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3 takeaways from Nebraska basketball upset of No. 1 Purdue



Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska basketball beat a No. 1 team in the AP poll for the first time since 1982 on Tuesday. Here are three takeaways.

Last season, Nebraska basketball fell just short of a massive upset win over Purdue. A bad call late and a few key plays allowed the Boilermakers to escape with the win.

But on Tuesday, there would be no escaping for No. 1 Purdue. Nebraska led by nine points in the half and led by double digits for most of the final minutes on their way to an 88-73 beat down of college basketball’s No. 1 team.

It’s a defining moment for Fred Hoiberg. He led the Huskers to their first win over a No. 1 ranked team since 1982 while also adding a huge win to the NCAA tournament resume. Here are three takeaways.

The Fred Hoiberg era has arrived

It took a while to get things going but after a 16-16 season, Nebraska basketball is right where you expected it to be when Hoiberg was hired. He hasn’t made the NCAA tournament yet and neither has this Nebraska team. This win will beef up the resume, though, as do the wins over Michigan State, Kansas State, and Oregon State.

We started to get a glimpse last season of the return of Nebraska basketball and after knocking off No. 1 Purdue by double-digits, Nebrasketball is back. The Huskers did it with their defense and 3-point shooting, which should be a formula for winning lots of games in 2023-24. At least enough to go dancing.

An epic night for Keisei Tominaga

You knew that if Nebraska was going to pull off the massive upset, Keisei Tominaga would need to have a big night. He wasn’t alone. C.J. Wilcher had another big night too with three triples and 16 points off the bench. However, Tominaga caught fire, making five 3-pointers including a couple in the second half as the Huskers were trying to pull away.

Tominaga finished with 19 points total and made five triples. It was an epic effort and exactly the kind of game that Keisei came back to play in. We said that Nebraska needed to win the 3-point line and they did that. Tominaga and Wilcher combined for eight, but the Huskers got 14 total.

However, no shooter was more on-point than Tominaga, who had many momentum-changing plays. That’s why he came back and getting a win like that had to make it worth his while.

Historic, but a resume-builder

Anytime you do something that you haven’t done in 42 years, that’s pretty special. But even more importantly, this keeps Nebraska in the thick of the Big Ten race and greatly adds to their NCAA tournament hopes.

Michigan State and Purdue are both solid wins and Nebraska beat them by an average of 10 points. Those wins should both get better as the season moves along. Make no mistake though, this is the kind of game that you need to win to make the field of 68.

At 13-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten, the Huskers are exactly where they want to be. They have 15 games to go and if they finish with seven or eight wins, an NCAA tournament berth should be a no-brainer.

Thanks to Tuesday night at least.

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Chris has worked in sports journalism since 2005 writing for multiple newspapers and websites such as the Bleacher Report and Fansided before starting Husker Big Red, A fan site for hardcore followers of the #Huskers offering articles, podcasts, videos and more exclusive content on all things Nebraska