (29.7 percent), including just 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) from the 3-point line. Nebraska’s defense did not allow a field goal over the game’s final 6:12, as Iowa missed its final seven shots.

Patrick McCaffery and Kris Murray led Iowa with 23 and 22 points, respectively. The Hawkeyes pulled down 21 offensive rebounds in the contest, leading to 31 second-chance points. Iowa added 21 points off Husker turnovers, but a 31-point advantage in those two categories was not enough to prevent Nebraska’s season series sweep.


Defensive Improvement

Nebraska has made significant improvement on the defensive end this season, which is a big reason why the Huskers are making a push for postseason play.

  • Nebraska has climbed from No. 178 to No. 60 nationally in defensive efficiency in KenPom as of March 7. NU was 35th in defensive efficiency on Jan. 21 when Emmanuel Bandoumel suffered his season-ending injury.
  • The jump is more impressive when you consider that Nebraska has played 15 games against teams currently in the top 50 nationally in offensive efficiency as of March 7.
  • NU’s 8.9 points per game decrease from last season is sixth nationally and second to Oregon State among power conference programs.
  • Nebraska has held 15 opponents to 1.0 point per possession or less.
  • In the overtime loss to No. 4 Purdue on Dec. 10, Nebraska held the Boilermakers to 0.99 points per possession. Purdue is 11th nationally in offensive efficiency as of March 7.
  • Nebraska held Iowa, which is currently third in offensive efficiency, to 0.76 per possession and just 26 percent shooting on Dec. 29 and just 36.5 percent shooting in Iowa City on March 5.
  • In NU’s win at No. 7 Creighton on Dec. 4, the Huskers limited the Bluejays to 0.73 points per possession, the Huskers’ best performance in a road game in over a decade.

 Biggest Decrease in Opponent PPG (as of March 6)

No. School (Conf.)  OPP PPG Decrease
1 Oregon St. (Pac-12) -11.0
2 Bucknell (Patriot) -10.9
3 Southern Miss. (Sun Belt) -9.5
4 Grambling (SWAC) -9.3
5 Col. of Charleston (CAA) -8.9

Nebraska (Big Ten) -8.9

 BIg Ten Tournament History
Nebraska is 5-11 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament, as it makes its return to Chicago for the first time since 2019. That season, the Huskers reached the quarterfinals following wins over Rutgers and Maryland.

  • The Huskers look to snap a four-game losing streak in the Big Ten Tournament dating back to 2019.
  • Nebraska is 3-3 at the United Center, picking up its first-ever Big Ten Tournament win in 2013.
  • The Huskers have reached the quarterfinals twice (2016 and 2019).
  • Nebraska has never faced Minnesota in the conference tournament.
  • Husker men’s basketball Coach Fred Hoiberg returns to the United Center for the first time at Nebraska. Hoiberg spent three-plus seasons with the Bulls, guiding Chicago to the 2017 NBA Playoffs

Walker Puts Together Strong Senior Season
Derrick Walker has made the most of his super senior season, becoming the first Husker since 2018 to earn at least second-team All-Big Ten honors, as he was a second-team pick by the Big Ten Coaches (honorable-mention by the media).

Walker’s Climb

2017-21 9.9 2.3 .588 2.3 0.5
2021-22 26.2 9.5 .683 6.0 1.4
2022-23 30.7 13.7 .587 7.3 3.8

Walker in Big Ten Rankings

Category No. Rank
Scoring 13.7 18th
Rebounds 7.3 9th
FG Pct. .587 2nd
Assists 3.8 8th


  • Walker is bidding to become the first Husker to ever lead Nebraska in scoring (13.7 ppg), rebounding (7.3 rpg) and assists (3.8 apg) in the same season, as he enters the Big Ten Tournament leading Nebraska in all three categories.
  • Walker ranks in the top 10 in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.587, second), rebounds (7.3, ninth) and assists (3.8, eighth).
  • He is one of only four power conference players to rank in the top 10 in their respective conference in both assists and rebounding. He joins first-team All-Big Ten picks Jalen Pickett (Penn State) and Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana) and Virginia Tech’s Justyn Mutts on that elite list.
  • He is one of just 14 players nationally averaging at least 13 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game as of March 4.
  • He has reached double figures 19 times, including five 20-point games, and five games with at least 10 rebounds.
  • Walker has a team-high three double-doubles (Memphis, Florida State and No. 4 Purdue) and six for his career.
  •  He nearly posted a triple double in the win at Iowa with nine points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, matching his career high in that category.
  • Walker posted his most recent 20-point game of the season against Maryland with a career-high 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots.
  • His double-doubles have come against Purdue (14 points/10 rebounds), Florida State (20 points/13 rebounds) and Memphis (15 points/12 rebounds).
  • Walker had one of the finest games of his career in NU’s OT win at Minnesota on Jan. 7 with 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He set or tied personal bests in both points and assists at the time.
  • He keyed NU’s win over No. 7 Creighton with a career-high 22 points on 11-of-16 shooting and eight rebounds against Ryan Kalkbrenner, the two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Walker averaged 9.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg in 2022, breaking NU’s single-season field goal percentage mark by shooting 68.3 percent from the field.

Tominaga Sparks Huskers’ Strong Finish
Junior Keisei Tominaga has been one of the Big Ten’s biggest surprises this season, as the 6-foot-2 guard has emerged as one of the conference’s top shooters.

Keisei’s Improvement

Year PPG FG Pct. 3Pt Pct.
2021-22 5.7 .373 .330
2022-23 12.8 .500 .403

Tominaga in Big Ten Games

Category No. Rank
Points per Game 14.2 15th
Field Goal Percentage .510 7th
3-pointers per game 2.4 5th
20-Point Games 7 7th

  • Tominaga earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and the media for his efforts this season, as he averages 12.8 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range. 
  • He leads the Huskers in both 3-pointers (64) and 3-point percentage (.403), as he ranks fifth in the Big Ten in 3-pointers per game.
  • Since moving into the starting lineup on Jan. 18, he is averaging 16.9 points per game on 53 percent shooting, including 41 percent from 3-point range. Tominaga has seven 20-point games in that span, including a 30-point effort against Penn State on Feb. 5.
  • He has a team-high 21 double-figure games, including eight 20-point games.  His most recent 20-point game came against Michigan State on Feb. 28 when he had 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including four 3-pointers.
  • He torched a Rutgers defense which led the Big Ten in scoring defense with 22 points in NU’s 82-72 win.
  • Tominaga scored 17 of his game-high 22 points against Wisconsin after halftime, including 12 points in Nebraska’s 20-2 spurt to erase a 17-point second half deficit.
  • He starred in Nebraska’s win over Penn State on Feb. 5, scoring a career-high 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting. He also matched his career high in 3-pointers with five in the 72-63 win.
  • Last summer, Tominaga was with the Japanese National Team, making his debut in the FIBA World Cup Asia qualifier in early July and then starred for Japan in the 2022 Asia Cup. In seven games with the Senior National Team, Tominaga averaged 15.9 points per game while shooting 39.3 percent from the 3-point line. His best performance came against Australia in the Asia Cup quarterfinals, when he poured in 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 8-of-15 from 3-point range.

Hometown Kid Making Good
Sam Griesel has enjoyed quite the homecoming, averaging 11.8 points, 3.8 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game from his point guard spot.  A Lincoln native, he spent the last four seasons at North Dakota State, earning All-Summit League honors in 2021 and 2022 before returning to Lincoln for his super senior year.

  • Griesel ranks eighth in the Big Ten in assists and in the top 20 in steals, rebounds, minutes and assist-to-turnover ratio.
  • He has 18 double-figure games this season, including seven straight games from Dec. 20 to Jan. 21 and in each of the last six contests following his 16-point effort at Iowa on March 5.
  • In this stretch, he is averaging 14.3 points per game on 51 percent shooting and 6.5 rebounds per game.
  • Griesel has three double-doubles, most recently at Rutgers on Feb. 14 with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Griesel had 21 points at Illinois on Jan. 31, his second 20-point game of 2022-23.
  • The senior came up big in the overtime win at Minnesota with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists, while going 6-of-6 from the foul line.
  • Griesel collected his second double-double in the win over Iowa in Lincoln on Dec. 29 with 12 points and team highs in rebounds (10) and assists (five).
  • The Huskers’ first scholarship recruit from Lincoln since Jake Muhleisen in the early 2000s, Griesel keyed NU’s win at No. 7 Creighton with 18 points, a season-high 12 rebounds and seven assists.

 A Change of Pace
One typical trait of a Fred Hoiberg team is to play at a fast pace. The Huskers led the Big Ten in pace in each of the last three seasons according to KenPom, including top-20 rankings in 2019-20 (16th) and 2021-22 (19th). NU has been the only Big Ten team to rank in the top 50 in any of the past three seasons.

  • The 2022-23 team has been completely different, as NU is 206th nationally in pace as of March 7. NU has had just 12 games with 70+ possessions this season and only two of those opponents (at Indiana, at Michigan) averaged 1.0 points per possession in those games.
  • Since the injuries to Bandoumel and Gary, NU has played at a faster rate and is 119th in tempo according to dating back to Jan. 25.

Playing with Pace (Adjusted Tempo per KenPom)

Year Hoiberg-Coached Team Big Ten Leader
2019-20 Nebraska (16th/1st) Same
2020-21 Nebraska (35th/1st) Same
2021-22 Nebraska (19th/1st) Same
2022-23 Nebraska (206th/5th) Iowa (53rd)

Stepping up to the Competition
Nebraska’s Derrick Walker has battled three of the nation’s top centers this year in Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner, Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis and Purdue’s Zach Edey. Kalkbrenner is the two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year (2022-23), while Jackson-Davis and Edey are both on the Wooden Award late season list. In four games against those teams – all of them against teams ranked in the top 15 at game time, Walker averaged 16.5 ppg on 62 percent shooting, while limiting the All-American candidates to 11.3 points per game.
Centers of Attention

Walker (NEB) 16.5 .627 6.8 3.5
Kalkbrenner (CREI), Edey (PUR), Jackson-Davis (IND) 11.3 .743 12.5 3.3

Lawrence Named Big Ten Freshman of the Week
Jamarques Lawrence was honored on March 6, as he was selected as the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week. Lawrence averaged 15.0 points on 63 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in two games last week.  He set or tied season highs in points (15), field goals made (seven), assists (four) and 3-pointers (five). He is the first Husker to receive either Big Ten weekly award this season and is NU’s first freshman honored since Bryce McGowens won the award eight times in the 2021-22 season.

Gary, Bandoumel to Miss Remainder of 2022-23 season

January was tough on the injury front, as NU lost two starters to season-ending injuries.

  • • On Jan. 25, Juwan Gary had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder. He is expected to return to action in 5-6 months.  Gary had started NU’s first 17 games before suffering the injury against Illinois on Jan. 10. He was averaging 9.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and a team-high 1.4 steals per game.  He ranked in the top 15 in the Big Ten in steals (seventh) and rebounding (15th) at the time of his injury and totaled nine double-figure games.
  • • Senior guard Emmanuel Bandoumel joined Gary on the sideline, as he suffered a knee injury in the first half of Nebraska’s game at Penn State on Jan. 21 and had surgery on Jan. 26th.  Bandoumel started NU’s first 20 games and averaged 8.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game. He was second on the team in minutes per game (31.1) and ranked third on the team in both assists and steals.

Revamped Husker Coaching Staff
In addition to nine new faces on the Husker roster (six scholarship players and three walk-ons), the Husker staff also has several new faces this season.

  • Assistant Coach Adam Howard comes to Nebraska after spending the last four seasons at South Alabama, helping the program to 75 wins in that span after the program had seven straight losing seasons. Last year, South Alabama won 21 games, the school’s highest total since 2008. Howard also coached at Troy, Tennessee, Southern Miss and Morehead State after playing collegiately at Western Kentucky.
  • Assistant Coach Ernie Zeigler comes to Lincoln after spending six years on Ben Howland’s staff at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs had four postseason appearances between 2018-22. Zeiger spent six seasons as the head coach at Central Michigan (2007-12) and previously served stints at UCLA, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Detroit and Bowling Green.

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