Scouting Nebraska

News, notes and quotes on No. 3 KU's matchup against Nebraska tonight at the Bob Devaney Sports Center at 8:00, while wondering how the Jayhawks will respond in their Big 12 opener after coming off their first loss of the season at Tennessee on Sunday, 76-68. Tonight's game will be televised on ESPN2 with Ron Franklin and Bill Raftery calling the action.

KU (14-1) has won 18 straight conference openers dating back to the 1991-92 season.

SCOUTING NEBRASKA

Nebraska (12-4, 0-1 in Big 12) returns just one starter off last year's 18-13 team. The Cornhuskers' four losses have been at Saint  Louis and Creighton, to BYU in the Las Vegas Classic and at Texas A&M (64-53) in NU's last game on Jan. 9. The Cornhuskers have won three of their last four and seven of their last nine. One of their victories this season came at USC (51-48) on Nov. 29, the same team which crushed Tennessee, 77-55, on Dec. 19.

Nebraska is averaging 68.9 points per game while allowing 58.6, the fewest points in the Big 12. NU is shooting 46.6 percent from the field, 40.4 percent from three-point range, and 64.6 percent at the charity stripe. The Cornhuskers are holding foes to 41.1 percent field goal shooting and 31.8 percent from beyond the arc, while barely outrebounding opponents 32.8 to 32.0 (No. 1 in Big 12 in opponents' rebounding average).

NU has five players who've made at least 11 treys, and a sixth player who's hit nine three-pointers. The Cornhuskers also feature 12 players averaging at least 10 minutes per game, although they had just eight players who played meaningful minutes in their last game against the Aggies.

Nebraska is led by 6-8 freshman forward Christian Standhardinger, who sat out the first 15 games because of an NCAA ruling regarding the club team he played on in his native Germany. He sparkled in his college debut against Texas A&M, scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 22 minutes. Standhardinger led NU in its two exhibition contests with 17.5 points per game, shooting 11-of-18 from the field and 13-of-15 from the free-throw line, while also averaging 7.0 boards per game.

Senior guard Ryan Anderson is the other Cornhusker averaging in double figures at 11.3 points per game. He leads NU with 33 steals and also has a team-high 4.9 rebounds per game. Freshman center Jorge Brian Diaz is next in scoring (8.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, team-high 24 blocks), followed by sophomore guard Brandon Richardson (7.9 ppg), senior guard Sek Henry (7.8 ppg), freshman guard Eshaunte Jones (7.3 ppg, team-best 26 treys), junior guard Lance Jeter ( 6.9 ppg, team-high 67 assists), freshman forward Branden Ubel (5.8 ppg), junior forward Quincy Cole-Hankins (5.4 ppg), freshman guard Ray Gallegos (4.2 ppg) and sophomore guard Myles Holley (4.1 ppg).

Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler was pleased with his team's non-conference season, but anxious with Big 12 play underway.

"At the beginning of the year, if you had told me we would get 12 wins in preseason I would think that was unbelievable," Sadler said last week before the matchup with A&M. "Because we lost guys really before the season started with (Christopher) Niemann and (Toney) McCray, and that's big. So it's significant because of the number of injuries. Young guys have had to play so frequently and a lot of minutes, that's the biggest significance. The thing most concerning about that is they got a lot of minutes, but we're still having to play too many young players and they have never been in the Big 12.

"We only have three guys who have played (in conference). Mental toughness has got to get better and we're not close to where we need to be to compete in the league this year."

SELF ON NEBRASKA

KU coach Bill Self is quite impressed with Nebraska and newcomer Standhardinger.

"He is probably the best player we feel that Doc has had play for him since he's been there," Self said on his Hawk Talk radio show. "He's really good. He's got a motor. I asked coach Dooley (Joe, KU assistant) whom he reminds him of. He said the guy that plays for the Houston Rockets, (Luis) Scola. Kind of got the long floppy hair, just with the high, high motor."

"They had a chance to win that game (against A&M)," Self added. "They were ahead in the second half. We're going to obviously have to play a lot better than we did (against Tennessee)."

SERIES HISTORY

KU leads the all-time series with Nebraska 166-71. The series dates back to 1900. Kansas Is 61-44 in games played in Lincoln, including 17-16 in the Bob Devaney Center. KU has won 13 straight against NU and 22 of the last 23 dating back to the 1998-99 season. Nebraska's last victory came on Feb. 15, 2004 in Lincoln (74-55), Self's first season at KU.

REPLAYING TENNESSEE LOSS

Self was asked during a chat session on billself.com if he viewed the Tennessee loss "as a victory— off and on the court."

"I don't know if I can see the loss to Tennessee as a victory yet — on or off the court — in any facet because only time will tell if we become better through the loss," Self replied.  "If we learn from it, become tougher and harder and are able to have some deficiencies exposed (which we did) and address those, then I do think it could be a good loss. But only time will tell. I'm not a guy that believes that good things come from losses unless they do over time. And I certainly believe that every team we've had has had moments like this — just like the '08 team that lost three out of five."

THE COLLINS' WATCH

KU senior guard Sherron Collins ranks high in several school career categories. He's No. 13 in scoring (1,564 points), No. 6 in three-pointers made (192, eight shy of tying Terry Brown), No. 4 in three-point field goal attempts (503), No. 16 in three-point field goal percentage (.382), No. 10 in assists (454) and No. 22 in steals (127).

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