NU basketball Opening Night, 9.27

Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg acknowledges the cheers of the crowd on Friday during NU basketball's Opening Night festivities at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

If it goes like Fred Hoiberg hopes, Nebraska's exhibition against Doane on Wednesday night will go a lot like the rest of the season. 

Not necessarily in terms of wins or losses (though the coach probably wouldn't mind a win Wednesday followed by several more).

But in the process of building a program, Hoiberg will be looking for certain benchmarks to show that his roster is making progress. NU will tip off against the Tigers at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

"I want to see us go out there, like I talk to our team about every day, just go out there and compete at the highest level. Leave everything they’ve got on the floor," Hoiberg said Monday. "For us, every time we step on the floor is an opportunity to learn, and the opportunity to hopefully get better."

The Huskers, of course, are essentially starting from scratch — 11 new scholarship players and three new walk-ons make up the roster, and Wednesday's starting lineup against the Tigers will likely be comprised of five players who didn't see the floor in a Nebraska uniform last season. 

And other than a grainy video feed from Italy and a glorified dunk contest at Opening Night, this will be Nebraska fans' first chance to see the Huskers against a real opponent. NAIA Division II Doane (0-3) comes in having already played three games, including a pair of losses at an event in the Virgin Islands.

"It's the first time playing in front of the fans, which will be a great experience for our guys in a game setting against another opponent," Hoiberg said. "So it’s all part of the process, as far as where we are, going through the preseason with the intersquad scrimmages, the exhibition game, now we get a chance to go out and play against another team in our home building, and then prepare for the opener next Tuesday."

While that Nov. 5 game against UC Riverside is the first of the ones that will count, Wednesday marks another chance for NU's players go against someone other than themselves.

"What have we had 38, 40 days of practice, plus the 10 practices we had leading into the Italian trip?" Hoiberg said. "So playing against your own guys, everybody knows what you’re running. Now you get against another opponent, like we had on Saturday (in a closed scrimmage against Wichita State), and they played us a completely different way."

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The game will also match a pair of former Minnesota Timberwolves employees.

While Hoiberg was assistant general manager with the NBA franchise in 2007, he was part of a group that hired current Doane coach Ian McKeithen as a basketball operations intern for the team.

"He's a great person. I know know he's going to do really good things at Doane," Hoiberg said. "He worked our camp this summer and it was good to reconnect with him. He was a really, really hard worker when we hired him with the Timberwolves."

Probable starters

Hoiberg said Monday he had yet to settle on a starting lineup for Wednesday's game. In Nebraska's game notes, Cam Mack, Dachon Burke, Jervay Green, Haanif Cheatham and Yvan Ouedraogo were listed as probable starters.

Limited nonconference tickets on sale

Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office announced Tuesday morning that a limited number of men’s basketball single-game tickets for nonconference games will go on sale on Wednesday at 10 a.m. The tickets will go on sale by visiting Huskers.com/tickets or calling the NU Athletic Ticket Office at 800-8-BIGRED.

The tickets are primarily from opponents and unused internal needs for games. Ticket prices range from $7 to $20, depending on seat level.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


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