Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos released a statement Friday afternoon regarding the future of basketball coach Tim Miles’ job.
“We will await Sunday’s announcement to see if we receive an invitation to participate in the NIT,” Moos said. “Once our season is completed, my evaluation of our men’s basketball program will draw to a close.”
The statement came after the Huskers’ 66-62 loss to Wisconsin in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Nebraska, a 13-seed, won its first two games of tournament action despite having only six scholarship players available, including an upset of No. 5 seed Maryland on Thursday.
Nebraska will now wait to see if the team is given a bid for the NIT. Nebraska finished 13th in the conference. Current NCAA Tournament projections from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi have eight teams from the Big Ten getting into the Big Dance. That leaves four teams with better records above the Huskers fighting for an NIT bid. Indiana is one of Lunardi’s first four teams out, so it seems likely they could be bound for the NIT. In the last decade, the Big Ten hasn’t ever had more than three teams make the NIT.
Against the four teams ahead of Nebraska in the final Big Ten standings, the Huskers owned a 4-3 record.
Nebraska began the 2018-19 season inside the preseason top-25 in the coaches’ poll. After a 10-1 nonconference record to start that featured a road win against Clemson and a home win over Creighton, the Huskers’ first win in the series in seven years, Nebraska looked like it was well on its way to the NCAA Tournament.
But back-to-back losses on the road to Maryland (74-72) and then-No. 25 Iowa (93-84) set off a stretch that would prove horribly unkind to the Huskers. A win over Penn State at home and Indiana on the road was followed by seven straight losses, four of which came inside Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nebraska lost senior forward Isaac Copeland to an ACL tear during the slide and it spiraled from there.
Back-to-back wins over Minnesota and Northwestern at home were followed up with four more losses, including road performances where the Huskers gave up 95, 82 and 91 points all in regulation.
Nebraska won its regular-season finale at home against Iowa on Senior Day, a game that featured 16 Nebraska points in the last 47 seconds to force overtime and complete a comeback. The Huskers followed that up with wins over Rutgers and Maryland to begin the Big Ten tournament before losing to Wisconsin on Friday.
“You look at what they went through and what they tried to overcome, to try and beat top-25 teams on back-to-back night,” Miles said during his postgame press conference after the Wisconsin game, “I told them, I’m proud to be their coach.”