Nebraska basketball coach on hot seat, must win this season
November 10, 2017
It is now or never time for Tim Miles and the Nebraska men’s basketball program. Miles begins his sixth season as the head coach of the Huskers Saturday Night against Eastern Illinois, and Miles has a toasty seat at the moment. It is now three seasons ago when Nebraska made its memorable run through Big Ten play and earning their first bid in the NCAA tournament sense the turn of the millennium.
Now Nebraska needs to address the ugly fact that, thanks to Northwestern, and Vanderbilt fouling with 30 seconds left up one, Nebraska is now the only power five program yet to win in a game in the NCAA Tournament, sporting an 0-7 record all time in tournament play. If Tim Miles does not fix that fact this season it is probable new Athletic Director _______ will pull the plug and fire him.
The main reason why this would happen is because Nebraska has its most talented roster in the Miles era, and Miles had a very talented 2014 team, led by Terran Petteway and Shevon Shields, that started in the top 25 of the AP poll preseason and went 13-18. If Miles fails this season he will be 0 for 2 in taking NCAA tournament caliber rosters to the NCAA tournament. But, this roster is quite different featuring new players who should have an immediate impact.
Nebraska got a break, as shocking as it might sound, in the offseason when the NCAA granted transfer Isaac Copeland a full redshirted year, instead of the half redshirt year he already had. This means he will be able to play the entire season instead of the second half of the season. Copeland has 6’9″ size, and will help take the burden off of Jordy Tshimanga in the paint.
The Cornhuskers also added Thomas Allen, the best three point shooter in this years high school recruiting class according to many scouting websites. Tim Miles’ squad struggled last year from beyond the arc, shooting a dismal 32% from downtown, which ranked 303 of 347 division 1 teams. Three point defense was also a major struggle last year for Nebraska. Opponents typically shot the lights out when facing the Huskers, converting on nearly 40% of three point field goal attempts. That was worse than 344/347 Division I teams in three point defense.
Nebraska also has returning talent in Jordy Tshimanga and Glen Watson Jr. Tshimanga was a good surprise for the Huskers last season as he improved drastically in Big Ten play because of the absence of the injured, and now Marquette forward, Ed Morrow Jr. Glen Watson Jr. was very inconsistent in 2016-2017 when he could score 0 or 32 points in a game and it would not be a surprise. He will probably play point against a slate of very good teams.
Last year Nebraska faced the 14th hardest schedule in the nation according to statistics website kempom.com. The slate will not get that much easier this year. As the Huskers travel to New York to take on St. Johns five days into the season as part of the “Gavitt Tipoff Games.” Nebraska then play in the AdvoCare invitational tournament before Boston College comes to town as part of the “ACC/Big Ten Challenge.”
After those contests are complete, Nebraska plays the meat of their schedule. On December 3rd, the Huskers open up Big Ten play on the road in East Lancing to take on Michigan State, then two days later Minnesota comes in Lincoln. Nebraska then returns to nonconference play that Saturday when they play Creighton in Omaha. After a week of rest, the Kansas Jayhawks come to town on December 16. After an insanely difficult two weeks, Nebraska has three gimmies at home as the get set for the continuation of Big Ten play January 2 in Evanston against Northwestern.
It will only be a matter of time before we see how good the Huskers are. With that hard stretch just three weeks into his sixth year at Nebraska, we will know if Tim Miles has what it takes to save his job, and take NU back to the NCAA tournament.