Nebraska coach Tim Miles has one of the best benches in all of college basketball, one fans across the country would enjoy watching in the NCAA tournament this year.
But let's not judge the Cornhuskers' "Bench Mob" solely on their playing talent. In fact, it's their acting talent in elaborate celebrations that makes the benchwarmers stand out.
Recently, their timely themes included holding up "10" signs as if they were dunk contest judges for NBA All-Star weekend. The bobsled routine to tie into the Winter Olympics was hilarious and genius.
And while videos of its bench routines pick up millions of views on social media, Nebraska also passes the eye test when it comes to an NCAA tournament team. The Cornhuskers are deep. They have a Big Ten player of the year candidate in James Palmer Jr. They have toughness and experience.
But they still are on the outside looking in.
The Big Ten has four teams seemingly locked for March Madness bids: Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan (last time only four Big Ten teams went dancing was 2008). Nebraska is the lone bubble team with realistic hopes, but it has work to do based on current projections from ESPN's Joe Lunardi and CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm.
Like many bubble teams, the Cornhuskers are struggling to find résumé-building victories. This season, the NCAA tournament selection committee changed the lingo and how it evaluates quality wins.
The new evaluation process places even more value on quality wins in true road games and neutral courts. Wins against top-50 RPI teams are still good, but it's more complicated than that now.
Get familiar with the term "quadrant system." There are four quadrants that include how wins against all 351 Division I basketball teams are rated.
Quadrant 1 consists of the sexy wins. That's home-court victories against top-30 RPI opponents, neutral wins against top-50 RPI opponents and road wins against top-75 RPI teams. Quadrant 2 consists of home wins vs. 31-75, neutral vs. 51-100 and away vs. 76-135. Quadrant 3 is home vs. 76-160, neutral vs. 101-200 and away vs. 136-240. Quadrant 4 is home 161-plus, neutral 201-plus and away 241-plus.
What does that mean for Nebraska? The Cornhuskers, who are trying to make the Big Dance for the first time since 2014, are 1-5 in games that could have become Quadrant 1 victories. The lone win was against Michigan. The Huskers are 60th in RPI and 124th in strength of schedule.
Miles' team could finish 22-9 and 13-5 in the Big Ten after beating Penn State to end the regular season. But it still wouldn't feel safely in. And it won't be able to pick up another Quadrant 1 win until playing in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals after a double bye.
One thing is for sure: If Nebraska doesn't make the NCAAs this year, it would be the most entertaining team in the NIT — on the court and on the bench.
Marcus Fuller covers
for the Star Tribune.