After winning 13 of its first 15 games, including 11 straight, Nebraska has now lost four of its last six games with three of the four losses coming by eight points or less. The Huskers (15-6, 3-4 in Big 12), who boast a 14-0 record at home this season, are coming off a 69-53 loss at K-State on Wednesday.
NU has a balanced offensive attack with six players averaging at least 6.2 points per game. Senior guard Lance Jeter leads the team in scoring at 10.9 points per game, followed by senior center Jorge Brian Diaz (10.5 ppg), junior guard Toney McCray (7.0 ppg), junior guard Caleb Walker (6.3 ppg, team-high 4.8 rpg), junior center Andre Almeida (6.2 ppg), junior guard Brandon Richardson (6.2 ppg), and sophomore forward Brandon Ubel (5.6 ppg).
Nebraska averages 68 points per game and allows just 57.1. The Huskers are shooting 47.5 percent from the field, 29.8 percent from three-point range, and 71.1 percent at the free-throw line. They're holding opponents to 36.8 percent shooting and 30.2 percent from beyond the arc, while outrebounding foes 36.2 to 32.2 boards per game.
LAST TIME OUT
KU survived a huge scare by beating Nebraska, 63-60, in Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 15. The Huskers led 30-25 at halftime (the Jayhawks' only halftime deficit this season) before KU rallied for the victory. Junior forward Marcus Morris and senior guard Tyrel Reed led KU with 16 points each. NU, which was paced by Jeter with 13 points, outrebounded KU, 43-32.
The Jayhawks shot just 33.3 percent in the first half.
"I thought they played great defensively against us," Reed said. "It was an extremely tough game here in the fieldhouse. They weren't rattled by our fans."
KU coach Bill Self expects a huge test in Lincoln from a hungry Huskers' team.
"I think they probably think they can beat us," Self said. "They came here believing they could beat us, and came very, very close to doing so. There's been times where we've went up there where we had such a good team that maybe deep down (they thought) could they really beat us after we already handled them easily here or whatever the case would be.
"Their players should be as confident as they've ever been playing us, and our players have to respect that. They're playing to get an NCAA tournament bid. They got a lot on the line. Of course, we do as well.
"I imagine it will be a great crowd," Self added. "It should be a fun atmosphere. They definitely got our attention. We were fortunate to win the first time. We know this will be probably as hard a game as we've played all year."
The Jayhawks are ready.
"I'm definitely excited," Marcus Morris said. "They haven't lost (at home) yet this year. I like playing road games like that where they think they aren't going to lose and I think we are going to win. I'm definitely excited to see the matchup to see how they approach it."
Self is impressed with Jeter and NU's balanced attack.
"It seems like to me as he goes, so go the Huskers," Self said. "They don't score a lot of points as far as having one guy going out and getting 25. They have nights where they're balanced and have guys scoring more than eight. It's kind of like what we had in 2008 (national championship season) where our leading scorer averaged 13 and it could be a different guy each night."
But Jeter has indeed been a big difference maker this season.
"I certainly think that he's a huge key to their team," Self said. "He's much improved over last year."
Reed has been nursing a sore left foot (bone bruise) for about a month.
"I've been trying to get as much rest as I can on it," Reed said. "I'll probably be wearing a boot around when I'm not playing to try to take some pressure off of it. When you're out there you have to perform no matter what ailment you have. I can't let it affect me. It's kind of a weird injury. They don't really know what to do for it. What's probably going to help it most is rest, and you can't rest this time of year. That's perfectly fine with me. I want to be out there with the guys, so I'll just push through it and keep playing."