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Mailbag: Potential Football Transfers, March Madness Brackets and More

March 16, 2022

We’ve got a packed mailbag this week.

Not only do we touch on some interesting over/under questions regarding potential transfers on the football team, we get in on some high school basketball recruiting questions, women’s basketball talk and much more.

Let’s get to it. 

Was there any really good reason the Huskers were placed as a No. 8 seed? Seems like the résumé does not match the seed. I thought NET meant more. (@GeneralChaoz01) 

Steve Marik: I thought they’d be closer to a Nos. 6 or 7 seed. Being a Nos. 8 or 9 is tough, because if you win your first-round game you obviously will likely play the top seed, in this case Louisville, on its home court. While Nebraska has beaten two of the best teams the Big Ten Conference has to offer—Michigan (twice) and Indiana—it has also, at times, played down to its competition in losses to Michigan State and that mind-bending stunner at Penn State. Here’s what Amy Williams said about it Monday on Sports Nightly: “I think there were some projections earlier projecting us as high as six or a seven seed, but I think when you think about the logistics that the selection committee has to take into consideration, and trying to avoid inter-conference matchups and teams that have played previously in the season, even in non-conference matchups and some things like that that they’re really working with, I think from where we sit, we feel like Gonzaga is an incredibly challenging first-round opponent, but everybody in the field is going to be a challenging opponent at this point in time.” 

Drake Keeler: I also thought Nebraska would at least land as a No. 7 seed. As for reasons why not, I’m not sure. You could argue that Nebraska has a better résumé than all of the current No. 7 seeds, but it is what it is. The path will be a lot more difficult now. Gonzaga is 26-6 and just won the West Coast Conference Tournament, capped off with a win against a top-20 team in BYU. If the Huskers pull off that win, they’ll most likely play Louisville, a No. 1 seed. That’s obviously a very tough matchup, but some hope can come in the fact that the Cardinals just lost to No. 8 seed Miami in the conference tournament finals.  

A couple of Over/Under scholarship transfer Q’s to occur after spring ball: .5 QBs; 1.5 RBs; 2 WRs; 2 DBs. (@Sal_Vasta3) 

Greg Smith: Quarterbacks: under. I feel like it is so expected that a quarterback leaves it might just not happen. Running backs: under. I think one is the answer there. Wide receivers: over. Despite Mickey Joseph wanting a nine-man rotation, that room could change quickly with the young guys. Defensive backs: under. Just a hunch. 

Brandon Vogel: Over/Unders are my favorite pastime. I’ll take the over on QBs, just because QBs. I’m with Greg on his running backs number, so under. If we’re not counting already-departed Will Nixon, I’ll take the under on wide receivers. And I’ll be over on the DBs. 

Steve: Over on quarterbacks, because we’re talking college football here. Under on the running backs. Under on the receivers. Over on the DBs. I didn’t try to copy Brandon’s answers.

Do you all have an office bracket pool? Any punishment for whoever comes in last place? Any Cinderella stories you’re rooting for? Who do you think will get to the Final Four this year? (@Sal_Vasta3) 

Jacob Padilla: We do have a company pool that includes both Hurrdat and Hail Varsity. Last year’s finish: 1) Morgan Stokes of Hurrdat, 2) Brandon Vogel, 3) me, 4) Erin Sorensen, 5) Derek Peterson. Greg Smith was way down at 17th. We don’t have a punishment, but I’m all in favor of retroactively assigning one to last year’s pool if you’ve got any ideas for Greg’s punishment (just looking at the Hail Varsity members here). I have coaching friends plus players I know at Colorado State and South Dakota State, so I’ll call them my Cinderella teams. I’m also rooting for Creighton (I’m obviously an alumnus) and any team with Nebraska products on the roster. Gonzaga, Kentucky, Arizona and Kansas was the first Final Four I came up with, but I’m sure that’ll change a couple of times before the round of 64 starts. 

Greg: I am not in favor of this retroactive punishment!

Brandon: Greg’s punishment has already been doled out—he’s had to watch the Lakers all season. My bracket is pretty chalky. In terms of first-round upsets, I like Davidson, San Francisco, Indiana and Miami, though those are barely upsets per the point spread. Longer-term, I’ve got Texas Tech to the Elite Eight and Purdue to the Final Four, but it’s one-seeds after that. 

Mike Babcock: I didn’t finish below Greg because I’m not involved . . .  

Why should I make the four-hour trek for the spring game? (@punny_penguin27) 

Steve: This is just my opinion, but I’ve had a lot of fun in Lincoln during the spring game. Friends, food, drinks and some football. Cool atmosphere. 

Erin Sorensen: Are you making the trek during the season? If so, I can understand not being sure if you want to make a four-hour drive for the day. If you’re not, it’s a great way to take in a Nebraska game day atmosphere at a better price point. The tickets are more attainable pricewise and it’s a little more casual overall. You can make a day of it, checking out all of the bars and restaurants in the Haymarket and Railyard. The spring game always brings a lot of life to Lincoln and that can be fun to be part of. And on the football front, you’ll get to see the quarterbacks in some kind of action (even if they’re wearing green jerseys). 

Where do things stand on Cale Jacobsen and Josiah Dotzler’s recruitment? (@BetsBruce) 

Jacob: At this point, Jacobsen, the senior guard from Ashland-Greenwood, has a few Division II offers but nothing higher than that. He’s taken visits to a few different Summit League schools and is receiving interest from the Missouri Valley as well, but no offers at this point. The torn ACL that cost him most of his junior year and his entire 17U summer really hurt his chance to attract more interest, unfortunately. As for Josiah Dotzler, the junior point guard from Bellevue West, he holds offers from Liberty and Drake. Both Creighton and Nebraska have been tracking him. He has a big summer coming up which will likely determine whether he’s a mid-major guy or if he can break through to the high-major level. 

If you were Nebraska, who’s the next in-state (basketball) player you make an offer to? (@BetsBruce) 

Jacob: Dotzler and Omaha Skutt forward Jack Brack are two players Nate Loenser checked in on this season, but they’re both tracking more as mid-major players at this point. Platteview’s Connor Millikan and Omaha Westside’s Tate Odvody are probably the next-best guys in that 2023 class, but both are still waiting on their first offers, let alone high-major interest. It’s still way too early to know if anybody in that 2024 class will turn into a high-major guy. Westside point guard CJ Mitchell, Bellevue West guard Jaden Jackson, Millard North wing Neal Mosser, Wahoo wing Marcus Glock and Gretna guard Landon Pokorski are among the most intriguing sophomores in the state, but again, none of them have popped as definite D-I guys, let alone high-major ones. We’re not going to see Hunter Sallises, Chucky Hepburns, Isaac Traudts or Jasen Greens every year in this state, unfortunately.

What is your favorite pizza place in Lincoln? (@stevesfangirl)  

Erin: Lazarri’s. I always get pepperoni and cream cheese, and I add buffalo sauce after I get it. It’s the best. It’s basically the Randy Ross without the spicy chicken. 

Greg: Blaze Pizza is my favorite. Valentino’s dessert pizza deserves an honorable mention. 

Mike: Godfathers, with (as Greg says) Valentino’s dessert pizza a strong contender, obviously for different reasons. 

Steve: It’s got to be Casey’s. That’s right, Casey’s General Store. Everything else comes second.

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