Nebraska-Kansas Preview

Being among the four remaining unbeaten Division I teams should
give Kansas a strong case to be No. 1 in the AP poll. The Jayhawks,
however, aren’t buying into the hype just yet, and they’re aware of
the challenge posed by Nebraska.

The third-ranked Jayhawks look to extend the longest active home
winning streak in the country by continuing their dominance of the
Cornhuskers on Saturday.

Kansas (16-0, 1-0 Big 12) is off to its best start since winning
the first 20 games in 2007-08 en route to a national title. The
Jayhawks are outscoring opponents by an average of 23.4 points,
joining No. 2 Ohio State, fourth-ranked Syracuse and No. 6 San
Diego State as the remaining unbeaten teams.

“I don’t think that really means anything to them, as far as
‘one of four,’ ‘one of three,’ or trying to be the last one,” coach
Bill Self said. “I think the bottom line is they know we need to
get better.”

The Jayhawks and Buckeyes – hosting Penn State on Saturday –
might be vying for No. 1 in next week’s poll, as top-ranked Duke
fell at Florida State on Wednesday.

Kansas has won 33 of the last 36 meetings with Nebraska (13-3,
1-1), including 15 in a row by an average of nearly 20 points. The
Jayhawks have an 11-game winning streak against the Cornhuskers at
Allen Fieldhouse, where they have won a team-record 68
straight.

Kansas avoided a scare versus Nebraska in the last meeting there
Feb. 6 before pulling out a 75-64 win.

“In our league, anybody can have anybody on any night,” Self
said. “Last year Nebraska went 2-14 in the league, we went 15-1,
and they’re up by four with 13 minutes left in our building. That’s
just the way conference play goes.”

This matchup could pose an even stiffer test with the
Cornhuskers off to their best start since going 14-3 in 1994-95.
They’ve used stifling defensive play, leading the nation by
limiting opponents to 34.5 percent shooting while allowing a
conference-low 55.0 points per game.

“They’ve always guarded,” Self said. “The biggest thing is when
other teams don’t score then you’re always in the game. Especially
away from home.”

Marcus Morris could provide the difference for Kansas after
scoring a career-high 33 points with 13 rebounds in an 84-79 win at
Iowa State on Wednesday. The junior forward had 20 points and 10
boards in the most recent meeting with Nebraska.

Morris leads the Jayhawks with an average of 16.8 points and his
6.8 rebounds per game rank second behind his twin brother Markieff
Morris’ 8.8.

Markieff Morris is also coming off a strong performance against
the Cyclones, getting 17 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.

The Cornhuskers have lost 10 in a row to ranked opponents after
falling 77-69 at No. 15 Missouri on Wednesday, ending their 11-game
winning streak.

“You ain’t going to beat anyone in this league letting the ball
in the lane 47 times,” coach Doc Sadler said. “We’re lucky to be as
close as we were.”

Some improvement from Jorge Brian Diaz, the team leader with an
average of 10.4 points, could help. The sophomore center totaled 14
points and shot 5 for 18 over the last two games.

He’s made 16 of 27 shots and scored 35 points in two meetings
with Kansas.