Over the next few weeks, I'll be taking an in-depth look at every school in the Big XII. I'll focus on the past (i.e. last season's strengths and weaknesses), the changes (i.e. incoming freshmen, departing seniors, new coaches), and the future.
See past previews: Iowa State
Nebraska is a football school through and through. They have a rich football history rife with national titles, All-Americans, and conference championships. Unfortunately, this leaves the basketball team under-husked, under-funded, and under-appreciated. Not quite the recipe for success. Not surprisingly, Nebraska's basketball team has suffered for it. It's been 60 years since the Cornhuskers have sniffed a conference title (and 94 since winning it outright) in the great sport of basketball. To add insult to injury, Nebraska sits on one of the more exclusive lists in college athletics: the Cornhuskers (along with Northwestern and South Florida) are one of three BCS schools to never win an NCAA tournament game (although they did win the NIT in 1996).
Unfortunately, last season was a step backward from recent NIT success: the Cornhuskers struggled (to say the least) during conference play, losing all but two games (they beat a floundering Oklahoma team and Texas Tech in Lincoln). They did play well against Baylor and Kansas State but left with two defeats.
To make matters worse, the Huskers lost their only double digit scorer, Ryan Anderson, to graduation. Unfortunately, the recruiting haul was slim as well; Nebraska adds three JuCo transfers. Unless someone steps up in a big way, there's not much hope for a big improvement.
I see the Huskers fighting for one of the bottom three spots in the conference with Oklahoma and Iowa State this season. There may be hope on the horizon, as they just built a new practice facility that is scheduled to open in 2011-2012. It should help woo recruits. But by that point they'll be well on their way to the slower pastures of the Big 10.