Despite having a better record than Oklahoma State by 1 win, Nebraska was one of the last teams into the NCAA Tournament. A poor Big 10 Tournament put the Cornhuskers squarely on the bubble despite their record which included winning the last 6 regular season games. Unfortunately Nebraska's schedule was not the greatest and the team did not have enough statement wins to avoid having to sweat out Selection Sunday.
Overall Record: 37-20
Conference Record: 16-8
The Nebraska offense is ok, and nothing really seems to stand out. The team is 94th in the country in batting average at .283, not anything spectacular. They are also 95th in the country in slugging percentage at .411. Nebraska can certainly do some damage when batting, especially Scott Schreiber who has 16 home runs this season. The good news for Clemson is that the team struggles to get on base in general. They rank 137th in the NCAA for OBP at .362. As expected of a team that has difficulty putting men on base, Nebraska doesn't exactly drive in a lot of runs. The team has 324 RBIs in 57 games, good to be 110th in the NCAA.
As mentioned before Scott Schreiber is one of Nebraska's dangerous hitters with 16 HRs. He's hitting .320 and has 55 RBIs. Jake Myers is also a deadly hitter for Nebraska with a .321 average and an OBP of .397. He is also slugging .457 and seems to be the guy that sets the table for the rest of the lineup. The final guy to keep an eye on at the plate is Ben Miller. He's hitting .324 with a slugging percentage of .466 and an OBP of .389. Miller is alsogood at driving in runs with 46 RBIs this year
Pitching is definitely better for Nebraska. the team has a 3.84 ERA, good enough for 65th in the country. Jake Meyers, who is pretty good at the whole hitting thing, has 8 starts for Nebraska and is 6-1 with a 1.38 ERA. He only pitched 45 innings this year but held opponents to a .196 average. Even though he doesn't seem to be one of Nebraska's main starters he will likely see some time on the mound this weekend. Matt Waldron and Derek Burkamper.
Waldron is 7-2 with a 2.39 ERA across 10 starts. He's struck out 52 while only walking 13 this year. That said opponents are hitting .245 against him this year and that could give Clemson an opening if he's on the mound against them this weekend. Burkamper is 6-3 with a 3.09 ERA in 12 starts this year. His strikeout numbers are as good as Waldron with 55, but he walks hitters a lot more. He has given up 39 walks this year. With that many free passes Clemson could do some real damage against him with a key hit or two, but that will be hard with opposing hitters batting .219 against Burkamper.
This may be the highlight of Nebraska's team. The outfield is exceptional on defense and has spent all season stealing runs from opposing teams, especially Ryan Boldt the starting CF. The team is 34th in the country with a .975 fielding percentage, certainly much better than anything Clemson can do. Much like Oklahoma State there will not be a lot of free runs for Clemson if they face off against the Cornhuskers over the weekend. Runs will have to be earned.The one weakness in Nebraska's defense is at 3B. The team has no natural third baseman and that could create problems for Nebraska this weekend.
Nebraska seems to be fairly seeded as the 3 seed in this Regional. There is some potential that the Cornhuskers could steal a game, especially if they play Western Carolina in the losers bracket, but it is hard to see them advancing out of the Regional. I expect them to fall in their 3rd game of the Regional to either Clemson or Oklahoma State.