Nebraska’s first Big Ten Conference men’s basketball season at Pinnacle Bank Arena is full of premier opponents but lacking in premier dates.
The Huskers have only one Saturday home conference game — March 1 against Northwestern, at 4 p.m.
The lack of Saturday home games on the Big Ten Conference schedule, released Wednesday, isn't because of other events scheduled at the arena.
Marc Boehm, an executive associate athletic director, said Nebraska has first priority for choosing dates at the arena, and submitted only one Saturday blackout date (unable to host) to the Big Ten office for conference games. That was March 8, the weekend of the Nebraska girls state high school basketball tournament.
Nebraska, however, did get its wish for fewer 8 p.m. home games (two this year, compared with four last season) and a home game to end the conference season — Sunday, March 9, against Wisconsin. That ends a streak of five seasons in which the Huskers finished conference play with a road game, then traveled again for the conference tournament.
Nebraska opens Big Ten play Dec. 31 at Iowa — the Huskers’ only scheduled game against the Hawkeyes — and plays Jan. 4 at Ohio State.
Michigan, last year’s the NCAA Tournament runner-up, is Nebraska’s first Big Ten opponent at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Wolverines visit Lincoln on Thursday, Jan. 9, for an 8 p.m. game that will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2.
Nebraska has three Sunday home games — Jan. 26 against Minnesota, Feb. 23 against Purdue and March 9 against Wisconsin — and has a rare home Monday night game Jan. 20 against Ohio State.
ESPNU will televise Nebraska’s four games against Northwestern and Penn State. Television arrangements for the rest of the Huskers’ Big Ten games, except for the home Michigan game, are yet to be determined.
In nonconference play, Nebraska announced its Dec. 28 game at Cincinnati will start at 3 p.m. and be televised on ESPN2.
Nebraska's Big Ten schedule:
Dec. 31, at Iowa, 6 p.m.; Jan. 4, at Ohio State, 11 a.m.; Jan. 9, Michigan, 8 p.m. (ESPN or ESPN2); Jan. 12, at Purdue, 11 a.m. or 3:30 p.m.; Jan. 20, Ohio State, 6 p.m.; Jan. 23, at Penn State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU); Jan. 26, Minnesota, 5 p.m.; Jan. 30, Indiana, 7:15 p.m.; Feb. 5, at Michigan, 5:30 p.m.; Feb. 8, at Northwestern, noon (ESPNU); Feb. 12, Illinois, 8 p.m.; Feb. 16, at Michigan State, 2 p.m.; Feb. 20, Penn State, 6 p.m. (ESPNU); Feb. 23, Purdue, 11 a.m. or 3 p.m.; Feb. 26, at Illinois, 8 p.m.; March 1, Northwestern, 4 p.m. (ESPNU); March 5, at Indiana, 6 p.m.; March 9, Wisconsin, 4:15 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.