What does Nebraska Basketball Bring to Big Ten? Not Much.


Nebraska basketball

Nebraska is officially a member of the Big Ten… or whatever it will end up being called after all the dust has settled.  While the move makes sense both financially and to improve the quality of football in the conference, the switch does absolutely nothing for college basketball.

By: David Kay

Big Ten Conference

Football and Financial gain; every rumored mega-conference creation revolves around those two items.  In the process, college basketball is being treated like an overweight groupie and just thrown to the side in favor of the sexier friend.

Nebraska has a long and storied football tradition which should make the Big Ten more competitive; one of the major reasons both sides wanted to join forces.  However, the Huskers basketball program rivals soon-to-be conference mate Northwestern as two of the least successful teams in college hoops.  In fact, the two schools join South Florida as the three major BCS basketball programs to have never won an NCAA Tournament game.  At least Nebraska has made six trips to the dance whereas the Wildcats are still waiting for their inaugural appearance in the tourney.

The struggles for Nebraska date back some sixty years.  Their last conference title was in 1950 when they were co-champs of the Big 8 along with Kansas and Kansas State; two programs which sadly might be massively screwed when all the jockeying of conferences is complete.  You have to go all the way back to 1916 to find the last time the Huskers won an outright conference title.  But hey, they did win the NIT in 1996!

School officials are hoping brighter days are on the horizon for the Nebraska basketball program though.  Plans are underway to build a new arena in downtown Lincoln that will seat 16,000 fans, it’s scheduled to open in time for the 2013-2014 season.  Upgrades in their practice facilities are also on tap which should help their recruiting.  Until then, the Huskers figure to be nothing more than a mirror image of their 2009-2010 squad that was a doormat of the Big 12 finishing in last place with a 2-14 conference record.

Nebraska Cornhuskers LogoNo Big Ten basketball fan is excited about Nebraska’s arrival into the conference except maybe Iowa because they might actually win a game or two more per year.  I don’t know anybody who will be rushing to the ticket office or standing in long lines to make sure they pick up a pair of seats for when Nebraska comes to town or road tripping to Lincoln to catch their club play on the Huskers home floor.

Instead, Nebraska’s arrival will only water down the competition in the conference and likely cost your favorite team a chance of playing one of the other marquee programs once a year.  Think about it; if you are Wisconsin, maybe a home-and-home with the new kids on the block is added to your schedule in a particular year but in the process, you only play Ohio State and Michigan State once a year instead of matching up with them two times.  That is unless the Big Ten powers that be decide to up the number of conference games played per year which seems like the best solution for all involved.

There is still plenty of musical chairs left to play in the next couple of weeks as the landscape of college conferences will forever be altered.  So far, the current switching follows suit with this theory that football is of first and foremost importance with basketball being nothing more than an afterthought.  The other major moves of Colorado will add to the Pac-10 and Boise State will be an upgrade to the Mountain West Conference from a football standpoint, but in no way improves the quality of basketball. Just like Nebraska joining the Big Ten.  Nobody seems to care though as college hoops remains the red-headed step child of conference realignment.

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  1. paulmbanks says

    Very well done!! It’s about time someone mentioned the role of college hoops in all of this, and indeed I find it sad that no one cares about how important college basketball is. Kansas is easily a top 5 program in hardwood history and they’re going to get shafted where they land.

    because it’s all about the benjamins, as in the money from television sets tuned into football. cuz that makes more money than hoops.

    Excellent use of including relevant links and nuggets of Neb b-ball “history” I knew they were bad, but I didn’t know they were 1 of 3 power conf teams never to win a tourney game

  2. paulmbanks says

    this conf expansion stuff is really to right about now. especially since I wondered what topic I would focus on once the Hawks were over, it’s something to fill the void until cfb begins

  3. David K. says

    This says it all… most famous Nebraska baller of the last 20+ years… Eric Piatkowski… with Tyronn Lue finishing a distant 2nd

  4. Guess everyone forgot the women play ball too. Last I checked, the women were mopping up the floor with all but one team they played all year. Connie Yori has definitely got that program headed in the right direction.

  5. I like how this article talks about how no one will be making the road trip to Lincoln to watch their club play on the Husker’s home floor, yet for some odd reason Nebraska is 16-1 at the Devaney. If you are not a Husker basketball fan, then you don’t think the Huskers bring much to the table. Sure, they aren’t a perennial tournament team, but Doc Sadler has his players playing their best every game. This year should be the first of many when they reach the tournament, and they finally should get a win. Nebraska basketball may not be bringing the most storied history to the Big Ten, but they will be bringing one of the nation’s top defenses behind one of the nation’s best coaches.

  6. Tim-

    Let me start off by saying this article was written prior to the start of the season. Nebraska has definitely surprised me this season and now put themselves in consideration for the NCAA Tournament which is rather impressive.

    But Doc Sadler being one of the nation’s best coaches? Really? Because they have won three straight and he has his team at .500 in the Big 12 after never finishing higher than 7th in conference in his first four seasons there? I respect your passion for your team but c’mon… Be rational please…

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