The Nebraska men's basketball team makes its first NCAA appearance in a decade, as the Huskers are the No. 8 seed in the South Regional. The Huskers (23-10) open tournament action on Friday evening when they face ninth-seeded Texas A&M (20-14). Tipoff is set for 5:50 p.m. (central) and the game will be televised by TNT and carried on the Huskers Radio Network.

Under the direction of Big Ten Coach of the Year Fred Hoiberg, Nebraska’s 23 wins are the most since the 1990-91 season and the second-highest total in school history.  The Huskers are coming off a Big Ten semifinal appearance, as the Huskers dropped a 98-87 decision to No. 13 Illinois on March 15.

Nebraska features a balanced attack led by All-Big Ten performers Keisei Tominaga and Rienk Mast. Tominaga, a two-time All-Big Ten honoree, leads Nebraska in scoring at 14.9 points per game and has a team-high 71 3-pointers. Mast, a 6-foot-10 junior forward, averages 12.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in his first season at Nebraska and leads the Huskers in both rebounds and assists.  The Huskers feature four players who average double figures in Brice Williams (13.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Juwan Gary (11.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and eight players who average at least 18 minutes per contest.

The Huskers average 77.6 points per game to rank fourth in the Big Ten and is NU’s highest scoring average since the 1995-96 season. NU leads the Big Ten in 3-pointers per game (9.5/gm) while its 312 3-pointers shattered the previous school mark of 270 set in 2019.

Texas A&M is 20-14 on the season after losing to Florida, 95-90, in the SEC semifinals on Saturday. The Aggies had won five straight before the loss to the Gators, including a 97-87 win over Kentucky in the quarterfinals. Two-time All-SEC guard Wade Taylor IV paces the Aggie attack with 18.9 points and 4.0 points per game, while Tyrence Radford chips in 16.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

The winner of the NU/Texas A&M matchup will face the winner of the game between No. 1 seed Houston and No. 16 seed Longwood on Sunday. The start time and TV info will be determined following Friday's games. 

Nebraska's NCAA Tournament History
The 2024 NCAA Tournament marks Nebraska’s eighth NCAA Tournament appearance and 27th postseason appearance in school history (eight NCAAs, 19 NITs). NU makes its first appearance since the 2013-14 campaign and second since 1998.

The Huskers made their first appearance in 1986 and made four straight appearances in the early 1990s, led by Rich King and Eric Piatkowski. Nebraska returned to the NCAAs in 1998 behind NBA first-round pick Tyronn Lue while its most recent appearance came in 2014.

  • Fred Hoiberg is the fourth Husker coach to take his team to the NCAAs, joining Moe Iba (1986), Danny Nee (1991-92-93-94-98) and Tim Miles (2014). It will be the fifth NCAA appearance of his career, as he guided Iowa State to four straight NCAAs between 2012 and 2015.In addition, Hoiberg's grandfather, Jerry Bush, guided Toledo to an appearance in the 1954 NCAA Tournament.
  • Junior forward Juwan Gary is the only active Husker with NCAA Tournament experience, as he played in two tournaments in his time at Alabama, including the Crimson Tide’s 2021 run to the Sweet 16.

 Worth Noting
• Nebraska's 23 wins this season are the most by Nebraska since the 1990-91 season. It ranks second on Nebraska's single-season win chart.

  • Nebraska has increased its win total in each of the past three years, marking the first time NU has done that since the mid-1960s (1963-64 to 1965-66).According to BTN Research, Nebraska is one of four teams nationally and the only team in a power conference to improve its win total by at least six games in each of the past two seasons (as of March 18). The others are James Madison, Lamar and South Florida. 

In addition, the Huskers have also improved their conference win percentage in each of the past four seasons, culminating with a 12-8 mark in 2023-24.

  • Nebraska is one of 23 teams nationally that ranks in the top 50 both in offensive and defensive efficiency in KenPom entering the NCAA Tournament. It marks the first time that Nebraska has been ranked in the top 50 of offensive and defensive efficiency in the KenPom era (1996-97).
  • Nebraska has two top-10 wins for the first time since 2013-14 and the sixth time in school history (2023-24, 2013-14, 1993-94, 1991-92, 1990-91 and 1957-58).The 1957-58 team was coached by Jerry Bush, the grandfather of current Husker Head Coach Fred Hoiberg.
  • Over the past two seasons, NU has won 21 conference games, the highest two-year total since the 1965-66 and 1966-67 teams won 22 conference tilts. The last two seasons under Fred Hoiberg mark just the fourth time in school history that Nebraska has won 20 or more conference games in a two-year span.
  • The Huskers finished the regular season with an 18-1 record inside Pinnacle Bank Arena, setting a single-season mark for home wins in a season. The .947 mark is NU's best home mark by winning percentage since 1965-66. NU went a perfect 10-0 at home in Big Ten play, marking the third time NU has posted an unblemished home conference mark since World War II (also 1965-66, 2017-18). The other seasons with a perfect conference record were between 1908 and 1921.
  • Nebraska enters the NCAA Tournament averaging 77.6 points per game.It is an increase of nearly nine points per game from last year and NU's highest scoring average since 1995-96 (80.2 ppg).  NU's highest average since joining the Big Ten is 73.3 points per game in 2021-22.

NU has climbed from 149th to 36th nationally in offensive efficiency in KenPom as of March 18.

  • The Huskers have been one of the most consistent teams in the Big Ten for more than a year. NU is 29-13 over the last 39 games dating back to Feb. 1, 2023, which ranks second only to Purdue in the Big Ten in winning percentage in that span.
  • The Huskers are 25-7 under Fred Hoiberg when scoring at least 80 points, including 20-4 over the last three seasons. The 98-87 loss to No. 13 Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament marked the first time in the last three seasons that Nebraska scored 80 or more points and lost in regulation.
  • Nebraska enters the NCAA Tournament shooting 75.4 percent from the foul line. It is the Huskers' best season from the charity stripe since the 2011-12 team set a school record with a .766 free throw percentage.
  • Nebraska's bench has been productive all season, averaging a Big Ten best 21.9 points per game as of March 18.
  • The 2024 season marks the fourth time that both the Husker men and women reached the NCAA Tournament (also 1993, 1998 and 2014). The Husker women are 22-11 heading into their first-round matchup with Texas A&M on Friday night. The 2023-24 season marks the first time that both the Husker men's and women's programs won at least 22 games in the same season.Nebraska is one of 22 programs nationally and just two in the Big Ten - along with Michigan State - to have both their men's and women's teams reach the 2024 NCAA Tournament.  Nebraska is one of 12 teams with both teams seeded eighth or higher.
  • A few Huskers are approaching milestones heading into Friday's NCAA Tournament opener. Keisei Tominaga: Ranks eighth on NU's single-season list with 71 3-pointers and needs eight to move into a tie for sixth place with Tyronn Lue (1998) and Cary Cochran (2001)...he can climb NU's career list as he has 173 and is within striking distance of Brian Conklin (176, seventh) and Erick Strickland (179, sixth)...Tominaga is also three points away from tying Herschell Turner for 30th on NU's career scoring list. C.J. Wilcher: With 144 career 3-pointers, he is two 3-pointers from tying Cookie Belcher for 10th on NU's career 3-point chart (146).Rienk Mast: Needs 11 points to reach 1,400 points for his career and is six shy of 900 career rebounds.

Numbers to Know
1990-91 - Nebraska's 23 wins are the most since the 1990-91 team set a school record with 26 wins.

9.5 - NU tops the Big Ten and ranks 26th nationally with 9.5 3-pointers per game as of March 18. The per game average would match the single-season school record for 3-pointers per game (9.5/gm, 2001-02).  The Huskers' 312 3-pointers is a school record (previous, 270 in 2018-19), while the Huskers are 11-4 this season when hitting at least 10 3-pointers in a game. 

25 - Nebraska has won 25 straight games when out-rebounding its opponent dating back to Nov. 27, 2022, against Florida State. The Huskers are a perfect 16-0 this season when out-rebounding foes.

22 - Nebraska has won 22 straight games dating back to last season when holding an opponent to 70 points or less. This season, NU is 18-0 following the win over Indiana on March 15.

8 - Nebraska is one of eight teams in the country to have at least five 1,000-point scorers on its roster. The group includes Josiah Allick, Jarron Coleman, Rienk Mast, Keisei Tominaga and Brice Williams. St. John's with six is the only program with more 1,000-point scorers (six) on its roster.

.939 - C.J.  Wilcher's free throw percentage this season, as he has hit 31 of 33 from the foul line. Wilcher was a perfect 23-of-23 in Big Ten play and has hit 28 straight free throws dating back to Nov. 9.

15.6 - Brice Williams is averaging 15.6 points in eight career postseason games (conference tournament and 2023 CBI), well above his career scoring average of 10.2 points per game. Over the last two years, that number jumps to  17.7 after his performance in the 2024 Big Ten Tournament.

2 - Rienk Mast became only the second Husker in the last 25 years to post a 30-point, 10-rebound game with his performance against Ohio State on Jan. 24. He joined Aleks Maric, who accomplished the feat four times in his career from 2005 to 2008.

1.38 - Nebraska's assist-to-turnover ratio this season, which is on pace to be NU's best assist-to-turnover ratio since 1985-86 (1.64). 

9 - Nine members of the Husker men's basketball team were named to the NU Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll for the fall semester announced on Feb. 22. The group includes Josiah Allick, Henry Burt, Jeffrey Grace III, Sam Hoiberg, Rienk Mast, Eli Rice, Keisei Tominaga,  C.J. Wilcher and Brice Williams. Mast was one of 72 Huskers across all sports with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

14,597 - Nebraska ranks 15th nationally in average attendance, averaging 14,597 fans per game. Nebraska has been ranked in the top 25 nationally in attendance every year since Pinnacle Bank Arena opened in 2013-14, except for 2020-21 when no fans were allowed.

11 - Fred Hoiberg has 11 career wins against top-10 teams and 28 wins over ranked opponents in his collegiate coaching career. This season, NU has wins over No. 1 Purdue and No. 6 Wisconsin. 

Scouting Texas A&M
Texas A&M comes into Friday's NCAA Tournament opener with a 20-14 record after reaching the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The Aggies were tested in non-conference action with wins over Iowa State and Ohio State while suffering close losses to Houston, Florida Atlantic and Houston. The Aggies played some of their best basketball down the stretch, winning five straight games before losing to Florida in the semifinals.

Buzz Williams is in his fifth season at Texas A&M and has guided the Aggies to three straight 20-win seasons and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. Previously, he spent five seasons at Virginia Tech, six seasons at Marquette and one season at New Orleans.

The Aggies' strength is on the glass where Texas A&M ranks seventh nationally in rebounding margin (+8.9 per game) while leading the nation with 17 offensive boards per contest. Andersson Garcia, who began his career at Mississippi State, averages 9.4 rebounds per game to pace the Aggies, but it is a group effort with four players averaging at least five rebounds per contest. Garcia is a member of the SEC All-Defensive Team as he averages 1.3 steals per contest. Wade Taylor IV is the catalyst of the Aggie attack, as he tops the team in scoring (18.9 ppg), assists (4.0 apg) and steals (1.9 spg). Taylor ranks in the top 10 in the SEC in scoring (fourth), steals (fourth) and assists (ninth). Tyrece Radford is the Aggies' other double-figure scorer, as he averages 16.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Series History: Friday's NCAA opener will mark the 21st meeting between the two programs, but the first since the 2010-11 season. Nebraska leads the all-time series, 12-8, while 16 of the 20 matchups came between 1996-97 and 2010-11, when both programs were members of the Big 12 Conference. The last meeting between the two teams was a 57-48 win over No. 13 Texas A&M at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Jan. 29, 2011. In that game, Jorge Brian Diaz had 16 points to pace three Huskers in double figures, while Nebraska overcame a 31-24 halftime deficit by holding Texas A&M to 17 second-half points on 24 percent shooting.