The Nebraska basketball team continues its quest for its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1998 this weekend, as the Huskers travel to Indianapolis for the 2014 Big Ten Basketball Tournament.
Tournament action began Thursday, but the Huskers will take the court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday after earning one of four first-round byes. Nebraska, the No. 4 seed, will play fifth-seeded Ohio State. Ohio State defeated No. 12 seed Purdue 63-61.
Tipoff is set for approximately 1:30 p.m. and the game will be carried nationally on either ESPN or ESPN2 with Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich and Allison Williams on the call. The game will also be available online and on mobile devices on the WatchESPN.
The Huskers (19-11, 11-7 Big Ten) head to Indianapolis full of momentum, winning eight of their final nine games, culminating in a 77-68 win over ninth-ranked Wisconsin on Sunday. In that game, the Huskers shot 52 percent from the field and got 26 points each from Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields in picking up a victory crucial to the Huskers’ postseason hopes.
Nebraska enjoyed one of the most remarkable turnarounds in two seasons under Tim Miles, who was named Big Ten Coach of the Year on Monday. Nebraska went from 5-13 to 11-7 in the Big Ten, earning its first top-four conference finish since the 1997-98 season. Nebraska’s 11 Big Ten wins was the program’s highest conference win total since 1966, as the Huskers have relied on a talented sophomore class and a stout defense during the second half of the season. Petteway, Shields and Walter Pitchford combined for 67 of Nebraska’s 77 points in Sunday’s win over the Badgers.
During the conference season, the Huskers split with both Ohio State and Purdue, dropping the first matchup with both teams before rebounding to win the second matchup. The win over Ohio State on Jan. 20 marked Nebraska’s first win against a top-25 team under Miles, while the 19-point win over Purdue on Feb. 23 capped a five-game conference win streak - the longest at Nebraska since 1998-99.
With a win on Friday, the Huskers will advance to the conference semifinals for the first time since 2006.