3 keys and a prediction for Nebraska Basketball vs Michigan State
Three keys and a prediction for Nebraska basketball against Michigan State.
The Nebraska basketball team scored a huge win last week over Iowa. It was an important win, but not the kind of win that resets expectations for this season.
However, if the Huskers are able to go into the Breslin Center and beat Michigan State on Tuesday night, it will be a definite sign that Nebraska can do something this season, such as reach postseason play.
Nebraska basketball is 8-6 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten. The first road game against Indiana was a disaster, but the Huskers also didn’t have Sam Griesel. This time they will and here are three keys for Nebraska to beat Michigan State, as well as our prediciton.
Control the tempo
Michigan State is a physical team but they also rely on running and shooting 3-pointers. The Spartans rank 98th in college hoops in 3-point percentage but 300th in 2-point percentage so the transition game is huge.
In terms of talent, Michigan State has eight former top-100 players. It has size, and athleticism and shoots the ball really well from beyond the arc. However, the Spartans are one of the worst teams in the country at forcing turnovers with just over 10 per game. Nebraska forces 13 but also gives it up 13 times per game.
The Huskers can’t do that tonight. Fred Hoiberg talked about no pick-6s in his press conference. That means no breakaway buckets and the less Michigan State is able to get out in transition, the better.
Nebraska wants to keep this one low scoring, like in the 60s. Griesel has been great about controlling the tempo and it worked beautifully against Creighton and Iowa.
The Huskers need to use the same tactic tonight.
Win the rebounding battle
It’s not going to be easy against Michigan State, yet if the Huskers are going to leave the Breslin Center with a win, I feel like they have to win the rebounding battle or at least be even.
The Spartans ranked 43rd in defensive rebounds but are allowing over nine offensive rebounds per game. Both teams have a rebounding margin of plus four on the season. Nebraska though has been better on the offensive glass with 11.2 offensive rebounds per game. Michigan State averages 9.6.
Nebraska is 55th in total rebounding and if the Huskers can win that battle tonight, I like their chances of pulling off an upset.
Derrick Walker needs to dominate
One of the key matchups to me is going to be Derrick Walker and Mady Sissoko. Sissoko is a 6-foot-9, former top-100 recruit who averages 0.8 blocks per game. The Spartans don’t have anyone who averages a blocker per game and they are lacking in terms of rim protectors.
Still, I wouldn’t expect many double-teams on Derrick Walker. Izzo likes to play guys straight up and Walker is going to need to have a double-double in this one.
If Walker and Sam Griesel can score inside, that will open some things up on the perimeter. The Huskers have also done a good job of getting to the free-throw line and that needs to continue too. Michigan State is a top-100 defense when it comes to 2-point percentages but Walker is one of the best low-post scorers in the Big Ten.
Walker has proven he can score on just about anyone and if he has a big night, it could go a long way toward Nebraska pulling off the upset.
Nebraska basketball vs Michigan State prediction
The Huskers are a 7.5-point underdog, which honestly seems a little much to me. Michigan State is a solid team and they have guys like A.J. Hoggard, Joey Hauser, Tyson Walker, and Jaden Adkins. The Spartans don’t lack talent or depth, which is a weakness for Nebraska.
Nebraska is down to basically seven or eight rotation guys at this point. Their starting five has been really solid this season and I expect a really good effort from this team.
However, winning at Michigan State is really difficult to do. Eventually, I think the Spartans will wear down Nebraska and hit enough treys to win the game, 65-60. Nebraska will cover the spread but lose a close one.
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Nebraska Basketball: Guard Denim Dawson enters transfer portal
Nebraska basketball redshirt freshman Denim Dawson entered the transfer portal on Wednesday, as more moves continue to be made within the basketball team. This was first reported by 247Sports’ Travis Branham.
Dawson had his moments for Nebraska basketball this season. He made his first start against Purdue back in December. He had three rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes of play. He then was able to continue his strong play in the second half of the season when he had seven points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes. Dawson was active on the glass against Penn State when he recorded nine rebounds.
It could be said that Dawson never had a fair chance to crack the rotation due to the players in front of him. Nevertheless, Dawson had raw athletic ability, and it was easy to see why he was recruited to the program.
Dawson was a three-star recruit and was the 32nd overall player in the state of California for the 2022 class.
Nebraska wing Denim Dawson intends to enter the transfer portal, a source tells @247SportsPortal.
Freshman that started in eight games for the Cornhuskers this season. Former three-star recruit in the 2021 class.https://t.co/RcNdldQaTz
— Travis Branham (@TravisBranham_) March 15, 2023
What does this move mean for Nebraska basketball?
This move makes sense for Dawson, as Nebraska basketball has several guards on the roster already. Jamarques Lawrence is one of them, and he was able to take on a big role for the program. This is a case of there being too many mouths to feed on the roster. The emergence of Lawrence also probably played a bit of a role as the latter looks to be a staple for the program.
It will be interesting to see where Dawson ends up. He is certainly a talented player, but Nebraska basketball was not the right fit for him at this time.
Podcast: What’s next for Nebraska Basketball after missing NIT?
Our latest podcast discusses whether Nebraska Basketball should have missed the NIT, look at what’s next, and more.
It’s the start of another week, Husker fans, and in terms of the Nebraska basketball team, we got some disappointing news on Sunday night.
Nebraska was on the NIT bubble even before its loss to Minnesota last week in the Big Ten tournament. While some NIT projections had the Huskers barely making it in the field, Nebraska basketball was left on the outside looking in.
Chris Peterson and Danny Jaillet are each on the show in their usual spot and offer up their thoughts on whether Nebraska basketball was treated fairly. The loss to Minnesota was bad, but Nebraska also beat Maryland, Penn State, Creighton, and Iowa (twice) — all teams that made the NCAA tournament.
The Huskers also beat Wisconsin and Rutgers, two teams that made the NIT. The loss to Minnesota was bad but the Huskers had a quality resume. However, their 16-16 record wasn’t all that impressive and again, that’s where the loss to Minnesota hurt.
What’s next for Nebraska basketball?
Now that the season is officially over for the Huskers, we can look toward the future. The biggest question is what will Keisei Tominaga do? Will he return for another season, or go to Japan?
There is hope the Huskers can do some things with NIL, although Keisei is limited to earning “passive income” such as money from jersey sales. He can’t actively promote products. It’s always possible things could change with those NIL rules, but at the end of the day, if money is the driving factor, Japan is probably the best bet.
Tominaga has become a star over there. He’s also a star to Nebraska basketball fans and could have as big a following next season as any Husker — ever.
I’m not saying he would be the best player by any means, but social media didn’t exist when Tyronn Lue was around for instance. It would be fun regardless. Nebraska basketball also needs to add some transfers.
We talk about all that and more. We also touch on Nebraska football recruiting, so check out the full episode of the Husker Big Red Podcast below:
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Nebraska Basketball season ends with defensive thud vs. Gophers
Nebraska basketball lost to the Minnesota Golden Gophers by a 78-75 margin on Wednesday night. There were several crucial plays towards the end of the game. The basketball bouncing off of Sam Griesel while Nebraska tried to score was a difficult break. Two illegal screens in a row also did not help matters. Nevertheless, there was one major theme. The defense struggled throughout the evening.
It wasn’t as if Nebraska had answers for Minnesota either. Minnesota shot 51.9% from the field and 41.7% from beyond the arc.
One of the biggest problems for Nebraska on Wednesday night was being able to stop scores from the inside. Minnesota was able to have their way inside in several aspects. Minnesota freshman Pharrel Payne had six points and four rebounds on the evening. On the other end of the floor, he played solid defensively, shutting down Nebraska big man Derrick Walker.
Jaden Henley and Dawson Garcia had their way inside as well. They finished with 14 and 18 points respectively. They were able to pick apart the Nebraska basketball defense with quick passes and their ability to muscle inside. To be frank, Nebraska basketball had no answer for the inside game, and it became clear that this was going to be a major problem throughout the course of the game.
The defense inside the paint was not the only problem. Nebraska basketball struggled all night in terms of rotations and not getting to the shooter quick enough. They were unable to close out on a player such as Garcia, and he made them pay, going seven-of-13 from the field. He gave Minnesota the lead on a three-ball with 8:35 left in the first half, and the Gophers never looked back.
The aggressive rotations and aggressiveness overall that Nebraska displayed all season defensively was missing. They did not have the defensive energy to match Minnesota and it was noticeable early on. Minnesota was able to play however they wanted offensively, and they were able to establish their dominance inside, opening up space for perimeter shooters. It looked like a cat playing with a mouse.
It was a defensive thud to end the season for Nebraska basketball. Now the offseason begins and questions remain unanswered.
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