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3 takeaways from tough Nebraska Basketball loss to Michigan State



Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska basketball built a 15-point lead against Michigan State but collapsed and here are three takeaways for the Huskers.

Watching the second half of Nebraska basketball against Michigan State was like watching the air come out of a balloon. The Vault was rocking, only to be deflated by a barrage of second-half 3-pointers as the Spartans dominated the final 20 minutes of an 80-67 loss by Nebraska.

It’s hard to explain getting outscored 54-29 in the second half of a must-win game, at home, but that’s what happened to the Huskers who fell apart on both ends of the floor.

The defense was terrible. Yes, Michigan State made shots, but many of them were essentially wide-open looks. It was baffling to me how bad the defense was at times. The offense was terrible too and turned it over time and time again down the stretch.

Michigan State is a good team and a good program. Here are three takeaways from a brutal loss.

Nebraska basketball had the Spartans right where they wanted them

After a Keisei Tominaga 3-pointer put Nebraska up by 15 points, right after Sam Griesel made one, it seemed like it was going to be a good night for the Huskers.

The defense in the first half was outstanding and the Spartans went a long stretch without even making a field goal. In the second half, that would be the Huskers.

As good as this team has been over the past month, the second half was the worst half of basketball since the opening half against Michigan State on Jan. 3rd. There’s no excuse for it and it’s likely going to cost the Huskers a shot at the NIT.

A win over Iowa and a couple of wins in the Big Ten tournament will help, but Nebraska needed to improve its resume and missed a key opportunity to do just that.

Jamarques Lawrence is going to be a star

The game ended with a thud, but there were some fun moments before it went downhill. One thing I really enjoyed was the play of Jamarques Lawrence, who is growing rapidly in front of our eyes.

For the second straight game, Lawrence scored in double figures and finished with a career-high 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting. The way he was able to attack the basket really opened my eyes to the kind of playmaker he can be next season.

Lawrence has played solid defense since taking over the starting role. He’s still got some work to do there as the four fouls showed last night, but his athleticism really stood out to me.

We don’t know what the roster is going to look like next season and the biggest question is whether Tominaga comes back or not, but one name you can pencil into next season’s starting lineup is Lawrence.

The freshman ranked 196th in the 2022 class appears to have been a really good find by Fred Hoiberg.

Tominaga could be a Nebraska legend

The game didn’t end well but man, Keisei Tominaga is the most enjoyable Nebraska basketball player to watch literally in decades. In the last seven games, he’s scored 20 points six times.

Tominaga was honored with other seniors on Tuesday night but he does have another year of eligibility. Of course, he could go back to Japan and make big money playing professional basketball. Staying at Nebraska is an option and the Huskers are working on an NIL deal, but Tominaga can only earn passive income, so there are limits.

Still, if his dream is to reach the NBA, which is why I believe he played college basketball to start, he should really return to Nebraska basketball. The big money deal in Japan isn’t going anywhere and after next season, it would probably be even more lucrative.

Yet, if Tominaga goes back home, he’s probably never coming back to the NBA. I could be wrong but that’s just not normally the path guys take to the league.

If he does return, the hype and excitement for next season would be unbelievable. I hope it happens because frankly, I’m not ready to be done watching Keisei wear the scarlet and cream.

Go Big Red, beat Iowa.

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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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