Nebraska basketball tournament hopes officially take hit after Maryland

The talk around Nebraska basketball has been they need to find a way to win on the road. Their NET ranking now reflects that.

Jan 27, 2024; College Park, Maryland, USA;  Maryland Terrapins forward Julian Reese (10) pulls down
Jan 27, 2024; College Park, Maryland, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Julian Reese (10) pulls down / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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The Nebraska basketball program has spent most of December and January looked at as a near-sure thing to make the NCAA Tournament. There are plenty who didn’t even consider them a bubble team. It was that certain they were in.

Things might have changed for the Cornhuskers on Saturday after they got pounded into the ground by the Maryland Terapins. The Nebraska basketball performance in College Park was bad for a lot of reasons. Right at the top of the list is the hit the Huskers took to their NET rating.

On Sunday morning, an updated NET ranking shows that the Cornhuskers dropped a whopping 15 spots after the loss to the Terps. They were solidly inside the bubble coming into yesterday sitting at 47th. 

They are now solidly on the bubble at 62nd. Certainly, the Huskers still have a very good chance of making the Big Dance. But they’re going to need to start playing better. They also fell to 53rd on KenPom rankings, the lowest they’ve been in a little while.

While Maryland isn’t a bad team persay, they were a bad loss. Entering yesterday, they were 93rd in the NET rankings. KenPom now has them just behind Nebraska at 55th. They’re still very, very low in the NET as they’re now 82nd.

In other words, Maryland still has work to do to punch their ticket. But they played a pretty big spoiler for Fred Hoiberg and company.

Nebraska basketball has work to do to get off the bubble

Where things get really nervewracking is what comes next. The Huskers are about to enter the toughest stretch of their conference schedule. They return home for a game against Wisconsin. Then they go on the road at Illinois and Northwestern.

An 0-3 record is certainly not out of the question. In fact, it’s expected. Especially with as bad as Nebraska basketball has been outside of PBA. As good as they’ve been, expecting a win over a Top 15 team still isn’t in the cards for the Huskers.

On the flip side, a 2-1 record in the next three gets the Cornhuskers back inside the bracket quite definitively. But a winless stretch, which would be four straight counting Maryland, would be approaching disaster.