Kansas (21-5, 10-1 Big 12) and the Cornhuskers (16-8, 6-5) tipoff at 3 p.m.
"Nebraska is a team that gave us fits when we played them there, and we
were fortunate to win," Self said on his weekly Hawk Talk radio show.
"Hopefully, we'll perform better. Doc (coach Sadler) has done a
fabulous job with that group."
Nebraska, which has won four of its last five games, indeed gave KU a
huge test in Lincoln on Jan. 28. KU won 68-62, but it was never easy.
Kansas didn't take its second lead until 6:37 left in the game at
51-50. After KU looked poised for victory, NU hit back-to-back
three-pointers to cut KU's lead to 63-62 with over a minute left.
Sherron Collins then made 4 of 4 free throws in the last 30 seconds to
ice the win.
Nebraska's defense gave KU problems all night, forcing 21 turnovers and
limiting star big man Cole Aldrich to just eight points on five shot
attempts. NU, the nation's No. 9 scoring defense team
(Nebraska allows just 58.2 ppg, No. 1 in Big 12), almost upset KU
despite shooting just 40 percent from the field and 29.2 percent beyond
The Huskers are on a roll and coming off a 46-41 victory over Colorado
on Wednesday in Lincoln. Senior guard Ade Dagunduro led the Huskers
with 18 points and six rebounds. He also paced NU in the last meeting
against Kansas with a game-high 24 points.
Nebraska has held each of its last six foes to 70 points or less.
Overall, 22 of 24 opponents have scored 70 or fewer points with 13 foes
under 60 points.
Dagunduro leads Nebraska at 12 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He's
also shooting a team-high 53.4 percent from the field. Senior guard
Steve Harley is the other Husker in double digits at 10.7 points per
game. He leads NU with 41 steals and ranks third on the team with 50
Junior guard Sek Henry is next in scoring at 8.6 points per game,
followed by sophomore guard Cookie Miller (7.3 ppg and team-high 84
assists), junior guard Ryan Anderson (6.2 ppg), freshman guard Toney McCray (5.8 ppg and team-high 15 blocks), freshman guard Brandon Richardson (4.3 ppg) and starting junior forward Chris Balham (2.2 ppg,
Nebraska is quite small with a guard-dominated lineup and the tallest
starter Balham at 6-8. (He averages just 10.8 minutes per game.)
However, the Huskers are extremely quick, trap the post, and create
havoc on defense.
"They are a team that is always going to play hard and it is going to
be how we handle their post traps," Self said after KU beat Iowa State,
72-55, at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday.
"Tonight we didn't handle it well at all as Cole had five
turnovers. We are going to practice more on this and get better at it.
They are small and scrappy."
Freshman forward Marcus Morris knows Nebraska will be a tough challenge.
"They fight for extra possessions," Morris said. "They're small,
they're quick. Sometimes, it's kind of hard to guard them. Last time, I
had to guard a guard, a 6-3 guy and chasing him around. That was kind
of hard for me. But whatever makes our team win, that's all I'm worried
Self wasn't happy with his team's energy Wednesday during their
shootaround before the ISU game and made them run, something he's
rarely done at Kansas on game day. KU, though, came out tough against
the Cyclones with a 16-2 lead and were up by 17 (30-13) before Iowa
State rallied and got within five (43-38) with 12:33 remaining. The
Jayhawks then pulled away behind 22 points each from Aldrich and junior
point guard Sherron Collins.
"I think our guys weren't as focused," Self said. "I think we'll get on
them hard enough that they'll be more excited to play on Saturday
Certainly, Nebraska will play us tough, no doubt about that."
Morris said the Jayhawks won't be thinking ahead to Oklahoma on ESPN
"Our focus is to win the Big 12. That's what we're trying to do, but we
can never skip over an opponent because anybody is capable of getting
beat," Morris said.
Of course, KU has to beat Nebraska Saturday in order to keep pace with
Oklahoma for the Big 12 Championship race. OU plays at Texas Saturday
"They gave us everything we wanted in Lincoln," Self said of
Nebraska. "Monday's game against Oklahoma isn't a big game
unless we take care of business on Saturday."
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