Cornhuskers, winless in NCAA Tournament, will get a chance to end their March Madness misery

For all of its success across multiple sports, Nebraska has the dubious distinction of being the only Power Five program to have never won a game in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

The Cornhuskers earned a No. 8 seed in the South Region on Sunday and will get their chance to break through on Friday against No. 9 Texas A&M in Memphis. It will be Nebraska's first appearance since 2014 and eighth overall.

“We’ve had a lot of firsts this year with this team and we’re chasing another one,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “It's an opportunity to go out and do something that's never been done in the history of the program.”

The Huskers (23-10) have their most wins since Danny Nee’s 1990-91 team went 26-8. The turnaround has happened under Hoiberg, who was on the hottest of hot seats two years ago after going 24-67 in his first three seasons.

Keisei Tominaga, nicknamed the “Japanese Stephen Curry” and the team's leading scorer, arrived last year and has become the most recognizable player. His joyful displays when he makes 3-pointers makes him the biggest personality on a team with no projected NBA draft picks.

Three midmajor transfers joined the program in the offseason and are in the starting lineup: Brice Williams (Charlotte), Rienk Mast (Bradley) and Josiah Allick (New Mexico). Juwan Gary provides spark on both ends of the floor and is the only player with NCAA Tournament experience, with Alabama in 2022.

The team still plays Hoiberg's entertaining five-out motion offense. An increased emphasis on defense has been a biggest factor in their improvement.

Hoiberg, who took Iowa State to four straight NCAA Tournaments from 2012-15, said he watched the selection show by himself while his players gathered in a separate room.

“Everybody was downstairs hooting and hollering and I was up in my room by myself,” he said. “I'll be honest, I got a little emotional with it, with where we are right now, being back at this time of year. It's what it's all about. It's why we came to Nebraska.”


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