It’s hard to put the Nebraska Cornhuskers and basketball in the same sentence.
When I think of Nebraska, I think football as I believe most of the country probably does.
The Cornhuskers were far from impressive last year. They went 12-18 overall and finished a miserable 4-14 in the Big Ten. They haven’t been to the NCAA tournament since before the turn of the century (1998).
But perhaps there is hope for a brighter future, hope that perhaps the Cornhuskers will eventually become a team that be one of the more competitive teams in the conference.
I’m not saying Nebraska is going to eventually be an annual contender for the conference title, but it could get to the point where it’s at least in the discussion for postseason consideration.
First-year head coach Tim Miles is in charge of making that happen, and this year he will start the process with a team that returns just two players from it’s seven-man rotation.
One of the players he most certainly will lean on is senior guard Dylan Talley, who led all reserves in the conference in scoring last season. Talley averaged 8.9 points per outing and grabbed 3.3 rebounds per game.
His scoring average is going to have to go up significantly for the Cornhuskers to have any shot at being successful. After all, their offense averaged just 60.9 points per outing, not exactly a number that is going to strike fear into a lot of opponents.
Talley should be able to give the Cornhuskers a boost offensively. He drilled 38 3-pointers last season, which means he is a threat to knock down shots from beyond the arc. He also tallied 26 steals and Nebraska will need him to step up on that end of the floor as well.
If Talley becomes the player he is expected to be, maybe Nebraska finishes around the .500 mark. The Cornhuskers probably won’t be good enough to get to the NCAA tournament or even NIT, but an increase in wins from last year will be a big step forward for a program trying to find its way in one of the toughest conferences in the country.
Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist and college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.