2015-2016 ITH Season Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • 09/17/2015 9:06 am in

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

After the 2013-2014 season, things were swinging upward in Lincoln. Coach Tim Miles had led the Nebraska program, affectionately known by fans as Nebrasketball, to its first NCAA Tournament since 1998. The Huskers also had their leader Terran Petteway back for the 2014-2015 campaign.

However, things didn’t go according to plan last season after Nebraska started out ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press Poll. The Huskers finished 13-18 overall, 5-13 in Big Ten play and lost their last nine games.

This season Nebraska will be without Petteway, who left early for the NBA, but was not drafted. He led the team in scoring at 18.2 points per game, assists at 2.8 per game and rebounding at 4.9 per game.

Nebraska is also losing starters Walter Pitchford (attempting career in Europe) and David Rivers (graduation) and sixth man Tarin Smith (transferred to Duquesne). Bench players Moses Abraham and Leslee Smith, who both provided size and experience inside, also graduated.

With so much roster turnover, Nebraska will count heavily on young players and transfers. Andrew White (Kansas transfer), Barkari Evelyn, Ed Morrow, Glynn Watson (247Composite top 100), Jack McVeigh and Michael Jacobson will all be new to the program.

Watson and Morrow will both have a shot to start, at point guard and forward respectively. Morrow is the highest ranked recruit (No. 52) Nebraska has signed in almost 20 years, according to ESPN’s rankings. White should also contribute immediately on the wing and was a former top 50 recruit.

If there’s one certainty on Nebraska’s roster, it’s senior Shavon Shields. He was second on the team in scoring last season at 15.4 points per game and second in rebounding at six per game. He was in the top 15 on Inside the Hall’s rankings of the top 25 players in the Big Ten this season.

Guard Benny Parker is the other returning starter for Miles. The senior floor leader averaged 4.2 points last season.

The biggest challenge this season for the Cornhuskers will be their lack of depth up front following the departures of Pitchford, Smith and Abraham. Only one player is taller than 6-foot-8 and that is 6-foot-10 Jake Hammond who played sparingly a year ago.

Luckily for Cornhusker fans, Incarnate Word is not on the schedule this season, but the team will have several games before Big Ten play to get a better idea of where it stands. Nebraska travels to Villanova for its second game of the season and also faces Cincinnati and Miami (FL) at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Bottom Line: Nebraska loses a lot of talent, but is also bringing in a decent amount. The Cornhuskers won’t compete for a Big Ten title, but might have the ability to post an upset here and there, particularly at home. Getting to .500 should be viewed as a successful season in Lincoln.

Quotable: “We have to be creative with how we defend in the post so we don’t get guys in foul trouble. I think we’ll be OK rebounding. I’m not as worried about rebounding as I am just fouling in the post. Defensively, I’m worried about rim protecting. Can we be long enough at the rim? I just think if you run your stuff, keep the ball moving, keep people moving, drive close outs — doesn’t matter if they’re in man or in zone, you’re going to run good offense if you move the ball, move people and attack when you can,” Coach Tim Miles said to the Journal Star in August.

Previously: Rutgers, Penn State, Northwestern

(Photo credit: Eric Francis/Getty Images North America)

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    So much momentum coming out of the 13-14 season… and fell flat on their faces. They have a nice arena though.

  • TomJameson

    Our second game in the B1G is on the road to Nebraska. I think IU will have things figured out by then, but I really don’t want the team to relax against ANY team. This would go down as a bad loss (Mr. Obvious speaks). Nebraska should provide 2 wins this year.

  • twoturntables

    “Luckily for Cornhusker fans, Incarnate Word is not on the schedule this season” Ha!

  • OhioHoosier

    I know we always say “look out for them” or “that could be a dangerous game” but I honestly expect us to beat Nebraska by 25 points and be up by so much at half that Miles will forget to send out his halftime tweets.

  • calbert40

    Nebraska basketball reminds me a bit of IU football back when Hep helped us turn the corner. It is the obvious “red-headed step-child” to the other program on campus, and when they succeed, everyone fawns all over it. We finally had an above .500 season, made a bowl and looked to be an up and coming program…then we all know what happened after that (that’s where the comparisons stop…at least I hope for Miles’ sake)

    I think that Nebraska’s 2013-14 season was the exception and not the rule. I think Miles is a good coach, and he has done an admirable job even getting excitement in the program that was dormant for many years. But I think B1G finishes in the 10-14 range will be the norm for this program going forward.

  • TomJameson

    I just hope IU has the killer instinct enough so that when they are up by 25, the second group can come in and run it up to 35.

    I don’t want them to ease up at the end of a game, nor do I want them to ease up at the end of the season.


    Anyone see the ESPN list of programs best set to succeed? Indiana didn’t make it.

  • VailliencourtFan93

    I guess it’s more like Nebrask-uhh. You get it? Cause we’re not sure how good they’re going to be.


    We have fun here.

  • VailliencourtFan93

    Great Nebraska preview too. Way to go, Andrew.

  • BigAl24

    These suck

  • jaywiz

    While I understand your point, hep really only coached for about a year and a half, and passed away after the second season. It was the third season after he was hired that iu went to the insight bowl under the legendary Bill Lynch.
    Once again I understand the point/analogy you are trying to make and obviously Bill Lynch would not have taken that team to a 7-5 reg season record w/o Hep setting it up for success.

    Damn, talking about him always gets me down in the dumps. So sad. Now I gotta go watch Austin Starr’s kick…

  • calbert40

    Oh…my mistake. TBH, I’m not a huge football guy anyway, so I didn’t recall. I still believe that if Hep hadn’t had his health situation, he had a real chance to move us from B1G doormat to at least the middle of the pack each year with the occasional highly competitive season.

  • Meadows007

    Somebody should post the Crean/Miles staredown.