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Mailbag: How Far Will the Women’s Basketball Team Go in the Big Ten Tournament?

March 02, 2022

This week’s mailbag has arrived.

It’s a busy time around Husker athletics as the football team is beginning spring practices and the women’s basketball team is heading to Indianapolis with its eyes set on a Big Ten championship. We touch on all of that, as well as get some Fred Hoiberg and Bryce McGowens talk in.

It’s mailbag time—let’s go. 

Do you think Amy Williams will have any transfers in or out in the offseason aside from the three seniors and the two new recruits? (@GeneralChaoz01) 

Jacob Padilla: With the eligibility freeze, everybody on Nebraska’s roster could still choose to return for another season. Mi’Cole Cayton, Sam Haiby and Bella Cravens all have another year of eligibility. I have no idea what their intentions are. It wouldn’t be shocking to see somebody leave because it’s hard to keep 15 scholarship players happy. Amy Williams already plays a pretty deep rotation at times, and she has three players sitting out this season in Trinity Brady, Naillah Dillard and Tatiana Popa, not to mention Callin Hake and Maggie Mendelson coming in. I doubt we see any further additions, but one or two players looking elsewhere wouldn’t be shocking to me even if I don’t think it’s a certainty or have any strong feelings about who that might be. 

Steve Marik: Agree with Jacob. I wouldn’t be surprised to see movement. That’s just the way it is in college athletics right now. If we don’t see any transfers out, that’s a major feather in the cap to Amy Williams and the culture she’s built

What are the expectations Trev Alberts lined out for Fred Hoiberg to keep his job going into next year and thereafter? (@tchristensen43) 

Jacob: If we ever know it probably won’t be for a while since Alberts doesn’t like to divulge those “metrics,” but we’ve heard him speak about the kind of basketball he wants to see on the court. He wants to see teams that play hard and play together, that give the fans something to rally around. He admitted he’s not a “basketball guy” to the same degree that he’s a “football guy” considering his background and that he will give Hoiberg space to make whatever staff and process changes he deems necessary

What do you think the chances are of Bryce McGowens coming back another year? (@TwinTwisterDad) 

Jacob: Slim to none, especially with the run he’s been on recently. I think Bryce’s plan has always been to play with his brother for one season then make a leap to the NBA, and I think he feels he’s ready to go through that grind no matter where he gets drafted.  

Steve: Hard to imagine Bryce staying in Lincoln for another season. Strike while the iron’s hot, right?

How far do you think the Nebraska women’s basketball team will go in the Big Ten tournament? (@Steve_Marik) 

Drake Keeler: I’m just going to play it safe and go with the quarterfinals. Winning the first game against either Wisconsin or Illinois is very attainable to start out and should be the expectation. Picking a quarterfinal win against Michigan, a team Nebraska blew out once this year, is tempting, but I’ll say the Wolverines win this round.  

Mike Babcock: I’ll go along with Drake, with the same temptation. It wouldn’t necessarily shock me if the Huskers were to play (Iowa for a third time) in the semifinals. And maybe they’ll have some momentum while Michigan waits. Still, the Wolverines should be focused, not looking ahead, after what happened at Pinnacle Bank Arena in early January. In case you’ve forgotten, 79-58. 

Steve: All great points from Drake and Mike. And I’d have to agree with them—I can see a win over either Wisconsin or Illinois. I doubt Michigan looks like it did when it was blown out in Lincoln, though the Huskers earned that win. The Big Ten is no joke, obviously, and beating the Wolverines twice would be another great résumé-building victory. If we’re looking for predictions, I’ll say the Huskers make the quarterfinals, but fall to Michigan. Then it’s off to the NCAA tournament as a No. 7 seed.

Which Husker football assistant coach would you most want to have a beverage with and why? (@Steve_Marik) 

Mike: Barrett Ruud, whom I followed during high school and covered as a Husker. Plus, he’s a Grateful Dead fan. Need I say more? If not Barrett, then Sean Becton. I like how he goes about things and his worth to the Huskers is reflected in the fact that he’s the only offensive assistant who hasn’t been replaced by Frost. 

Erin Sorensen: Mark Whipple, because I can only imagine the stories he’d tell. Mike Dawson is another great storyteller, so he’d be a possibility too. 

Steve: Erin’s answer is the No. 1 overall pick in my humble opinion. If given the opportunity, I’d listen to Whipple talk football for hours and hours and hours. My next pick? That’d be Erik Chinander—he’s down to Earth and knows his stuff, too. The future is bright for that guy, I think.  

What does the departure of Kalynn Meyer mean for the volleyball team? (@Steve_Marik) 

Jacob: It’s one less body in contention for the middle blocker spots. Meyer had been in the program for two seasons but had only played in 13 total sets, so it’s not like they’re losing a surefire contributor with a lot of experience. Either Kayla Caffey is going to get another year or Nebraska is looking at starting one of the two freshmen. Bekka Allick and Maggie Mendelson were the top two middles in their class according to PrepVolleyball.com, so they’re plenty talented, and we saw Nebraska start a true freshman just four years ago with Callie Schwarzenbach.  

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