The Cornhuskers come into this season off a year where they finished fourth in the Big Ten but failed to make it to the NCAA Tournament. The good news is that they return four starters from that team that finished fourth in the Big Ten, which leaves them in a position where they should make the NCAA Tournament. This team is returning so many key guys that you would figure they will be a great team, however, the big issue with them will be their depth.
The Cornhuskers bring back a first-team All-Big Ten performer in James Palmer Jr, put up giant numbers in his junior season at Nebraska. Palmer is a 6’6” guard who is almost unguardable when attacking the rim, however, his ability to pass, rebound and defend are all key elements to his game. Point guard Glynn Watson Jr. acts as the teams primary ball-handler, which allows him to rack up a good amount of assists while contributing by scoring on offense. Thomas Allen is a mostly unproven guard who will be asked to play a lot of minutes this season and help contribute. The Cornhuskers also have Thorir Thorbjarnason is another player who should get minutes at guard as he will be more adjusted to College Basketball. The Cornhuskers also add Karrington Davis and Amir Harris, a couple of three-star guards who will need to play minutes for them at a guard position. This backcourt has two really good players in Palmer Jr. and Watson Jr. but will be reliant on a lot of players to step up this season to give the Cornhusker’s depth.
The Cornhuskers have two good pieces inside with Isaiah Roby and Isaac Copeland, both of who can play inside and out. Copeland is an elite inside defender and rebounder, while he has shown the ability to step out and hit threes. Isaiah Roby is a more of an athletic big man, however, he too can step out and hit shots. Brady Heiman is a 6’11” freshman who should play minutes off the bench when either Roby or Copeland need a break.
The Cornhuskers decided after missing the NCAA Tournament last year due to a lack of quality wins that they needed to play a tougher non-conference schedule, which should help them get into the NCAA Tournament if needed. The Cornhuskers start with a couple buy games but they then will play Seton Hall at home, before playing in the CBE Hall-Of-Fame Classic. They will play at Clemson in the ACC/ Big Ten Challenge before playing Illinois and at Minnesota in December as part of the Big Ten schedule. After playing those two games the Cornhuskers will then play a home game against Creighton and a neutral site game against Oklahoma State in non-conference play. The Cornhuskers start back up with Big Ten play on January 2nd at Maryland and will end the season at home on March 10th against Iowa. The Big Ten Tournament runs March 13th-17th, with the NCAA Tournament starting on March 19th if they make it there.
What to expect this season
The Cornhuskers should be good right from the start where they will likely pick up a few quality wins. The Big Ten schedule will give them more opportunities to pick up quality wins as well, which will be different than last year. The thing I look for will be with their depth and whether or not they can get any contributions from players other than their Big-Four. If they can get that they are a potential Top-25 team, if not they might struggle to get into the NCAA Tournament and they could find themselves in the NIT again.
PG: Glynn Watson Jr.
SG: Thomas Allen
SF: James Palmer Jr.
PF: Isaiah Roby
C: Isaac Copeland
Key Reserves: Thorir Thorbjarnason, Karrington Davis, Amir Harris, Brady Heiman