Tim Miles

Nebraska freshman Tai Webster still waiting to hear from NCAA Eligibility Center

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The summer months for incoming freshmen can be a tense period for some, especially if they’ve yet to hear from the NCAA Eligibility Center about their status for the upcoming season.

A ruling in the affirmative means (obviously) that they’re cleared and ready to take the floor for their new school, with the hope of making an immediate impact. But to be declared a partial (you can practice and receive a scholarship, but can’t play in games) or non-qualifier (you can’t receive a scholarship or join the program) means that their college career hits a speed bump for that freshman campaign.

Nebraska freshman guard Tai Webster has made the long voyage from his native New Zealand to Lincoln, with the expectation that he’ll begin taking summer school classes on Monday. Expected to be an impact newcomer for Tim Miles’ squad, Webster averaged 18.5 points and 4.4 assists per game for the Waikato Pistons last season.

But, Webster has yet to be cleared to play this season according to Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald.

Neither [summer school] enrollment nor class attendance in college affects the NCAA certification process, which focuses on initial eligibility factors such as core high school courses and standardized test scores.

A denial of NCAA certification for 2013-14 would create the possibility of time at a prep school or delayed full-time college enrollment.

The Huskers don’t lack for experience in the backcourt, with senior Ray Gallegos (12.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and sophomores Benny Parker (2.7 ppg, 2.1 apg) and Shavon Shields (8.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg) all being members of the rotation last season.

But Nebraska does have to account for the loss of their leader in both scoring and assists, Dylan Talley (13.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.5 apg).

With Talley leading the way the Huskers ranked 30th nationally in turnover percentage, handing the ball over on just 17.2% of their possessions (16.1% in conference games, 2nd in the Big Ten), so this is a notable loss to say the least. The return of the aforementioned perimeter contributors certainly helps, and the 6-3 Webster is expected to figure prominently in the discussion as well.

It certainly helps Webster in regards to both his physical development and getting used to Miles’ system that he’s on campus now, but those positive words from the NCAA Eligibility Center can’t come soon enough.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.

 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POWER RANKINGS: Buddy Hield isn’t going anywhere

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket as LSU guard Antonio Blakeney (2) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
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It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.

And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.

The rest of the top 10?

They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: