The final piece of Nebraska’s nonconference schedule came into focus on Wednesday as the Cayman Islands Classic released the bracket for this year’s tournament.
Nebraska will face off against Washington State in the first round of the event on Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in George Town, Grand Cayman.
Washington State went 11-21 last season and he school has parted ways with Ernie Kent, the coach Bill Moos hired twice as the athletic director first at Oregon and then at Washington State. The Cougars hired Kyle Smith who went 164-40 (.612) over the last three years as the head coach at San Francisco.
The Cougars lost a 20-point scorer in senior Robert Franks but return five other rotation players including CJ Elleby, a 6-foot-6 wing who put up nearly 15 points and was second on the team with 7.1 rebounds per game as a freshman. Elleby tested the NBA waters before deciding to return to Pullman for his sophomore year.
The other half of Nebraska’s part of the bracket pits George Mason against Old Dominion.
With each passing season, the Patriots are farther and farther removed from their miraculous cinderella run to the Final Four in 2006. Mason went 18-15 last season under Dave Paulsen but return most of its rotation from last year including leading scorer Justin Kier, a 6-foot-4 guard who averaged nearly 15 points and seven rebounds.
Old Dominion went 26-9 last season under coach Jeff Jones, winning Conference USA and advancing to the NCAA Tournament. The Monarchs lose their top two scorers — and nearly 34 points per game between them — as their top returning scorer, guard Xavier Green, averaged 9.6 points.
Jaylin Hunter, the son of former Nebraska assistant Kenya Hunter, will be a freshman at Old Dominion. Hunter started high school at Lincoln High, transferred to Omaha Creighton Prep and won a state title as a junior then moved with his father when he joined the UConn coaching staff. Hunter won another state title with East Catholic High School in Manchester, Connecticut.
The other side of the bracket has Colorado State facing New Mexico State and Loyola-Chicago squaring off against South Florida.
The championship game is set fro Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.