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3 keys and a prediction for Nebraska Basketball vs Penn State



Nebraska basketball
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska basketball is hosting Penn State on Sunday and here are three keys to victory, as well as a prediction.

The Nebraska basketball season is doing downhill and fast. The Huskers are 10-13 overall and are now 3-9 in the Big Ten as Penn State comes calling.

Penn State already defeated Nebraska on its home court earlier this season as the Nittany Lions knocked down 11 3-pointers in a 76-65 win over the Huskers in January.

Since the overtime win over Minnesota, Nebraska has lost six of seven games and while Fred Hoiberg seems well on his way to returning, that feels more up in the air now. Injuries have been a key factor, yes.

But that’s not an excuse. There is enough talent on this team to win some Big Ten games coming home and Sunday is a great opportunity.

Here are three keys and a prediction.

Get Derrick Walker going again

In the first matchup, Derrick Walker had his way with the Nittany Lions scoring 20 points and making 9-of-14 shots from the field. That’s the kind of effort Nebraska needs on Sunday. Not only did he score 20 but he dished out six assists and grabbed six rebounds.

Certainly, Penn State is going to do some different things and I’d expect some zone looks to try and keep the ball away from Walker near the basket. However, if he gets doubled, trapped, or faces a zone, he needs to make smart decisions, let his teammates make plays, and wait for his opportunity to strike.

Defend the 3

Andrew Funk and Seth Lundy destroyed the Huskers in Happy Valley by connecting on seven of Penn State’s 11 3-pointers. Jalen Pickett scored just 12 points but grabbed 13 rebounds and had five assists. I’d rather see him take more shots and allow him to kick out less for open looks.

Sam Griesel is going to have to win that one-on-one matchup or least, play it to even. Nebraska should force Pickett and Penn State into as many 2-point attempts as possible. Stick to shooters and don’t let this team get hot from the perimeter.

The Nittany Lions shoot more treys than any team in the Big Ten, so their shooting tends to define their wins and losses, meaning the 3-point defense has to be on point. If the game goes like the first one, Nebraska won’t stand a chance.

Cut down on the turnovers

Down two starters, Nebraska basketball has struggled to take care of the ball. Derrick Walker has been a big part of that and that’s why I expect Penn State to throw different looks at him. If they can get him thinking, it could lead to some easy turnovers.

As a team, Nebraska has turned the ball over at least 15 times in three straight games. The Huskers had 19 against Illinois as they completely unraveled in the second half. Regardless of what level, you can’t turn it over 20 times and hope to win.

So, Nebraska needs to take care of the ball, otherwise, it’s hard to see an upset happening at the Vault on Sunday.

Nebraska basketball vs Penn State prediction

Penn State comes in as a 3.5-point favorite. The Nittany Lions are trying to keep themselves in contention for an NCAA tournament berth and a loss at Nebraska wouldn’t help. The Huskers are outside the top 100 in the Kenpom rankings but are fifth among all teams with a losing record.

If that reminds you of the 2021 football season, you aren’t alone. This team needs wins and if they don’t get one Sunday, this could really get ugly.

Knowing Hoiberg needs a victory, Walker and the Huskers deliver 68-63.

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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.

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.

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Podcast: What’s next for Nebraska Basketball after missing NIT?



Nebraska basketball
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

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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