2024-25 Big Ten offseason at a glance: Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • 05/29/2024 7:15 am in

Welcome to “Big Ten offseason at a glance,” a team-by-team look at the conference at the start of the summer. We’ll examine roster movement for each Big Ten roster and give an early outlook for each Big Ten program for the 2024-25 season.

Previously: Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Oregon, Washington, Maryland

Today: Nebraska (23-11 overall in 2023-24, 12-8 in Big Ten play)

Nebraska reached the NCAA tournament last season for the first time since 2014. The Cornhuskers lost 98-83 to Texas A&M. Fred Hoiberg is entering his sixth season in Lincoln.

Nebraska roster movement

Players returning with eligibility remaining: Brice Williams, Juwan Gary, Rienk Mast (out for next season due to injury), Sam Hoiberg, Ahron Ulis (status unknown)

Players departing due to exhausted eligibility: Keisei Tominaga, Josiah Allick, Jarron Coleman

Players who departed via the transfer portal: Matar Diop (to Loyola Marymount), Eli Rice (to Penn State), Ramel Lloyd (to Long Beach State), CJ Wilcher (to Texas A&M), Blaise Keita (to Western Kentucky), Jamarques Lawrence (to Rhode Island)

Players arriving via the transfer portal: Connor Essegian (from Wisconsin), Gavin Griffiths (from Rutgers), Rollie Worster (from Utah), Andrew Morgan (from North Dakota State), Braxton Meah (from Washington)

Players arriving via high school: Nick Janowski, Braden Frager

The Cornhuskers have 12 scholarships filled for next season if Ulis is a part of the roster. His status is currently unknown because of his involvement in gambling during his time at Iowa. It’s also worth noting that Mast is expected to miss all of next season with an injury.

What to like about Nebraska

The Huskers play an exciting, up-tempo brand of basketball with a creative offensive scheme under Hoiberg. Everything came together last season in Lincoln as Nebraska ranked No. 32 in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric and No. 43 in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Nebraska returns two key pieces: Williams and Gary, who should start at the three and four, respectively. Williams averaged 13.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists last season, while Gary added 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Hoiberg also added critical pieces from the transfer portal, including Worster, who will be the team’s point guard, and Essegian and Griffiths, a pair of capable perimeter shooters. Nebraska also added Meah, a 7-foot-1 center who averaged 5.3 points and 5.3 rebounds and will likely start due to Mast’s injury.

What to question with Nebraska

Tominaga is gone, which leaves the Huskers with a major offensive hole to fill. Last season, he was the team’s leading scorer at 15.1 points per game and one of the toughest covers in the league because of how well he moved away from the ball. No guard left on the roster can score at the level Tominaga did.

Point guard depth behind Worster is also a question, as is production in the post with Mast’s injury. Meah and Morgan have size, but their play will be downgraded from what Mast provided.

Nebraska’s outlook for the 2024-25 season

Here’s Nebraska’s Big Ten schedule for next season:

Home: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Rutgers, UCLA, USC
Away: Michigan State, Northwestern, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, Washington, Wisconsin
Home/Away: Iowa, Maryland, Ohio State

Bart Torvik’s projections have Nebraska just inside the top 40 for next season, which seems a little high for a team with some solid returnees but clear questions to answer.

Reaching the NCAA tournament for a second straight season would be a major success for Nebraska. The last time Nebraska made the NCAA tournament in consecutive seasons was 30 years ago when it made four straight from 1991 through 1994.

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