It hasn't been perfect, but the Nebraska men's basketball team has shown progress in the early portion of a schedule designed to allow the Huskers to do just that.
Now NU will take its show on the road for the first time this season, with an opportunity to see just how real that progress is.
"This is definitely going to be a learning experience, good, bad or indifferent," freshman guard C.J. Wilcher said Tuesday. "Basketball is a game of runs, ups and downs, so we're going to learn some good things about ourselves, learn some bad things about ourselves. And then learn some areas we can improve on."
Tipoff against North Carolina State at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, is set for 6:15 p.m. Wednesday. The contest is a part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
After using its last four games to build confidence and put together the program's first four-game winning streak since 2018, Nebraska now sets its sights on improving an unsightly road record under Fred Hoiberg.
The Huskers are 3-25 away from Lincoln in Hoiberg's two-plus seasons, with two of the wins coming in the neutral-site Cayman Islands Classic in 2019.
NU's only true road win under Hoiberg came last season at Penn State, a 62-61 victory thanks to Teddy Allen's game-winner with 12 seconds left.
"Our guys are excited to get out and play in this event. And our big thing is just continue to build. I feel much better about where things are right now compared to where they were early in the season after the first couple games, and we just have to keep making progress," Hoiberg said. "I've been proud of our guys for buying into everything we've been talking about, and getting better in a lot of areas where we need to improve."
Nebraska (5-2) is coming off perhaps its most complete performance of the season, an 83-70 win over South Dakota in which the Huskers led by as many as 23 in the second half.
It's a good time for NU to be playing well, as Wednesday's game against the Wolfpack (5-1) is the first of five straight against power conference foes, with two of those games coming against Big Ten opponents Indiana and Michigan.
"We're all excited to play against some high-level competition. No disrespect to the team's we've played, but it's — you get into conference play, and you play some SEC, ACC teams, so we're excited for that," Wilcher said. "I just think you have to be a little more locked in. There's certain things you can't give up because the teams are getting better. So it's more being locked in and turning things up."
McPherson to redshirt: Plans can always change, Hoiberg said, but for right now the Huskers plan to redshirt freshman guard Quaran McPherson.
The 6-foot-3, 199-pounder, who joined the team in May, has yet to appear in a game this season, is part of a deep backcourt that has left minutes hard to come by.
"I could have put him in for a couple games, a couple minutes at the end, garbage minutes, but to me, it's more valuable, and in talking to him, more valuable, as of right now, at least, to save that year," Hoiberg said.
The Queens, New York, native, who spent last year at Link Year Prep in Missouri, will have four years of eligibility remaining starting next season.
Holiday break tickets on sale: Single-game men’s tickets for all Big Ten games and the holiday break games go on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nebraska announced Tuesday.
Tickets for all of Nebraska’s Big Ten matchups against Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Northwestern, Minnesota, Maryland and Iowa will be available, as well as additional tickets for the nonconference games against Kansas State and Kennesaw State, which fall during UNL’s holiday break.
Prices range from $7 to $25, with 100-level student seating available for select games. There is a limit of six tickets per game. To purchase tickets, visit Huskers.com/tickets or call the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office at 800-8-BIGRED during business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday).
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-473-7436. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.