Kansas at Nebraska
No. 3 Kansas (14-1) looks to rebound from its first loss of the season when it opens its 2010 Big 12 season at Nebraska (12-4, 0-1) Tonight. This past Sunday the Jayhawks lost at then-No. 16/15 Tennessee 76-68 in their final game of the non conference season.. KU has won 18-straight conference openers dating back to the 1991-92 season. KU has won nine of the Big 12 Conference's 13 regular-season titles and an NCAA Division I-leading 52 conference crowns. This will be Nebraska's home conference opener as the Huskers lost at Texas A&M 64-53 on Saturday.
As many Jayhawks will remember from last season, Doc Sadler and the Huskers will look to make this game ugly. Nebraska slows the game down and makes a team grind out points from the start. How the Jayhawks respond to the first punch in the mouth this evening will tell a lot as to what type of night this could turn into.
|Rank and Records||KU||NEB|
|Strength of Schedule||#52||#258|
|RPI Top 50||3-1||1-1|
Kansas opens its Big 12 schedule in unfamiliar territory having lost its first game of the season at Tennessee on Sunday. The Jayhawks have won 18-straight conference openers with 11 of those on the road. Kansas averages 85.1 points per game and gives up 59.8 for a +25.3 scoring margin.
The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in six of their last eight games and have held all but three opponents - Radford, Cornell and Tennessee - to under 40 percent shooting in 2009-10. Basically if you are looking for a sign that Kansas might be in trouble, look no further than the opponents field goal percentage because if the Kansas defense isn't getting it done they tend to struggle.
Nebraska is 12-4 on the season and 0-1 in Big 12 play after its 64-53 loss at Texas A&M Saturday. The Huskers are 10-0 at home and average 68.9 points per game and are giving up 58.6 for a +10.4 scoring margin. The 58.6 points allowed leads the Big 12 as does Nebraska's 32.0 rebounding defense average (or rebounds opponents average per game). NU averages 7.6 steals per game and 15.1 assists. Big areas of concern in this game are both of these statistics. Kansas can win the ugly game, but has struggled in it this season. In addition rebounding is something Kansas and Nebraska both take pride in, so whoever wins in this department will put themselves in the best position to win.
Freshman forward Christian Standhardinger sat out the first 15 games of the season due to NCAA regulations and
had 13 points and seven rebounds in his season debut at Texas A&M. Senior guard Ryan Anderson is scoring 11.2 points per game and leads NU with 33 steals. His 18 three-pointers are second on the team and his 4.9 rebound average is a team best.
Freshman center Jorge Brian Diaz leads the Huskers with 24 blocked shots to complement his 8.6 points per game. He is making 56 percent of his shots from the field and pulls down 4.2 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Brandon Richardson scores 7.9 points per contest and he is second behind Anderson with 18 steals.
Senior guard Sek Henry is a starter scoring 7.8 points per game and he is second on the team with 42 assists. Freshman guard Eshaunte Jones comes off the bench to score 7.3 points per contest and he leads NU with 26 three-pointers.
Junior guard Lance Jeter leads the team with 67 assists to complement his 6.9 scoring average. Freshman forward Brandon Ubel (5.8 ppg) and freshman guard Ray Gallegos (4.2 ppg) are other Husker regulars who average 16-plus minutes per game.
Big 12 Home Teams
At the start of last night Big 12 home teams were a staggering 112-1 at home as reported by ESPN. Kansas State then took care of business against A&M with a big win. Follow that up with the Colorado Buffaloes beating a ranked Baylor squad in Boulder. 114-1, and if you weren't convinced that the Big 12 is deep Colorado proved that nothing is a given and every road game is going to be an absolute battle.
Get to Know an Opposing Coach
Doc Sadler is 67-44 in his fourth season at Nebraska. Overall, Sadler is 235-101 in his 11th season. In five seasons as a Division I head coach, Sadler’s teams have averaged more than 21 wins per year, leaving him with a .640 winning percentage (103-58 record). As a head coach, his teams have posted winning marks every season while seven of his 10 squads have won at least 20 games. For my money Doc Sadler is a great fit for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. I know he's had some struggles early but the program has a long way to go. Still his personality and his teams style of play are mirror images of eachother and with time Sadler could very well put the Huskers in a position to make the Tourney more often.
This series dates back to 1900 and Kansas leads 166-71. Kansas is 61-44 against Nebraska in games played in Lincoln, including 17-16 in the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Kansas has won 13 straight against Nebraska and 22 of the last 23 dating back to the 1998-99 season. The last Nebraska victory in the series was a 74-55 decision on Feb. 15, 2004, in Lincoln, Bill Self's first season at KU and his only loss to Nebraska. The previous NU win was 64-59 on Feb. 10, 1999, in Lawrence. Kansas holds a 27-3 record against Nebraska since the inception of the Big 12 and has swept the season series 11 times, including each of the last five seasons. KU and NU have played each other four times in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship with the Jayhawks winning all four contests.
- KU shot its second-lowest field goal percentage of the season at 37.7 percent. Conversely, Tennessee shot 48.1 percent from the floor, the best shooting percentage by a KU opponent in 2009-10.
- Kansas had a season-low three steals.
- The Jayhawks' 68 points were their second-lowest point total this season.
- Junior Cole Aldrich pulled down a season-high 18 rebounds for his ninth outing with 10-plus boards. Included in the 18 rebounds were a season-high eight offensive boards.
- Aldrich had 12 rebounds in the first half alone to mark the most rebounds in a half by a Jayhawk since Nick Collinson pulled down 13 rebounds in the second half versus Syracuse on April 7, 2003.