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Nebraska Basketball: Can Fred Hoiberg do enough to save his job?



Nebraska basketball
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska basketball lost to Penn State on Saturday and lost a key player in the process. What does it mean for the rest of the season?

There’s no doubt that the Nebraska basketball team has improved this season. The Huskers beat Creighton on the road and also knocked off Iowa.

Those were important wins. However, Nebraska is still just 10-10 overall and after the Huskers’ loss to Penn State on Saturday, Nebraska basketball is 3-6 in the Big Ten which has them in 13th.

What’s even worse is that Emmanuel Bandoumel left the game with a knee injury. Fred Hoiberg said it didn’t look good after the game, which means the Huskers could be down two starters for the closing stretch.

There are six home games — Northwestern, Penn State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Maryland, and Wisconsin, as well as road games against Michigan, Rutgers, Iowa, Maryland, and Illinois.

Based on the way the season has gone so far, Nebraska basketball would be lucky to win one of those road games. If that happens, Nebraska would need to win five of six games at home just to finish above .500 for the season.

That would be a huge win for Nebraska and Hoiberg woud definitely keep his job if the Huskers finished 9-11 in the Big Ten. That’s my opinion at least.

This is Hoiberg’s best team. But with two of his best players potentially out for the season, it really hinders a team that was at a talent disadvantage on most nights in the Big Ten anyway.

Denim Dawson has played well in the past two games, but he’s not the shooter that Bandoumel or Juwan Gary is and that’s the biggest killer for Nebraska. Both of those guys shoot the ball well, in addition to being Nebraska’s top two defenders.

That being said, Nebraska basketball won four conference games a year ago. Right now, they have won three and matched their overall win total from 2021-22 already (10). The team has made progress but with these losses, can Nebraska sustain the success enjoyed so far this season?

Hoiberg has been coaching his butt off and right now, I’d definitely want him back next season. But if the last 11 games get ugly, you have to wonder if Hoiberg will be back.

It didn’t seem like a question a few weeks ago but as we hit the heart of the Big Ten schedule, the Huskers are still in the Big Ten basement and with all of the injuries, it’s hard to see how things don’t get worse.

Fred will need to earn his money in the next few weeks and if he can keep stringing together some wins, it’s my view that he should be back for at least one more season.

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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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