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3 keys and a prediction for Nebraska Basketball vs Michigan State



Nebraska Basketball
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

There is another huge game on tap for Nebraska Basketball on Tuesday and here are three keys and a prediction vs Michigan State.

Nebraska basketball will play Michigan State for the second time this season but this is a much different Huskers squad than the one that lost by 18 to Michigan State back in January.

For one, Nebraska has a different starting lineup. The Huskers lost two starters due to injury but have still found a way to play their best basketball as the calendar is about to shift to March.

While Michigan State is solidly in the NCAA tournament, Nebraska is hoping to make its way to the postseason too. An NIT bid certainly seems possible but if the Huskers keep winning, who knows?

Regardless, a win on Tuesday (8 PM CST tip) would put Nebraska two games over .500 and would ensure a non-losing season for the first time in the Fred Hoiberg era. Nebraska also has a chance to finish in the top 11 and avoid playing on the first day of the Big Ten tournament.

Beyond that, it’s Senior Day. Derrick Walker and Sam Griesel will walk, as will Emmanudel Bandoumel and Keisei Tominaga, although his future is still in doubt.

With all that in mind, here are three keys and a prediction for Nebraska basketball vs Michigan State.

Better halfcourt defense

In the first meeting, Nebraska was atrocious on the defensive end of the floor, allowing Michigan State to score 1.12 points per possession. Michigan State rebounded 35 percent of their misses and they didn’t miss that much with an effective field-goal percentage of 53.8.

The stat that really jumps out though is assists. Michigan State was credited with 24 assists on 31 field goals. That’s over 75 percent and it shows that Michigan State was killing Nebraska with its actions and ball movements.

Tom Izzo coached teams are always really strong on the defensive end. They rebound, generally transition well and run really good stuff on the offensive end.  You have to communicate and be on your game defensively. Nebraska wasn’t in the first meeting, and it has to be better on Tuesday night.

Be competitive on the boards

Another mind-boggling stat from the first matchup was the fact that Michigan State doubled up the Huskers on the boards with 40 compared to 20. Nebraska is a pretty solid defensive-rebounding team, but Juwan Gary is really missed in that department.

Nebraska actually ranks 12th in the Big Ten in allowing offensive rebounds to opponents and whatever happens, the Huskers can’t allow Michigan State to beat them up on the glass.

The Spartans aren’t as good a rebounding team as they usually are but Nebraska knows what they are capable of. The Spartans are also fifth in the Big Ten in forcing turnovers, so again, limiting extra possessions will be huge for the Huskers.

Make some shots

The offense will need to be more productive than the 56 points scored in East Lansing. Part of that was a 2-of-14 effort from 3-point range. Keisei Tominanga played just 11 minutes in the first meeting, so this will be an entirely different offense to defend.

Tominaga is the perfect guy to play with Derrick Walker, who is an elite passer for a big because he moves so well without the ball. He also leads the Big Ten in field-goal percentage when finishing at the rim.

The Japanese Steph Curry will need to get going in the Vault but the Huskers need to continue to run their offense through Derrick Walker. If Michigan State chooses to guard him one-on-one, Walker should have a nice day at the office and if he’s doubled (as I expect some of the time) the onus will be on the Huskers to make shots.

It’s easy to say but Michigan State is first in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage defense, second in overall field-goal percentage defense and sixth in 2-point defense, so the Spartans don’t make it easy. Then again, Rutgers has a stellar defense too and Nebraska tore that to shreds.

The key to that has been more than just Tominanga, but all the Nebraska guards playing well — Griesel, Jamarques Lawrence, Sam Hoiberg. Teams that win this time of year are getting good guard play and so is Nebraska.

It just needs to continue and against Michigan State, in addition to taking care of the basketball, the guards are going to have to make shots — tough, contested ones — to win.

Nebraska basketball vs Michigan State Prediction

Michigan State is a solid team. They have a bunch of former top-100 players. Joey Hauser, A.J. Hoggard, Tyson Walker, Mady Sissosko, and Malik Hall can all make things happen. The Spartans have solid guards and when Hauser gets going, they are tough to beat.

Hoggard and Walker are all capable of carrying the offense at times too. The Spartans have a lot of shooters as they always seem to do and if Nebraska’s defense isn’t on point, MSU will win this game.

However, I think Nebraska will find a way. It might be putting Griesel on Hauser for all we know, but I expect a much better defensive effort and on Senior night at the Vault, which is going to be insane, this team won’t be denied.

Nebraska 69, Michigan State 65. 

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Nebraska Cornhuskers news: Jeff Sims still not 100 percent, a flip attempt, and more



Nebraska football
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football QB Jeff Sims still isn’t 100 percent, plus more Nebraska Cornhuskers news.

One thing we know for sure about the Nebraska football quarterback situation is that we won’t know anything until kickoff on Saturday against Louisiana Tech.

Matt Rhule said that he won’t be making any announcements prior to the game, similar to last week, about the starting quarterback. Marcus Satterfield told reporters on Tuesday that Sims took “50-55 percent of the snaps” so he’s improving, but according to Rhule, he’s still not 100 percent.

Rhule indicated that Sims is throwing the ball well. The Nebraska Cornhuskers just want to see some more movement skills out of their starting quarterback. One of the starting quarterbacks I should say since Sims and Heinrich Haarberg were listed as co-starters this week on the depth chart.

We’ll see how it plays out. If Sims is healthy, I expect that he will get the start or at least play, but with how thin Nebraska football is at running back, both quarterbacks will probably be needed, especially with their prowess for pounding the rock.

Nebraska Cornhuskers aiming to flip Michigan State 4-star

Andrew Dennis is a 6-foot-5, 275-pound offensive lineman rated as a four-star prospect by the 247 Sports composite rankings. He’s out of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, and has been committed to Michigan State since April but Nebraska football is one of many programs to throw out a recent offer.

We don’t know if Dennis has any plans to visit Nebraska football. He’s been offered by Auburn, Stanford, Penn State, and Purdue just since Monday. I wouldn’t get too serious worrying about Dennis until he takes a visit to Nebraska, but if that happens, watch out.

It’s at least a name to keep on the radar and a decommitment definitely seems possible with the situation going on at Michigan State with Mel Tucker getting fired.

Nebraska Cornhuskers Big Ten basketball schedule released

We knew which teams Nebraska basketball would play in the 2023-24 Big Ten season but got the official schedule on Tuesday. The Huskers released it on their official Twitter account.

Nebraska basketball will open Big Ten on December 6th against Minnesota on the road. Fred Hoiberg’s first conference home game will be against Michigan State on December 10th.

The schedule is fairly balanced in terms of the home and road games. The Huskers have consecutive home games twice on the conference schedule. Nebraska has also back-to-back road games twice.

My first impressions though, are that Nebraska basketball is capable of a winning season in Big Ten play, which would definitely keep Fred Hoiberg in place and likely, would give the Huskers a realistic shot at making their first NCAA tournament since the 2014 season.

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Nebraska Cornhuskers news: Matt Rhule runs a tight ship, momentum with Caleb Benning, and more



Nebraska Cornhuskers
Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska Cornhuskers opened fall camp on Monday and Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule runs a tight ship, plus a Caleb Benning update, and more.

You got the idea that Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule was going to take an old-school approach when he announced the Nebraska Cornhuskers would be spending the first two weeks of camp in the dorms.

But on Monday, the old-school approach continued.

Over the weekend, there were tons of rumors circulating among Nebraska football fans on Twitter about Myles Farmer and his status for the 2023 season. As it turns out, he was suspended by coach Rhule.

Rhule didn’t say why, just that Farmer didn’t live up to the standard. Rhule did say it was up to Farmer and his actions in regard to returning to the Nebraska Cornhuskers this season. Farmer started 11 games last season for Nebraska fotoball and was one of the team’s leading tacklers.

Another starting defensive back, Marques Buford is also missing the start of camp due to injury rehab.  Omar Brown and Corey Collier will have to step up, but the progress of Farmer will be something to watch.

Nebraska football making an impression on Caleb Benning

It’s clear that Nebraska football is trending up in the recruitment of in-state athlete Caleb Benning. The 5-foot-11, 183-pound defensive back/wide receiver, visited the Huskers again on Monday to take in practice.

All told it was the third unofficial visit of the past week for Benning. He visited early last week when the dead period ended and was also part of the “Cookout” on Sunday when more than 30 Nebraska football recruits were on campus.

In an interview with Steve Marik, Benning has even talked about a potential update to his timeline. He’s been saying that he will announce a commitment in December, but if he decides to commit sooner, I think that would be a great sign for Nebraska football.

I know the Huskers could land Amare Sanders and I hope they do. However, that shouldn’t impact Benning. Nebraska football is showing that he’s a priority and my prediction is that he’s N before it’s all said and done.

More Nebraska Cornhuskers news

  • The Nebraska basketball team made its debut on the trip to Spain and won its first game in overtime. Nebraska only had six scholarship players available, so you can only take away so much, but Brice Williams was spectacular with 28 points, five rebounds, and four assists in the 89-84 win over the Madrid All-Stars. CJ Wilcher had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jamarques Lawrence pitched in with 14. Rienk Mast was playing with the Netherlands in international play and also had a stellar showing, scoring 26 points and making 6-of-10 3-pointers. So far, so good for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in terms of the portal.
  • While plenty of highlights and photos surfaced from day one of Nebraska football camp, maybe the highlight that stood out the most was Tristan Alvano’s 50-yard field goal in practice. The freshman is battling for the starting kicking job and my money is on him to win it.

Final Nebraska Football 2023 game-by-game predictions

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3 thoughts on commitment of Matar Diop to Nebraska basketball



Nebraska basketball
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Fred Hoiberg landed another player for the 2023 Nebraska basketball roster on Sunday with the commitment of Matar Diop and here are three thoughts for the Huskers.

It was fair to wonder if Nebraska basketball was going to add another scholarship player for the 2023-24 season, but we got the answer on Sunday with the commitment of Matar Diop.

Diop is a 6-foot-9 power forward. He’s not ranked according to the 247 Sports composite rankings and doesn’t even have a 247 Sports profile that I could find.

However, Diop is from Senegal and recently spent time with the NBA Africa Program. Here are some highlights from his time there.

Nebraska basketball needed a big man and has a lot to offer Diop, so this makes sense for both sides — here are three thoughts on his commitment.

An upside addition for the Huskers

Diop is eligible to play in 2023 for Nebraska baskeball which was the first question most Husker fans had. However, I wouldn’t expect to see Diop on the floor a ton this season if at all.

Blaise Keita is going to have a role off the bench as a 4/5 man. If he gets injured or if there is another injury in the frontcourt, Diop could see some minutes.

Yet, this feels a lot like the Eli Rice commitment except Diop will spend his extra year as a redshirt. Rice took an extra year and went to the IMG Academy.

Some recruiting sites had Diop listed as a 2024 recruit, so he could have had that plan too. But Seton Hall, Ole Miss, Arizona State, Saint Joseph’s, and Charlotte all offered. Those are some high-major offers and this is a really good get this late in the recruiting cycle.

You can see from Diop’s highlights that he’s an exceptional athlete. He also looks like a plus defender but he gets above the rim with ease and will be one of the most athletic players on the Nebraska basketball roster.

Diop is also really raw. I doubt he’s quite ready for Big Ten basketball. Yet, after a redshirt season, he could be ready to be a rotational piece in 2024-25.

Nebraska basketball is a great place for Diop to develop

Ernie Ziegler, a current Nebraska basketball assistant spent time as a coach with NBA Africa Program via Husker Online, which could be why the Huskers knew about Diop.

But that’s another good reason why the program will be a good fit. Diop has raw talent and the Huskers will know how to develop him. Even though most of Diop’s points happen around the basket, he does show the ability to make 3-pointers.

Diop’s shot will need work and few will be better to aid him than Fred Hoiberg. The former NBA player and head coach will help develop the fundamentals needed to have a future in pro basketball.

All the raw tools are there — it’s just going to take time which Nebraska has especially if Diop redshirts.

What about the final roster spot?

I’m wondering if Nebraska basketball will leave it open (Huskers have one scholarship available). I wouldn’t hate if Fred Hoiberg gave it to his son because he earned based on his play last season.

At the same time, Nebraska could hold it in case another transfer comes available. Hoiberg probably doesn’t need the scholarship to pay for college. It would be a sign of respect more than anything.

I believe that Fred will probably go into next season with one open scholarship. You never know when a player could be available and as of right now, Nebraska has a pretty solid roster going into the 2023-24 season.

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