LINCOLN — In conference play, Nebraska is used to highly ranked men's basketball teams coming to town.
In the nonconference, not so much. In fact, it's quite rare.
The Huskers have hosted Top 15 nonconference foes just four times in the past 43 years — No. 14 Michigan State in 1994, No. 5 Michigan State in 1990, No. 15 Arkansas in 1983 and No. 11 Arkansas in 1981.
That total could grow on Dec. 4 when NU takes on Miami (Fla.) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The ACC-champion Hurricanes (29-7) finished No. 10 in both polls after losing in the NCAA tourney's Sweet 16 to Marquette. They were ranked as high as No. 2 on Feb. 18, garnering 20 first-place votes.
“This is a great home game,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said Wednesday. “That's the kind of marquee opponent we love to have in here.”
All five Miami starters this season were seniors or are leaving early for the NBA. But Jim Larranaga, the 2013 national coach of year, is expected to rebuild quickly.
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The Final Four veteran coach signed a Parade All-America guard who averaged 36 points a game and a consensus Top 100 swingman. He also attracted Kansas State transfer point guard Angel Rodriguez. The second-team All-Big 12 pick is seeking a hardship ruling to play now.
“Jim Larranaga is a remarkable coach,” Miles said. “They are going to be an excellent team. If they get Angel Rodriguez eligible immediately, look out.”
Miles declined to comment on who Nebraska will play first at Pinnacle Bank Arena, saying contracts are still under review. Miles said he basically has control of his schedule.
As for hiring a new assistant coach or adding a recruit, Miles said there is no news.
Nebraska hosted 6-foot-9 Mikael Herbert from Finland last week, but sources said there was no offer. Internet reports that NU was involved with 6-10 junior college center Joseph Uchebo were squashed within 24 hours when he signed with Pittsburgh.
Paul Jesperson, who is leaving Virginia after starting 33 of 35 games as a sophomore, has ties to Miles. While at Colorado State, Miles tried to recruit the 6-6, 197-pounder from Merrill, Wis.
But Jesperson, who averaged 4.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 26 minutes a game, isn't a lock to get an offer from Nebraska because of the logjam of players at his position. The Huskers have six wings or shooting guards.
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