Maintaining success has never been more difficult in college basketball. The combination of the transfer portal and the NBA Draft makes each offseason both eventful and potentially transformative for most programs.
Now that the smoke has mostly cleared following the 2021-22 season, we’ll go team-by-team in the Big Ten to assess which programs are set up for success, and who might take a step back.
Next up is Nebraska. Believe it or not, Fred Hoiberg is going into his fourth season leading the Cornhuskers. He has amassed a 24-67 record during his first three years in Lincoln, with just nine wins (9-50) in the Big Ten and no better than a 13th place finish.
- Bryce McGowens (16.8 PPG),
- Alonzo Verge Jr., (14.5 PPG),
- Trey McGowens, G (6.8 PPG)
- Kobe Webster (6.2 PPG),
- Lat Mayen (5.9 PPG),
- Eduardo Andre (3.1 PPG),
- Trevor Lakes (1.5 PPG),
- Keon Edwards (0.5 PPG)
- Derrick Walker, F (9.5 PPG),
- C.J. Wilcher, G (8.1 PPG),
- Keisei Tominaga, G (5.7 PPG),
- Wilhelm Breidenbach, F (3.7 PPG),
- Oleg Kojenets, C (redshirt in 2021-22)
- Emmanuel Bandoumel, G (10.6 PPG at SMU),
- Juwan Gary, F (6.5 PPG at Alabama),
- Sam Griesel, G (14.3 PPG at North Dakota State)
- Blaise Keita, F (12.8 PPG at Coffeyville C.C.)
Freshmen (Rankings from 247Sports Composite)
- Ramel Lloyd, SF (No. 100),
- Jamarques Lawrence, SG (No. 173),
- Denim Dawson, SF (No. 274)
RETURNING MINUTES: 38.3 percent (per barttorvik.com)
WHY IT WILL WORK
Perhaps a balanced approach and a down Big Ten will be the answer for Hoiberg. The Cornhuskers don’t appear to have a go-to lead scorer, but they might have several players who could be effective within a team construct. Nebraska could also have some legit size for a change if Keita (6-foot-11) and Kojenets (7-foot) are ready to play at the high major level along with Walker (6-foot-9) and Breidenbach (6-foot-10).
WHY IT WON’T
It is really hard to see how this year’s team can outperform last year’s 13th place squad given the losses of both McGowens and Verge. They were the only players who could be relied upon to routinely generate their own points. Having size isn’t necessarily critical to how Hoiberg wants to play unless they can run and space the floor. There is no wow-factor in this latest crop of transfers, and the freshmen don’t project to be ready from the jump.
Nebraska might have pulled the plug on the Tim Miles era too soon. Miles was 41-28 over his last two seasons including a 13-5 effort in the Big Ten in 2018. Hoiberg’s Iowa State teams went a combined 115-56 with two Big 12 titles and four NCAA tournament appearances in five seasons from 2010-15. But he doesn’t appear to be capable of reclaiming that magic at Nebraska, and it’s unclear how much more time he has to turn things around.
BIG TEN OUTLOOK: Bottom third.
MORE BIG TEN OUTLOOKS:
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”