Nebraska basketball (22-10, 13-5 Big Ten) fell short of an invitation to the NCAA Tournament Sunday evening. The Huskers are instead headed to the National Invitation Tournament.
Nebraska closed the regular season with a 76-64 win over Penn State, which solidified the Huskers as a No. 4 seed and a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Unfortunately, Nebraska’s 77-58 loss to No. 5 seed Michigan put the Huskers in a tough spot to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Huskers are now a No. 5 seed in the NIT Tournament. Nebraska will face Mississippi State in the first-round in Starkville.
5 seed in the NIT.
Heading to Starkville to play Mississippi State. pic.twitter.com/W0pQzvTA7I
— Nebraska Basketball (@HuskerHoops) March 12, 2018
The NIT Tournament consists of 32 teams split into four brackets. The first three rounds of the NIT are played at campus sites at the higher-seeded team, and the semifinals and championship are played at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
If the Huskers do reach the semifinals, coach Tim Miles and his team are now familiar with Madison Square Garden. The team’s matchup with Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament was actually Miles’ first time coaching a game at the New York City venue.
The Huskers are also familiar with NYC for the NIT, making four NIT appearances at the tournament (1967, 1983, 1987 and 1996). Nebraska also won the 1996 NIT, defeating St. Joseph’s 60-56 in the title game.
Despite Nebraska’s showing against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament, the Huskers relied on a strong defensive effort this season that will hopefully extend into NIT action. Nebraska also had quite a few strong performances this season from players like James Palmer Jr., who was named a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches. He was also named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association All-District VI Team.
Palmer currently averages 17.3 points per game, with 4.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals per game. The junior finished Big Ten play averaging 18.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists. While he currently leads the team in scoring, Isaac Copeland isn’t too far behind averaging 12.9 points per game and Glynn Watson Jr. averaging 10.5 points per games.
Nebraska fans can also expect some changes to the NIT this year. The NCAA announced experimental rule changes for 2018, which includes an extended three-point line, a wider free-throw lane, four 10-minute quarters instead of 20-minute halves, and a 20-second shot clock after offensive rebounds.