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Nebraska Basketball Is Moving Onto The NCAA Tournament Bubble

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Yes Nebraska is on the bubble

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Nebraska vs Rutgers David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska is on the bubble. Tim Miles looked dead in the water a week ago. Nebraska had lost four games in a row, and looked to be headed towards a one and done in the Big Ten Tournament.

The Huskers won their season finale against Iowa, coming back from 16 points down in the second half to get their sixth conference win of the season.

Drawing the 13th seed, Nebraska has pulled off a pair of upsets to start the Big Ten Tournament. Nebraska downed Rutgers 68-61 to start the postseason. The Huskers then surprised the #21 Maryland Terrapins with a 69-61 win yesterday. Nebraska now has the chance to take on #19 Wisconsin today.

As of right now, Nebraska is out of the NCAA Tournament. Today presents an opportunity for the Huskers to play their way either firmly on the bubble, or even possibly inside of the bubble.

Nebraska has a resume that consists of the following. The Huskers are 3-12 against quadrant one teams in the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings. The NET rankings are the new system that the NCAA uses to compare teams instead of the old RPI rankings. Wisconsin would be a quad one win for the Huskers.

When expanding to quadrant one and two combined, the Huskers improve to 9-15 against the top two quadrants. The Huskers could improve to 11-16 if they were to make the Big Ten Tournament finale.

Nebraska is fighting with a handful of other teams that are firmly on the bubble. Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Arizona State, Minnesota, Xavier, Seton Hall, Temple, Washington, Belmont, Creighton, North Carolina State, Clemson, Texas, Lipscomb, UNC Greensboro, St. Johns, Georgetown, and TCU.

Of the batch of teams listed above, they’re probably seven or eight tournament bids available. Some teams above, the Huskers should be ahead of in the rankings before today’s game against Wisconsin even starts.

Not going too deep, but Nebraska might be in the middle of the pack when it comes to those teams. Teams like NC State, Texas, and Clemson have weak resumes. Texas is 16-16 and is probably bound for the NIT. NC State played the worst non conference schedule out of any team. Clemson lost to Nebraska at home. All three of these teams should be behind Nebraska.

Seton Hall, Georgetown, UNCG, Creighton, and Xavier are the next batch of teams to make an argument for them being behind Nebraska. Creighton lost to Nebraska. Georgetown, Xavier, and Seton Hall are three big east teams that have similar resumes. All three have a win over Villanova. Georgetown has a NET ranking of 82, with Xavier at 70th. UNCG has two quadrant one NET wins, Furman and East Tennessee State.

Lipscomb has a similar NET ranking to the Huskers at 48, but they have just three quadrant one and two wins combined. A lack of quality wins probably keeps them out.

I would group Nebraska with TCU, and St. Johns in the next batch of teams approaching the bubble. Nebraska, TCU, and St. Johns both have ten combined quadrant one and two wins. TCU is out of the Big 12 Tournament with a loss to Kansas State, and probably is on the wrong side of the bubble. St. Johns has a lower NET ranking then both Nebraska and TCU but has a higher number of wins. The ding on Nebraska is the 18-15 overall record.

Alabama, Florida, Belmont, Temple, Washington, and Arizona State are probably all in right now. Alabama and Belmont both have room to fall off the bubble. The Crimson Tide sit at just 18-14 and have been leaking some oil as they had lost 6 of their last 8 SEC games before the conference tournament. Belmont only has two quadrant one wins in Lipscomb and Murray State. Losing to Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference might cause them to be NIT bound.

Ohio State and Minnesota are probably safe. Ohio State survived what was basically an elimination game against Indiana yesterday. If the Buckeyes knocked off Michigan State today, they would be firmly in. Minnesota beat Penn State last night in overtime to move on to the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. They have a chance to beat Michigan to improve their resume.

To recap. We need Nebraska to win. Root for teams firmly in to win their conference tournament. Nebraska will be rooting against a team like Connecticut to win today against Houston.