With teams kicking off conference play this week and weekend, the opportunity to grab marquee victories heightens for many teams across the country. As conference play enters, raucous environments, “true” road games and the brutalities of an 18-20 game conference season will become the norm, presenting numerous challenges for many teams hoping to earn a spot in the esteemed field of 68.
In other words, these next few months won’t be easy -- especially for teams sitting on the bubble or the outside looking in.
This week, both Seton Hall, Nebraska and Wake Forest made positive, potential needle-moving statements that will surely help their case of making the NCAA Tournament. Take a look at where they currently stand and if you should buy or sell each team
It’s been a miraculous turnaround in Lincoln as Fred Hoiberg’s Cornhuskers stand at 12-2 (2-1) on the season.
On Wednesday, Nebraska comfortably beat Indiana 86-70 -- a 16-point scoring margin that will surely help their NET Ranking over time -- snapping a 7-game skid against the Hoosiers dating back to January of 2019.
Led by a 28-point scoring effort from Keisei Tominaga, the Husker’s offense completely overwhelmed a mediocre Indiana squad that just doesn't have a lot going for them despite a solid 10-4 record.
Nebraska now stands at 61st in the NET with a KenPom ranking of 52, numbers that typically place a team squarely on the bubble come Selection Sunday. Because the Cornhuskers only sport just one Q1 and one Q2 victory due to a weaker NCOS and given the fact that Big Ten isn’t as strong as it has been in the previous years, the key for Nebraska to earn a bid is simple: beat the teams you are supposed to beat and protect home court.
And the win over Indiana -- at home in which the Cornhuskers were favored -- was executed to perfection.
If there is any team that can continue to surprise teams in the 2023-24 college basketball season, it will -- and it can -- be Nebraska.
Yes, the SOS numbers are a bit behind, but the Husker's upcoming games include a road trip to Madison on Jan. 6 followed by a home game against the nation’s best team, Purdue, on Jan. 9.
Buy or sell the Cornhuskers?
It won’t be easy, but who said it was? The Huskers have made a clear statement to the college basketball world that they are NCAA Tournament-worthy which would mark their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014 and first appearance in the Fred Hoiberg era.
Big Ten play might provide some ups and downs for the Cornhuskers, but this Nebraska team is different from the past. Buy stock in the Cornhuskers before it's too late.