February 25, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers forward Brandon Ubel (13), Michigan State Spartans center Adreian Payne (5) and Cornhuskers guard Brandon Richardson (3) fight for position during the second half at Jack Breslin Students Events Center. Michigan State won 62-34. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
Today we learned a little bit about 4 games we learned were on Nebraska's men's basketball schedule almost two months ago. Nebraska fomally announced the Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic which will feature 7 teams at 4 diffferent locations over 9 days. The important information is that Nebraska will host Valpoaraiso (Nov. 15), Kent State (Nov. 18), Tulane (Nov. 21) and Nebraska Omaha (Nov 24) who is in their second year playing Division 1 basketball.
These won't be gimmie games for Nebraska. Valpo and Kent St. could very well push Nebraska.
For more information about the Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic, click here.
After the jump, you'll find a quick look at the teams Nebraska will face.
Kent State: They were fairly respectable last year compiling a 21-12 record. They were selected to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, falling in the first round to South Carolina Upstate. The Golden Flashes will have to find players to replace their four seniors, all who were among their top six in scoring. This could be a tough early season challenge for a Nebraska team that will still be learning Coach Miles' system, but it is a game Nebraska should win.
Valparaiso: The Crusaders won the Horizon League last year. That's the conference that features Butler of 2010 and 2011 Final Four fame. Valpo defeated Butler three times last year but fell to Detroit (who you may have seen in the NCAA tournament face Kansas in Omaha) in the 2nd round of the Horizon League tournament. That loss cost Valpo an NCAA berth and had to settle for an NIT bid in which they fell to Miami. The Crusaders lose 15 points from last years team. That's 15 points total, not per game, just two seniors who only got mop up duty left the roster. They return every significant contributor from last year. Don't be surprised if you see this team on CBS in March. This will be a very stiff challenge for the Huskers.
Tulane: Tulane finished the 2011-12 season a game under .500, missing post season play. Like Valparaiso, they return nearly their entire roster. Despite the experience Tulane will bring with it to Lincoln, they did struggle on the road going 2-10 on the year. This is another team that could probably give Nebraska fits early in the season.
Nebraska Omaha: This is a kind and somewhat bold inclusion by Nebraska. The ultimate no lose game for the Mavs, who are still completing their transition to Division 1 and the Summit League. A loss by the Huskers is one that sticks with this team for years to come. The Mavs lose most of their scoring punch with Mitch Albers returning for his senior season. This isn't a team that should give the Huskers much of a game, but if for some reason they do, look for red flags to fly up and alarm bells to ring.