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Nebraska-Omaha Preview

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Nebraska-Omaha v Nebraska Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

Kansas goes for a clean sweep of their Nebraska opponents when they take on an Omaha team that hasn’t exactly lit it up so far this season. After a run to the Summit League title game last season, Omaha is just 2-10 against Division 1 opponents. Among those losses are a 19 point loss to Oklahoma, a 33 point loss to TCU, and a 13 point loss to Washington. Man, imagine losing to Washington. That’s awful. Anyway...

Offensively, about the only thing Omaha has going for it is they’re shooting 37 percent from three. But that’s about where the positives end. They turn it over on about 20 percent of their possessions, barely get to the free throw line, and don’t grab a ton of offensive rebounds. They are roughly average at shooting twos, but in all this should be an opportunity for the defense to get back on track.

Defensively, Omaha is even worse. They allow roughly an average number of threes, but are 314th nationally in 2-point defense. They also allow teams to grab an above average number of misses, which makes sense considering they are 267th nationally in average height. The Mavs go 6-8 and 6-9 in the front court, and don’t have a ton of size off the bench, so look for Kansas to try to get the ball to Udoka Azubuike quite a bit.

Players to Watch

Zach Jackson, 6-5 junior forward

Jackson is shooting 57 percent on twos and 44 percent on threes this year. He doesn’t do a ton else, but he can definitely fill it up. He had 29 points against Washington and 24 points against Oklahoma.

Lamar Wofford-Humphrey, 6-9 senior forward

LWH, as I’ll call him, is the Mavs best offensive rebounder, with a top 100 national offensive rebound rate. He can score a bit inside, and has shown the ability to hit a three, although that’s not a big part of his game. He doesn’t play a ton, mostly due to committing 5.2 fouls per 40 minutes, but with KU’s inability to draw fouls thus far this year, we might see a bit more of him tonight.

Keys to the Game

  1. 3-point shooting - Omaha is a pretty decent 3-point shooting team, and they’ll need to take and make a lot of them tonight to have a prayer.
  2. Turnovers - Kansas made their best defensive strides against Nebraska when they pressured the ball handler and forced turnovers. Omaha has a penchant for turning the ball over, which Kansas can hopefully turn into easy offense.

The pick

After three tense/awful games, Kansas gets an opportunity to enjoy a nice cupcake before Christmas. Omaha doesn’t really do anything that should bother the Jayhawks, so the only question is how engaged they are. I think they’ll probably want to make a bit of a statement after their last three games, so I’ll say 98-61 Kansas.