Nebraska-Kansas Preview

Kansas had a surprisingly hard time winning its first game since

regaining the nation’s No. 1 ranking. It can only hope the next

contest is as easy as it might seem.

Coming off a pair of overtime road victories, the Jayhawks

return home looking to continue their dominance at Allen Fieldhouse

with a 15th consecutive victory over Nebraska in Saturday’s Big 12

matchup.

A thrilling 81-79 overtime win at then-No. 11 Kansas State last

Saturday helped vault Kansas (21-1, 7-0) back to the top of the AP

poll – a spot it owned for the first eight weeks of the season

before losing at Tennessee on Jan. 10.

While the Jayhawks were expected to be tested by their

archrivals, they likely didn’t expect to need overtime Wednesday to

win 72-66 over a Colorado team that has two league victories.

Whether it was fatigue or a hangover from their hard-fought win

over Kansas State, the Jayhawks were held below 45 percent from the

field for just the sixth time all season and missed 20 free

throws.

“We didn’t play our best by any stretch, but if you go 18 of 38

from the line and your starting (perimeter players go) 8 of 26 from

the field and you somehow get a win, then some guys had to make

some plays,” coach Bill Self said. “We’ll look back on this as a

good win.”

Cole Aldrich had 16 points with 14 rebounds, while fellow

preseason All-American Sherron Collins scored 16 and forward Marcus

Morris added 15 as the Jayhawks won their seventh in a row.

Though Kansas held the lowly Buffaloes to 37.5 percent shooting

and outscored them 12-6 in overtime, the Jayhawks might look at

that their latest effort as a wake-up call.

“We have got to be ready,” guard Tyrel Reed said. “We have to

stay focused and keep getting better.”

The Jayhawks should be able to do that against last-place

Nebraska (13-9, 1-6), which hasn’t beaten Kansas since Feb. 15,

2004. The Cornhuskers also have lost 10 in a row at Allen

Fieldhouse, dating to Feb. 10, 1999, and the Jayhawks are looking

to extend the nation’s longest home winning streak to 55 games.

Nebraska has shot 36.5 percent and averaged 57.1 points during

its 14-game skid in the series.

Collins had 22 points and Morris added 19 as the Jayhawks shot

57.8 percent in an 84-72 win at Nebraska on Jan. 13.

The hero of the Kansas State game, overcoming back spasms to hit

a key basket late in overtime, Collins is averaging a team-leading

15.5 points this season and 20.3 in his last three games against

the Cornhuskers.

Nebraska’s Brandon Richardson scored 18 points and Jorge Brian

Diaz added 15 against Kansas last month. Diaz had a team-leading 13

in the Cornhuskers’ 76-57 home loss to No. 10 Kansas State on

Tuesday.

Though Nebraska allows a Big 12-low 61.0 points per contest,

it’s last in the league in scoring at 66.4 per game.

The Cornhuskers are in the midst of a daunting stretch that

continues with a home game versus No. 20 Baylor on Wednesday, then

road contests against No. 9 Texas (Feb. 13) and Kansas State (Feb.

17).

“I know the team believes we can win,” Diaz said. “We’ve just

got to keep looking forward.”

Nebraska has lost five straight road games against ranked

opponents since winning 65-59 at then-No. 22 Texas A&M on Feb.

23, 2008.