Huskers vs. Kansas Jayhawks Report Card
Huskers lose big 92-59. Box Score
It's becoming a broken record with this team. They cannot shoot from 3-point range like they did last year and getting to 60 points is always a struggle. If teams watch any tape of the Huskers, they will know that pressing Nebraska is a key to success. With the exception of Jake Muhleisen, there is not one ballhandler good enough to break a decent press. Case in point: Jake goes down with a back injury, Kansas starts to press Nate Johnson, Nate has to call 2 timeouts in the first half to avoid turnovers, but then manages to commit 8 in the game. This is obviously a very poor job of breaking the press. Countless bad passes and the inability to break a simple two-man trap were the downfall in this game offensively. The one bright spot was the decent shooting by Brian Conklin noted below.
Best: Conklin – 5-8 FG, 2-4 3-point for 12 points. Finally, a solid game from Conk in just 19 minutes of action. He had two solid offensive putbacks down low and drained two 3's after a very long dry spell from deep. Just need him to click with everybody else. Is that too much to ask? Special mention to "The Alliance Animal" Tony Wilbrand. He had two very nice baseline moves to score four points. He's still not a viable scoring threat, but it was a nice game anyway.
Worst: Johnson – 3-8 FG, 0-1 3-point for 12 points. Yes, Nate did score 12 points, but he had 8 turnovers and that is just unacceptable. These are the games he needs to really step up and drop 20 or more. Andrew Drevo also struggled to even get off some shots and finished with just 7 points.
The defense was actually solid through the first ten minutes of the game, but mainly because the Jayhawk starters were ice cold from outside the lane. Nick Collison began the game 0-for-5 from the floor, but that quickly changed as the tempo picked up and the more talented ‘Hawks lit up the Huskers. Just like last year, Nebraska was overmatched by Kansas and that was the reason for the 33-point drubbing.
Best: Brennon Clemmons – BC had two steals and played some very aggressive and effective defensive throughout his 11 minutes on the floor. It looks like the dislocated toes from over a month ago are no longer bothering him. He will play a vital role the rest of the season for this team.
Worst: Wilbrand – While his offensive production was surprising, his defensive struggles were far from that. He simply should not be on the floor against Kansas…ever! His 4 fouls in 9 minutes showed that.
The Jayhawks, like every other aspect of the game, manhandled the Huskers on the boards, 46-34. KU had numerous second chance opportunities due to the 21, yes 21, offensive rebounds they pulled down. Kansas simply jumped over Nebraska on multiple occasions and John Turek and Drevo were very ineffective rebounding the ball. Hopefully this type of effort on the glass will not make another appearance in quite some time because it was very difficult to watch.
Best: Conklin – 8 rebounds with 4 offensive. Conk did a very nice job rebounding, especially on the offensive end. He had two very nice putbacks that I mentioned earlier. As great as it was to see Conklin step up, he should not lead this team in rebounding.
Worst: Turek and Drevo – 6 rebounds with 3 offensive combined. These two guys were outmuscled for rebounds all game, which does not bode well for matchups against tough front lines from Colorado and Texas to name a couple. Jeff Graves, a highly-touted yet very unproductive KU freshman, had 12 rebounds by himself against the Husker big men.
Free Throw Shooting: B
Production from the line played no part in the final outcome in this game, but it was a relatively bright spot in a horrible game for Nebraska. They managed to shoot 70%, 9-for-13, and that is pretty good for a young team in a tough place to play like Allen Fieldhouse. Obviously more attempts would have been nice, but that would be expecting too much against Kansas on the road. On the other hand, Kansas made their first 19 from the line and finished with 88%. That's one reason why they are such a great team.
Best: Johnson – 6-7 FT. In spite of the 8 turnovers and the frayed nerves, Nate stepped up and dropped in 6 out of 7 from the stripe. It was the only positive all game for the JUCO transfer.
Worst: Drevo – 0-1 FT. It was only one attempt which is not good and he missed that try. He should have been much more aggressive against a very thin KU front line, but he wasn't. Hopefully he steps up in the next few games, which are very winnable if he does.
The only reason this is not an F grade is because the game was even for the first ten minutes. Jake Muhleisen got hurt around that time, but his presence would have made only a small difference. The press was unbreakable by the Jake-less Huskers, which led to a season-high 21 turnovers. This game shows that this team has a long ways to go still and has not improved over last year's team, which lost at Kansas by 39. That said, winnable games are up next for Nebraska. Home games against Texas A&M and Colorado should be good games with a possible Husker win in each. It will not be easy, but it is nice to already have the toughest road game out of the way.
Up Next: Texas A&M
The Aggies are coming off of a loss to Oklahoma State at home, but have the talent to come into Lincoln and pull out a W. They are led by Bernard King and freshman Antoine Wright. The two teams have shared opponents in Texas-San Antonio and Centenary. Both teams easily handled Centenary at home, but Nebraska beat the Roadrunners easily, while A&M lost to UTSA at home. This is just one match-up example, but it should give Husker fans hope for their first win in the Big 12. In order to pick up the win, the Nebraska defense will have to shut down a very potent offense because the Husker offense seems to struggle scoring against all defenses no matter how good or bad. I have to believe playing at home will produce a win for the Big Red.
Prediction: Nebraska 67 Texas A&M 63