The Nebraska Cornhuskers are an underrated Big Ten team with an experienced starting five, in both the frontcourt and backcourt.
As is tradition, CBB Review is again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the new college basketball season. Each day, we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Follow along with #CBBRank on all our social media channels.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers lost their high scorer in Derrick Walker from a season ago, but got pleasant news when Keisei Tominaga withdrew his name from the NBA Draft to return to school for another year.
Tominaga, along with a handful of solid transfers, will lead Nebraska, as they try to break through in a loaded Big Ten.
The transfer class is headlined by graduate transfer Jarron Coleman, a combo guard from Ball State who gives the Cornhuskers a very solid backcourt look. Nebraska also answered a lurking question at center, bringing in Rink Mast from Bradley.
For Nebraska, it will be very difficult if not impossible to win the Big Ten. But a trip to the NCAA Tournament is not a dream by any stretch, and perhaps the Huskers could make a bit of a run.
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Head coach: Fred Hoiberg (10th season, 5th at Nebraska)
2022-23 record: 16-16 (9-11)
2023 postseason finish: No postseason
Notable departures: Derrick Walker (Graduated), Sam Griesel (Graduated), Emmanuel Bandoumel (Graduated), Wilhelm Breidenbach (Transferred to Washington)
Notable non-conference games: vs. Oregon State (Nov. 18), vs. Creighton (Dec. 3), at Kansas State (Dec. 17)
PG: Jarron Coleman (6-5, 204, Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 14.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.8 APG (Ball State)
SG: Keisei Tominaga (6-2, 175, Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 13.6 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 0.7 APG, 40 3PT%
SF: Brice Williams (6-7, 210, Jr.)
2022-23 stats: 13.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.2 APG (Charlotte)
PF: Juwan Gary (6-6, 215, Jr.)
2022-23 stats: 9.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 0.8 APG
C: Rienk Mast (6-10, 240, Jr.)
2022-23 stats: 13.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.4 APG, 51.8 FG% (Bradley)
6: Ahron Ulis (6-3, 190, Jr.)
2022-23 stats: 6.1 PPG, 2.1 APG, 1.6 RPG (Iowa)
7: CJ Wilcher (6-5, 208, Jr.)
2022-23 stats: 8.0 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.4 APG
8: Josiah Allick (6-8, 235, Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 8.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.4 APG (New Mexico)
9: Jamarques Lawrence (6-3, 185, So.)
2022-23 stats: 5.0 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 37.3 3PT%
10: Ramel Lloyd (6-6, 204, Rs.-Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 111 rated recruit (2022)
11: Sam Hoiberg (6-0, 180, So.)
2022-23 stats: 4.1 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.3 APG, 40.9 3PT%
12: Eli Rice (6-7, 195, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 196 rated recruit
Nebraska Cornhuskers MVP: Keisei Tominaga
Japanese born Keisei Tominaga, who has drawn very complimentary comparisons to Steph Curry, withdrew his name from the 2023 NBA Draft to return to Nebraska for his senior season. Tominaga shot 40% from 3-point land last season.
Tominaga also played for Japan’s 3×3 basketball team in Tokyo, as well as had played on the 5-on-5 national team in the past.
The southpaw shooter has a quick release and can shoot anywhere inside halfcouft. He mainly plays catch-and-shoot ball, but can create space well with a quick dribble move or a jab step. He does a spectacular job of keeping the defense honest, as he can take it to the rack when needed.
Tominaga will be the MVP of Nebrasketball, offering offense whenever the rock touches his hand. The Huskers will go about as far as Keisei takes them.
Nebraska Cornhuskers make-or-break player: Jarron Coleman
Coleman comes into Nebraska with a degree from Ball State and second team all-MAC honors from last year. Coleman will be the Cornhuskers floor general, a bit of an adjustment from his previous years as a secondary ball handler.
“Boogie” is a tall guard, making him a matchup nightmare. He also has power conference experience, starting at Missouri before leaving for Ball State.
What makes Coleman make-or-break for Nebraska is two things. The first is whether or not his adjustment to primary ball handler will affect his, and the teams, performance at the beginning of the year.
The second is Coleman relied heavily on the three-ball for his scoring. He has to be able to share shots with Tominaga, as well as score on all three levels to give Nebraska exactly what they need from the position.
Key analytic: Adjusted Offense (AdjO)
Last season, Nebraska was 149th in the country in AdjO, which is points per 100 possessions. The ‘Huskers have had much trouble scoring consistently, having just three double-digit scorers from last season (1 returning) and no one averaging over 14 points per game. They only averaged 68 points per game.
For Nebraska to be successful, the offense needs to score at a higher clip. The defense is not strong enough to win games on its own, and with Tominaga and Coleman running the show, the scoring needs to pick up in a big way.
Nebraska Cornhuskers 2023-24 projections
Projected conference finish: 13th in the Big Ten
Projected postseason ceiling: NCAA Tournament – Round of 32