Game 10: No. 13 Kansas at Nebraska – Preview and Prediction

The Jayhawks look to get off the hook against a former Big 12 foe, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Kansas comes in reeling, as they are losers of their last two contests. Not only are they loser of their last two, they have also looked rather uninspired in both efforts. While they once looked like a promising team, the Jayhawks are already at somewhat of a crossroads before conference play starts next month. A win on Saturday would do wonder for the Jayhawks, not for their resume, but for their confidence.

About Nebraska: The Cornhuskers were picked to finish 12th in the Big Ten this season after finishing 13th last year. So far this season, they’re off to a surprising 7-4 start with a win over No. 14 Minnesota. They lost do-it-all guard Tai Webster from a year ago, but transfer James Palmer Jr. has stepped in and leads the team in scoring. Glynn Watson Jr. is back from last year’s squad, averaging 13.9 PPG, ranking second on the team. They’re also 5-0 at home this season, and with a blue-blood like Kansas coming into town, expect a raucous atmosphere.

Game Info and Notes:

  • Wednesday, December 14th, 2017 at 7:00 pm CT
  • Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Neb.
  • FS1 or Fox Sports App
  • Kansas leads the all-time series 171-71, with a record of 63-44 in Lincoln
  • KU has won 18 straight games in the series, dating back to 2004.
  • The Jayhawks and Huskers last played last December in Lawrence with KU winning 89-72
  • In the Bill Self era, KU is 78-11 in games coming off a loss.
  • Five Jayhawk starters are averaging double figures in scoring (Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Lagerald Vick, Udoka Azubuike, Malik Newman and Devonte’ Graham); Vick leads the way with 18.7 PPG, which ranks third in the Big 12
  • Vick is the only player in the Big 12 that ranks in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding
  • Azubuike leads the NCAA in FG%, shooting 78.4% from the field
  • Transfer Sam Cunliffe will make his Jayhawk debut after sitting out due to transfer rules
  • In the Bill Self era, KU has only lost three-straight twice; in 2004-05 and 2012-13
Huskers to Watch

James Palmer Jr. – 6’6″ junior, guard

After only averaging 11-13 minutes in two seasons at Miami, Palmer decided to make the move to Lincoln and so far it’s paid off. He leads the team in scoring, pouring in 14.2 PPG. He’s also averaging 3.5 RPG and 2.6 APG. He’s not exactly the greatest shooter in the world, as he’s only knocking down 30% of his outside shots. Nevertheless, even at 30% he’s shown he can at least step out there and make a shot. Kansas has had trouble guarding the past two games. It’ll be important to keep Palmer in check.

Glynn Watson Jr. – 6’0″ junior, guard

Watson runs the point for the Huskers, as he leads the team in assist with 3.6 APG. Watson had a monster performance in an upset of Minnesota two weeks ago. In that game he scored 29 points on 9-17 shooting and was 9-10 from the charity stripe. He’s shown he can explode for 25+ points, but if he’s not doing that he’s not really making an impact on the game.

Isaac Copeland – 6’9″ senior, forward

At 6.6 RPG Copeland leads the Huskers in rebounding. He’s also chipping in with 12.7 PPG. Last time out Copeland put up a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds in a loss to Creighton. He shoots an efficient 46.8% from the field.  KU has to limit Copeland’s attempts at the rim. He’s shooting 73% at the rim this season, but while he’s efficient around the rim he takes almost half of his shots off 2-pt jumpers, cashing in on 47% of them. Udoka Azubuike will hold a considerable size advantage over Copeland, so I’d expect the Jayhawks being able to keep him off the boards and away from the rim.

Prediction

Kansas 79 – Nebraska 71

Kansas has been pretty woeful on the defensive end the past two games and until they show they can string together stops and lock teams up, I’m going to pick opponents to score. I think the Huskers will keep this close for most of the game, but won’t be able to get over the hump. The home crowd keeps them in the game, but I think Azubuike will be too much for them down low. I’ll also go out on a bit of a limb here and predict Graham will break out of his mini shooting slump he’s currently experiencing. Kansas is a whole different team when Graham is on. Lastly, look for Cunliffe to make an impact in his first game as a Jayhawk.

Bobby Norell

My name is Bobby Norell. I'm from a small town in northern Indiana. I recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Sport Communication. Even though my diploma says I'm a Hoosier, my love for the Jayhawks has never wavered. They'll always come No.1.