Nebraska wraps up a grueling four-game stretch with one of the most anticipated non-conference home games in recent history, as the Huskers host No. 13 Kansas Saturday night.
Tipoff from a sold out Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 7 p.m., as a crowd well over 15,000 is expected for the Jayhawks' first-ever visit to Pinnacle Bank Arena. Pinnacle Bank Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. and fans are encouraged to arrive early to beat long lines for tipoff. Any returned tickets will be available for purchase at Pinnacle Bank Arena beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The matchup will be televised nationally on FS1 (DirecTV Ch. 219; DISH Ch. 150; Spectrum Chs. 75 and 400) with Joe Davis and Donny Marshall on the call. The game is also available on Fox Sports Go and the Fox Sports Go app.
Fans can follow all of the action across the state of Nebraska on the IMG Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call. The game will also be available on Huskers.com, on the Huskers app, on TuneIn Radio and on the TuneIn Radio app. The radio broadcast begins one hour prior to tipoff.
Nebraska (7-4), which has been in final exams all week, comes off a tough 75-65 loss at Creighton on Dec. 9. The Huskers led by as many as eight in the second half and was within 66-63 until Marcus Foster's 3-pointer with under a minute remaining sealed the win for Creighton.
Despite the loss, which came on the heels of a win over then-No. 14 Minnesota earlier in the week, one encouraging development has been the play of junior Isaac Copeland. The 6-foot-9 forward led the Huskers with 20 points and 11 rebounds at Creighton for his first double-double as a Husker. Copeland has reached double figures in five of the last six games after reaching it once in his first five games.
On the year, Copeland leads the Huskers in rebounding (6.6 rpg) and is in the top three in scoring (12.7 ppg, third) and blocked shots (1.2 bpg, second).
Kansas comes into the game with a 7-2 mark and looking to snap a two-game losing streak. The Jayhawks feature five double-figure scorers, including three players who average at least 15.8 points per game.
It is only appropriate that Kansas is the first Big 12 team to visit Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskers and Jayhawks were two of the founding members of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907 and remained in the same conference, except for the 1919-20 season when the Huskers competed as an independent, until the 2010-11 campaign.
7.0 - Rebounds per game for Isaac Copeland over Nebraska's five contests. His 11 rebounds at Creighton marked the fourth time in his career he grabbed 10 or more rebounds in a game.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
.891 - Nebraska is 90-11 in its last 101 home non-conference games dating back to the start of the 2006-07 campaign. The Huskers are 27-6 (.818) since moving into Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2013-14.
2.0 - Steals per game for Glynn Watson Jr., as he makes a bid to be the first Husker to average 2.0 or more steals per game since Cookie Belcher averaged 2.7 steals per game in 2000-01. Watson is currently second in the Big Ten in steals per game.
8.3 - Nebraska is averaging 8.3 3-pointers per game over the last eight contests and shooting .391 from beyond the arc in that stretch.
9 - Saturday will mark just the ninth time NU has faced a team ranked 13th in the AP poll. NU is 2-6 all-time against teams ranked 13th in the AP poll, posting wins in 1991 (vs. Oklahoma) and 2011 (Texas A&M).
15 - Nebraska has knocked off a ranked Kansas team 15 times in school history, most recently in 2004.
Kansas comes to Lincoln with a 7-2 record and ranked 13th in the AP poll, but looks to snap a two-game losing streak after home losses to Washington (74-65) and now No. 5 Arizona State (95-85). Hall of Famer Bill Self is in his 15th season at the helm of the Jayhawk program and has guided KU to 13 straight Big 12 titles and a national championship in 2007-08.
The Jayhawks, who returned two starters from a team that went 31-5 and reached the Elite Eight, possess one of the top offenses in college basketball, ranking in the top-20 nationally in scoring average (88.1, 16th), field goal percentage (52.0, seventh), 3-pointers per game (11.1, 12th) and assists per game (20.1, second). KU also ranks 37th nationally in field goal defense, holding opponents to 38.6 percent shooting.
Senior guard Devonte’ Graham paces the Kansas offense, as he averages 16.9 points per game while ranking sixth nationally in assists with 7.7 per contest. Graham also tops KU in steals (21) and is shooting 40 percent from 3-point range, while guiding a Jayhawk attack that features five players in double figures. Junior Lagerald Vick leads KU in scoring at 18.7 points per game and has three straight 20-point efforts, including a career-high 28 point effort against Washington. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is at 15.8 points per game and has made a team-high 30 3-pointers while shooting 46 percent from beyond the arc. Udoka Azubuike chips in 13.9 points on 78 percent shooting along with a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game. Kansas, which had just eight scholarship players available for the first semester, gains the services of Sam Cunliffe, who makes his Jayhawk debut on Saturday. Cunliffe, a 6-foot-6 guard, averaged 9.5 ppg and 4.8 rpg at Arizona State in 10 games before transferring to Kansas.
Kansas leads the all-time series, 171-71, in a series that dates back to 1900, and have won the last 18 meetings dating back to a 78-67 KU win on March 3, 2004. Nebraska's last win in the series was a 74-55 victory over No. 12 Kansas on Feb. 15, 2004, a victory that snapped a nine-game losing streak in the series. Nebraska coach Tim Miles is 0-2 against Kansas, once at Nebraska and also in 2010-11, when his Colorado State team lost 76-55, to the Jayhawks at the Sprint Center.
LAST YEAR VS. KANSAS
Despite a game-high 22 points from Tai Webster, Nebraska ran into a hot-shooting Jayhawk squad, as the Huskers fell 89-72 to No. 3 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 10, 2016. Kansas shot 59 percent for the day, including a blistering 65 percent in the first half.
Webster finished with 22 points and five assists to pace three Huskers in double figures. Ed Morrow Jr. added 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting and seven rebounds while Jordy Tshimanga added career bests of 10 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort.
Frank Mason III led five Jayhawks in double figures with 18 points and seven assists, while Josh Jackson added 17 points and six rebounds for Kansas.
1957-58 HUSKERS TO BE HONORED
On the 60th anniversary of one of most memorable upsets in program history, several Husker players from the 1957-58 season will be honored during the first half of Saturday's game against Kansas.
That season, the Huskers knocked off the No. 4 Jayhawks, led by Wilt Chamberlain, 43-41, at the Nebraska Coliseum, as Jim Kubacki hit the game-winning shot with two seconds to go. Kubacki, who was originally in street clothes because of a knee injury, entered the game as a sub in the final minutes after Gary Reimers suffered a calf injury. Kubacki, Bob Harry and Wayne Hester, as well as the families of head coach Jerry Bush and Tony Sharpe, will be honored. That Husker squad posted a pair of top-five wins that season, as they upset No. 1 Kansas State following the win over Kansas, and is one of only two teams in program history with a pair of top-five wins in a season.
LAST TIME OUT
Isaac Copeland had a team-high 20 points, but Marcus Foster’s 3-pointer with 47 seconds left gave host Creighton the cushion it needed in a 75-65 win over Nebraska at the CenturyLink Center.
Nebraska was within 66-63 after a James Palmer jumper with 1:04 remaining, but Foster’s long 3-pointer from the wing pushed the margin to 69-63, and Creighton sealed the win by going 6-of-6 from the line in the final 30 seconds.
The Huskers, who were without Glynn Watson, who had fouled out with 2:47 left, was able to keep it close before Foster’s 3-pointer started a game-ending 9-2 run for the Bluejays.
Copeland, who had 20 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and two steals, was one of three to finish in double figures. James Palmer Jr. had 16 points, while Isaiah Roby had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting after playing just two minutes because of foul trouble.
Foster’s 19-point effort led five Creighton players in double figures, as the Bluejays shot 50 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Huskers, 43-33. Nebraska led 36-28 in the opening minute of the second half, but Creighton regained the lead with a 15-4 run to erase the Husker advantage.