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High Seed, High Hopes: Huskers Earn No. 3 Spot for Big Ten Tournament

The regular season wrapped up in impressive fashion for Fred Hoiberg’s squad, and now Nebraska’s focus shifts to potentially making some noise in the Big Ten Tournament.

The Huskers were rewarded for their 22-9 campaign with the No. 3 seed in this week’s conference tournament in Minneapolis. It matches NU’s highest seed since joining the Big Ten back in 2011 and represents a major step forward for a program that’s steadily gained traction over the past few seasons.

“I’m proud of what this group accomplished to put us in this position,” said Hoiberg. “But we know the real work is just beginning. Our sights are set on bringing home Nebraska’s first Big Ten Tournament title.”

With a bye into Friday’s quarterfinal round, the Huskers await the winner of Thursday’s second round matchup between No. 6 seed Indiana and either No. 11 Penn State or No. 14 Michigan. Tip-off is set for approximately 8 p.m. CT on BTN.

While NU will be well-rested, it avoided any potential letdown in its regular season finale by blasting Michigan 85-70 at home on Sunday. The Huskers have won five of their last six games overall, building some serious momentum heading into tournament time.

This will be the first season Nebraska has earned a bye at the Big Ten Tournament since 2018. The No. 3 seed slots the Huskers onto the same side of the bracket as No. 2 Illinois, though a potential clash with top-seeded Purdue looms in Saturday’s semifinals.

No matter the opponent, there’s little doubt this battle-tested Husker group will be ready for the challenge after navigating one of the nation’s toughest conference slates.

“Night in and night out in the Big Ten, you have to bring it,” said sharpshooting senior Sam Griesel, who’s averaging 15.3 points per game. “That’s prepared us well for what’s to come here. We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.”

Nebraska has lacked a signature win away from Pinnacle Bank Arena so far this season, but that could change quickly in Minneapolis. The Huskers took care of business at home, going 16-2, while notching huge road wins at Ohio State and Northwestern.

With a blend of explosive scoring, tenacious defense, and outstanding guard play from Griesel, Emmanuel Bandoumel, and Jarac Sayles, this NU team has all the ingredients to make a serious tournament run.

The Big Ten championship is well within reach. But first, Hoiberg’s crew must take care of business in the quarterfinals against a fellow NCAA Tournament team.

Having finally reached its potential, the thrill of March takes on new meaning for the 2023-24 Huskers.

“This is going to be an exciting week for our guys and for our fans,” said Hoiberg. “Everybody is 0-0 and anything can happen. We’re focused on doing everything we can to make it a memorable one.”

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