Josh Selby (Steve Puppe photo)
News, notes and quotes on No. 3 KU’s matchup with Nebraska today at 1 p.m. (CT) in Allen Fieldhouse on ESPNU in the Jayhawks’ home opener in league play. Kansas (16-0) has four won four straight Big 12 home openers.
Nebraska returns 10 letterwinners and four starters from last season’s
team, which went 15-18 and just 2-14 in the Big 12. NU (13-3, 1-1 in
Big 12) is coming off a 77-69 loss at No. 15 Missouri on Jan. 12,
ending a 10-game winning streak dating back to Nov. 19.
Senior center Jorge Brian Diaz leads the attack with a team-high 10.4
points per game. He’s followed in scoring by senior guard Lance Jeter
(10.0 ppg, team-high 15 three-pointers, 62 assists and 32 steals),
junior guard Caleb Walker (6.6 ppg, team-high 4.8 rpg), junior guard
Toney McCray (6.4 ppg), sophomore forward Brandon Ubel (6.3 ppg), and
junior center Andre Almeida (6.1 ppg, team-best 25 blocks).
NU is scoring 69.2 points per game and allows 66.0. The Cornhuskers are
shooting 48.3 percent from the field, 30.8 percent from three-point
range, and 69.5 percent at the free-throw line. They’re holding foes to
34.5 percent shooting and 28.3 percent from beyond the arc, while
outrebounding opponents 38.2 to 32.3 boards per game.
SELF ON THE ‘CORN
Head coach Doc Sadler’s Cornhuskers are carving their identity on
defense this season. NU entered the week ranked No. 1 nationally in
field goal percentage defense and No. 2 in scoring defense.
“Doc is a good coach,” KU coach Bill Self said. “They've always guarded
and this year they're leading the country in field goal percentage
defense. Our goal is to lead that every year, so we've got a long way
to go before we can catch them. The biggest thing is when other teams
don't score then you're always in the game. I learned that from coach
(Eddie) Sutton. Especially away from home, if you take care of the ball
and you don't give up easy baskets, you have a chance. That's been a
good formula for them."
Self said Friday that sophomore guard Travis Releford was doubtful for
today’s game. Releford sprained his ankle against Michigan on Jan. 9
and didn’t play in KU’s victory at Iowa State Wednesday.
"He's going to try to practice some today (Friday), but he hasn't been
able to yet,” Self said. “It's a little disappointing because I thought
he would be back by now. We all did. He's worked hard getting
treatment, but he's still maybe a couple more days (away from playing).
It's a pretty severe sprain, but it's not a high ankle sprain."
KU leads the overall series with Nebraska 168-71 and has won the last
15 meetings dating back to the 2004 season. The Jayhawks have also won
24 of the last 25 meetings. Kansas is 50-7 against NU in Allen
Fieldhouse, winning 11 straight. Nebraska last beat KU in the Phog,
64-59, on Feb. 10, 1999.
KU’s 1971 Final Four team will celebrate its 40-year reunion today and
be honored at the game. The 1952 NCAA champions will also have a
Ted Owens’ Jayhawks went 27-3 and 14-0 in Big Eight play in 1970-71,
advancing to the Final Four with wins over Houston and Drake in the
NCAA tournament. KU then lost to UCLA, 68-60, in the national
semifinals and also to Western Kentucky, 77-75, in the consolation
game. Senior forward Dave Robisch led four players in double figures
that season with 19.2 points per game.
THIS & THAT
*Kansas is one of four teams in NCAA Division I that are undefeated.
Other unbeaten teams are Syracuse (17-0), Ohio State (17-0) and San Diego State (18-0).
*KU ranks first in the RPI released by the NCAA on Jan. 10 through
games of Jan. 9.
*Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage at 52.5, is second in
three-point field goal percentage defense at 24.7 and third in assists