Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics
LINCOLN - The Nebraska basketball team will make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998, as the Huskers received an at-large bid to the 2014 NCAA Tournament Sunday afternoon. The team watched the NCAA selection show at Pinnacle Bank Arena in front of fans and supporters at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Huskers received the No. 11 seed in the West Region and will take on 6th-seeded Baylor (24-11) in the Second Round on Friday in San Antonio. Start time, ticket availability and television information will be available later Sunday.
It is the seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in program history (1986-91-92-93-94-98) and the 24th postseason appearance in program history. Nebraska is looking for its first NCAA Tournament victory. The 2014 NCAA Tournament marks Nebraska's first postseason berth since the 2011 National Invitational Tournament. The only Husker on the 2013-14 roster who appeared in the Huskers' NIT contest at Wichita State was fifth-year senior Ray Gallegos.
Big Ten Coach of the Year Tim Miles guided the Huskers to a 19-12 record and a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten this season. Nebraska, which was picked last in the Big Ten during the preseason, went 11-7 in conference play, including wins over No. 9 Michigan State and No. 9 Wisconsin. The 11 conference wins were the most by the Huskers since 1956-66 and the fourth-place finish was the NU's best since 1997-98. Nebraska went 9-9 in its first 18 games before reeling off 10 wins in the final 13 games to make its postseason charge. The victories included the first sweep of Indiana in school history and a pair of wins over top-10 teams, the first time that has happened for the Huskers two decades. Nebraska is the fourth school that Miles has guided to postseason play. The others were Mayville State (NAIA), Southwest Minnesota State (Division II) and Colorado State.
The Huskers are led by a trio of sophomores in Terran Petteway, Shavon Shields and Walter Pitchford. NU's sophomore class accounts for more than 60 percent of its offense and 55 percent of its rebounding.
Petteway is a first-team All-Big Ten selection, as he leads the conference at 18.1 points per game along with 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He is also among the Big Ten's leaders in free throw percentage (.820) and 3-pointers per game (1.6). Shields, who was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten pick this season, joins Petteway in double figures at 12.7 points and a team-best 5.8 rebounds per game, while Pitchford is at 9.5 points per game and shoots 42 percent from 3-point range. Pitchford is the only current Husker player with NCAA Tournament experience, as he played in a pair of games during the 2012 Tournament with the Florida Gators, as they reached the Elite Eight that season.
The Huskers are coming off a 71-67 loss to No. 24 Ohio State in the Big Ten quarterfinals on Friday in Indianapolis, a loss that snapped the Huskers' three-game win streak.