Tim Miles pleased with return of Saturday home games in Big Ten schedule, but tough stretches await Huskers

Tim Miles pleased with return of Saturday home games in Big Ten schedule, but tough stretches await Huskers
World-Herald News Service

LINCOLN — What a surprise.

Nebraska gets to play a Big Ten home game on a Saturday.

Last season, the Huskers never played a home league game on the most traditional day for college sports. For 2017-18, Pinnacle Bank Arena will be used on two Saturdays: Jan. 27 against Iowa and Feb. 10 against Rutgers.

“That’s something I took note of,” coach Tim Miles said Wednesday.

The sixth-year coach also noticed a four-game stretch from Dec. 3 through 16.

All Big Ten teams will play two league games in early December because the schedule has been pushed up one week so the league tourney could be played in New York at Madison Square Garden starting Feb. 28.

Nebraska will play Dec. 3 (Sunday) at Michigan State, then host Minnesota on Dec. 5 (Tuesday).

NU’s next two nonconference games are at Creighton on Dec. 9 and hosting Kansas on Dec. 16. Those four combined to win 100 games (20, 24, 25 and 31) last year. Michigan State and Kansas are expected preseason top-five picks.

Once Big Ten play resumes in January, the Huskers have three road games in 11 days (Northwestern, Purdue, Penn State) around a Jan. 9 home game with Wisconsin.

“Those are two big challenges in the schedule when we’re going to need to be at our best,” Miles said.

If Nebraska can hang on until mid-February, it wraps up the regular season with four of its final five at home.

NU also will have three games on Mondays and one on a Friday. This season, for the first time in Big Ten history, games are scheduled for every day of the week.

“This is a compressed schedule,” league TV liaison Mark Rudner said Wednesday. “We took 112 games and fit them into a 55-day period.”

Miles said Nebraska still awaits an answer on the eligibility appeal of junior forward Isaac Copeland.

The 6-foot-9 transfer from Georgetown currently can’t play until Dec. 16 (Kansas) because he was a midyear transfer. But his injury status last season for the first semester — he had back surgery at Nebraska in February — has led to the appeal for his season to begin in November.

Miles also has yet to fill two openings on his staff: the player development spot held by Ali Farokhmanesh, who left to become a full-time assistant at Drake; and video coordinator, held by Gregory Eaton, who moved into NU’s basketball operations job.

Check out the Huskers’ complete 2017-18 schedule below:

Nov. 11: Eastern Illinois

Nov. 13: North Texas

Nov. 16: at St. John’s

Nov. 19: North Dakota

Advocare Invitational (Orlando, Fla.)

» Nov. 23: UCF

» Nov. 24: West Virginia or Marist

» Nov. 26: TBA

Nov. 29: Boston College

Dec. 3: at Michigan State

Dec. 5: Minnesota

Dec. 9: at Creighton

Dec. 16: Kansas

Dec. 20: Texas-San Antonio

Dec. 22: Delaware State

Dec. 29: Stetson

Jan. 2: at Northwestern

Jan. 6: at Purdue

Jan. 9: Wisconsin

Jan. 12: at Penn State

Jan. 15: Illinois

Jan. 18: Michigan

Jan. 22: at Ohio State

Jan. 24: at Rutgers

Jan. 27: Iowa

Jan. 29: at Wisconsin

Feb. 6: at Minnesota

Feb. 10: Rutgers

Feb. 13: Maryland

Feb. 17: at Illinois

Feb. 20: Indiana

Feb. 25: Penn State

Big Ten tournament

Feb. 28-March 4

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