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Nebrasketball: Game Tip-Off Times Announced, Weekly Press Conference

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Nebraska Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska Cornhuskers returned to practice this week after a roughly three week pause in team activities following a COVID-19 outbreak. With the return to play, the following games coming up on Nebraska’s schedule received start times and tv broadcast information:

Upcoming Schedule

  • Sat., Feb. 6 – at Michigan State, 5:30 p.m. (BTN)
  • Mon. Feb. 8 – at Minnesota, 7 p.m. (BTN)
  • Thurs., Feb. 11 – Wisconsin, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • Sun., Feb. 14 – at Penn State, 2 p.m. (BTN)

All times listed are central

Press Conference

You can watch the full video of Coach Hoiberg’s remarks, but here are some of the important highlights:

  • While Sunday was described as a rough first practice back, Coach Hoiberg described Tuesday’s as much better. The Huskers only had seven players available for Sunday’s practice, but 10 eligible on Tuesday after two players returned from non-COVID illnesses.
  • Hoiberg said the team held a full scrimmage and “got up and down” the floor. However, Hoiberg cautioned fans that UNL is “still a long ways away from being where we need to be, and rightfully so” after the program’s three-week layoff.
  • Sophomore point guard Dalano Banton sprained his ankle during Sunday’s practice. As a result he was held out from participating on Tuesday. Hoiberg said Banton’s ankle is “still very tender,” and he will be considered day-to-day going forward. Nebraska plans to try to do more with him on Wednesday.
  • Two players are still going through the team’s return to play protocol and are not yet cleared to practice fully. However, Hoiberg expects both will be cleared by the end of the week.
  • Hoiberg plans to hold another full scrimmage on Wednesday, but plans to then “back off” the workload for Thursday and Friday.
  • The pause by Nebraska and need to get players back into game shape reminds Hoiberg of his old NBA teams coming back after the All-Star break.
  • Comparing Saturday’s opponent Michigan State and its’ rough return from its own COVID pause just over a week ago to what Nebraska might expect to go through, Hoiberg noted that the Spartans were off for 17 days, while Nebraska had been paused for 20.
  • Hoiberg thinks the mental struggle of the three-week pause was the most challenging part for the players. Having to be isolated for 10 days with no in-person contact with anyone allowed was difficult for the players, particularly those who weren’t experiencing any noticeable symptoms.

“It’s been hard on guys and coaches, but all we can do is worry about the next day and try to get through the best we can,” he said.

  • While the next four games are confirmed on the schedule, after that everything is still up in the air. Coach Hoiberg says the hope for both Nebraska and the Big Ten is to still play all remaining 15 regular-season games. That will be challenging to squeeze in at this point and could include playing back-to-back games versus the same opponent. Nothing has been finalized at this point, though.
  • Coach Hoiberg is mainly wanting to see the Huskers When Nebraska does return to action on Saturday, Hoiberg said he mainly wants to see the Huskers continue to “take steps in the right direction and to get back to competing” at the Big Ten level. He did caution he considers himself “a realist” and knows there will be a drop-off from Nebraska’s last time out against Indiana on Jan. 10.
  • Speaking briefly on his own experience with COVID-19. Hoiberg said he never felt the need to go to the hospital. During his recovery, though he lost around 10 pounds.