Jayhawks looking to snap out of slump at Nebraska
LINCOLN, Neb. — It isn’t often Kansas takes the floor having lost its last two games.
That’s the situation the No. 13-ranked Jayhawks find themselves in heading into their first true road game of the season Saturday night at Nebraska. The matchup at Pinnacle Bank Arena will be Kansas’ first true road game of the season.
Only twice in 15 seasons has a Bill Self-coached team had to deal with a three game-losing streak. Kansas last was in this predicament in 2005-06, and the Jayhawks got themselves right with a 96-54 rout of Nebraska in Lawrence, Kan.
It would take a Herculean effort for the Cornhuskers (7-4) to extend that losing streak. That it’s a home game for Nebraska will help; the game already is sold out for the latest installment of a series that was first played in 1900.
The Huskers do own a victory over then-No. 14 Minnesota this season, but they followed that up with a 10-point loss at in-state rival Creighton.
This is Nebraska’s first game since that loss to the Bluejays and the Huskers are coming off finals week, but they have been able to have everyone on hand for practices. Nebraska guard Glynn Watson Jr. said keeping the high-scoring Jayhawks offense in check will be a priority.
“They’re a good 3-point shooting team, they play four guards, so we just have to make sure we guard and help each other out,” Watson said. “Any of them are capable of scoring 20 points a game, so we have to make it tough for them.”
Kansas (7-2) has five players averaging in double figures, led by junior Lagerald Vick and his 18.7 points per game. Vick is the only player in the Big 12 Conference to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding.
Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike leads all Division I players in field goal percentage (.784). Through nine games Azubuike is 58 for 74, including 35 dunks.
One new player the Huskers will have to stop is Arizona State transfer Sam Cunliffe. He is now available that the first semester in Lawrence is over, and he will be the eighth scholarship player on the Jayhawks’ roster.
Self told the Kansas City Star that fans should temper their expectations for Cunliffe’s Kansas debut.
“I love Sam and want him to contribute,” Self said. “Anybody who believes now he can step in and be more productive than the five guards we have, I think (that) would be a little tough for him.
“He’s going to go through some stuff to get comfortable. I’m believing he’ll be a nice asset for us. I’m hopeful he can bring an element of toughness to our team.”