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Nebraska Basketball: 3 takeaways from upset win over Wisconsin



Nebraska Basketball
Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska basketball was able to pull off an upset against the Wisconsin Badgers on Thursday night, winning by an 82-70 margin. It was an exciting overtime thriller, with several players stepping up for Nebraska basketball. C.J. Wilcher led the way for Nebraska with 22 points. The Huskers were able to overcome the effort of Wisconsin guard AJ Storr, who scored 28 points of his own.

Nebraska erased an 18-point deficit, their largest comeback since a 19-point deficit against Iowa in 2013. They also beat their second top-10 opponent in the same season for the first time since 2013-14. The Huskers had a very strong night, and showed the type of grit needed to finish out this Big Ten schedule.

Here are our three takeaways from Thursday’s big upset win.

C.J. Wilcher is an offensive catalyst

C.J. Wilcher is undoubtedly a spark plug for this team. He has served Nebraska basketball well off the bench, and he did so again on Thursday night.

Wilcher scored 22 points in Thursday night’s game, and shot 71.4% from three-point range.  Thursday night’s effort just added to what has been a solid overall season for him. This was his first game with more than 20 points on the year, and he made it count. In his last five games, including Thursday, he has scored 22, 14, 16, 10, and 12 points respectively. This game was not just an outlier. Wilcher has been shooting it consistently all season.

His timely three-point shots on Thursday allowed Nebraska basketball to climb back into the game. At the beginning of his Huskers’ career, he didn’t seem to have a defined role. Now, he has swallowed his pride and served the program well off the bench. He has come up big, and did so again on Thursday.

Nebraska can function without Keisei Tominaga

This is one of the weirder takeaways of Thursday night’s game. Nebraska basketball seems to function better offensively without Keisei Tominaga on the floor.

He played 18 minutes on Thursday night and only scored two points. He was inefficient from the field, compiling a 14.3 field-goal percentage. Tominaga did make a bit of an impact offensively, grabbing three rebounds. Nevertheless, this was a game where he was inefficient shooting the basketball again, and it is certainly a cause for concern as it relates to his production on the team.

With that being said, it almost seemed like the Huskers’ offense flowed a bit better with him off the floor. They were able to play a slower pace game and run sets   efficiently. Tominaga is great in terms of shooting the three-point shot. However, he sometimes takes shots too early in the clock. On top of this, he is also a bit of defensive liability at times on the floor. Teams have begun to figure out how to defend Tominaga and that is something to keep in mind as well. He has been extremely limited this year and what he can do offensively.

It will be interesting to see if Nebraska basketball will be able to find ways to get him more involved with the offense. Right now, it seems like the offense is functioning at a higher level without him on the floor. His three-point production is certainly missed. His energy is infectious and he has served the program well. However, one has to wonder if keeping him off the floor would be a strategy Nebraska uses a bit more.

Sam Hoiberg continues to shine in role

Sam Hoiberg is more than just the coach’s son. He is a gritty overall player, and that was evident on Thursday night. His prowess defensively as well as his active hands made life difficult for Wisconsin.

Hoiberg scored three points in 21 minutes of play. However, he recorded four rebounds, two assists, and three steals. When he is at his best, he is very active in the passing lanes. His activity level was high on Thursday night, and he was able to defend well in key moments, particularly on the perimeter. He has served the role of defensive, gritty, player very well this season and throughout his Nebraska career

Hoiberg knows exactly what his role is, and he showed it on Thursday night. Nebraska basketball will need more from Hoiberg over the next couple weeks. He has become a defensive anchor for this team, and it’s exactly what Nebraska basketball has needed.

Danny is a Nebraska athletics fan and writer. He also enjoys writing about recruiting in his free time. Danny has been following the Huskers for the last five years. Find him on Twitter @NebCornholio.