Hoosiers, Spartans turn heat up on Nebraska basketball as bubble team

The Big Ten looks like it will be a six-team league at most, and there are officially seven teams vying for those spots.
Michigan State's Xavier Booker looks for room under the basket against Michigan during the first half
Michigan State's Xavier Booker looks for room under the basket against Michigan during the first half / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA

The pressure was already officially on for the Nebraska basketball team before this week. A bad loss to a Maryland team that seems like a long shot for an NCAA Tournament bid put the Huskers behind the 8-ball. Games against Wisconsin, Illinois and Northwestern only makes things tougher.

And now, two teams that could be vying to push the Huskers off the bubble are playing very good basketball at just the right time. It doesn’t help that the Big Ten doesn’t look quite as powerful as it once did. 

Last year, the Big Ten conference got eight teams into the Big Dance. This year, it seems unlikely that the conference will get more than six. The problem for the Nebraska basketball team is that it looks like there are seven teams vying for those six spots.

Even worse is that the two teams that are currently behind the Cornhuskers in the standings are playing well enough of late that they could leapfrog Nebraska into the tournament, even if they still find a way to finish behind them in the B1G standings.

Adding insult to injury is that both teams that could eventually jump into those last two spots are programs that the Nebraska basketball team beat earlier this year. And on Tuesday night, both Indiana and Michigan State turned up the heat.

Nebraska basketball hits crunch time

Michigan State’s 81-62 win over in-state rival Michigan doesn’t help its tournament chances all on its own, but since the Spartans are already 25th in the NET rankings, it would seem all they need to do is not lose games like this to get in.

Indiana, on the other hand, need to make a push, but as they’re tied for 5th with Nebraksa and Michigan State, wins over Iowa are going to come in very handy. So the 74-68 victory on Tuesday night only helps their resume, even if they only rank 97th in the NET.

Nebraska was once squarely in the “gonna make it” realm, but have now fallen to 60th in the rankings and the possibility of three straight losses on the horizon, Husker fans probably didn’t love Tuesday night’s outcomes.