Nebraska basketball blasts South Carolina State in final Big Ten tuneup

The Nebraska basketball team came out on Friday night and looked as good as anyone could have hoped in improving to 11-2 on the season.
Dec 29, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Jamarques Lawrence (10) celebrates
Dec 29, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Jamarques Lawrence (10) celebrates / Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska basketball team is officially 11-2 on the season. They're just five wins shy of the high point of the Fred Hoiberg era, that was reached last season. Things are very much looking up.

Even better than the Huskers beating South Carolina State on a Friday night in its final game before it kicks off the Big Ten schedule in earnest is that it appears they could have named their score. There was some worry that Hoiberg's Heroes might struggle against an obviously inferior squad.

After all, the Nebraska basketball team was coming off a long layoff. They were playing just ahead of New Year's Weekend. They were playing a non-conference opponent that was 4-10. And their next game is against the Indiana Hoosiers squad that is 2-0 in the Big Ten.

If the Nebrasketball team had struggled, it would have been understandable. Instead they came out red hot on offense and with a stifling defense. At the half, they led 50-11 and there were real doubts right down to the final minute that South Carolina State would score double-digit points.

The Bulldogs did play slightly better in the second half. Especially once the Huskers had emptied the bench. In fact, when the smoke cleared, South Carolina State actually stayed within 30 points. Considering how much they trailed by for most of the game, that was an accomplishment.

Nebraska basketball routs South Carolina State

The Cornhuskers were even outscored 51-41 in the second half. To some degree, that's likely a bit of a concern for head coach Fred Hoiberg. Of course, he also didn't have many starters play much longer than the first few minutes of the second half.

The most important aspect of the win on Friday night is that Nebraska basketball came out on fire. They came out playing hard and they came out looking like an NCAA Tournament team. While they didn't finish the way we might have wanted, we'll have plenty of more chances to see what they do against real competition from here on out.