Connect with us


Nebraska Basketball: 3 keys and a prediction for must-win at Minnesota



Nebraska basketball
Nov 17, 2022; Queens, New York, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Sam Griesel (5) drives to the basket in the first half against the St. John's Red Storm at Carnesecca Arena. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska basketball faces a must-win game at Minnesota on Saturday and here are three keys and a prediction for the Huskers.

It’s not drastic at all to call Saturday’s Nebraska basketball game a must-win for the Huskers. Minnesota hasn’t been good this year and even though this game is at home for the Gophers, Nebraska is a 3-point favorite.

There’s no doubt that the Huskers have shown improvement this season. The win over Creighton was terrific and so was the win at home over Iowa. But Nebraska is still sitting at 1-3 in the Big Ten after four games and there’s a huge difference between 1-4 and 2-3.

I don’t really see this Nebraska basketball team pushing for an NCAA tournament berth. But a season above .500 is definitely possible but that will mean winning nine Big Ten games. Nebraska has 16 left — eight at home and eight on the road.

They need to win the majority of the home games, which is possible but they also have to steal a couple on the road and there is no better opportunity than Saturday. Here are the keys and a prediction.

Nebraska basketball needs to win the turnover battle

Both teams are struggling a little with turnovers as each turns it over more than 13 times per game. Nebraska has been better at forcing takeaways from other teams though. Minnesota forces just over 10 turnovers per game, while the Huskers force more than 12.

Taking the ball away and getting some points in transition always makes life easier for the offense and if Nebraska can win the turnover battle and take advantage of Minnesota’s weakness in taking care of the ball (308th in turnover percentage), it will go a long way toward getting a road win.

Sam Griesel also needs to play well and we’ve seen him step up in must-have games against Creighton and Iowa. I see him doing it again versus Minnesota.

Shoot the ball better

This one is simple but Nebraska was terrible at shooting the ball against Michigan State. Not only did the Huskers go 2-for-16 from 3-point range, but they also went 8-of-20 from the free-throw line. You just can’t miss that many free throws against a team like Michigan State and expect to have a chance.

It’s easy to say what if, but Nebraska missed some really good looks against Michigan State. The same thing happened at Indiana and also at St. John’s. The Huskers have struggled to shoot the ball in the gym of opposing teams and the Barn at Minnesota can be a struggle. It’s a weird gym that’s all there is to it.

Griesel, Derrick Walker, and the Huskers have done a good job all season of getting to the line but they need to make it count and make more than two 3-pointers.

Dominate in the post

When this team is winning, it’s scoring from the inside out. Meaning, Derrick Walker and Griesel are getting to the basket. Dawson Garcia is a 6-foot-11 big man and Minnesota has been solid with its two-point defense, but Walker is one of the most productive bigs in the country.

Walker needs double-digit shots today for Nebraska. It seems obvious but doesn’t always happen. The Huskers need to attack and pound the ball inside with him and Griesel who should have an advantage.

That will lead to good perimeter looks and if the Huskers can shoot well, as I said before, they should leave the Barn victorious.


Jamison Battle is a player I worry about. He’s capable of taking over a game even though he hasn’t quite been himself this season, but Juwan Gary should be able to check him. On the flip side, I think Griesel will give the Gophers fits and Walker will have a double-double in a 63-59 win for the Huskers.

For More Nebraska content, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook Page, and Subscribe to the Husker Big Red YouTube Channel. 






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