Nebraska Cornhuskers (16-8, 6-5) at #15/#18 Kansas Jayhawks (21-5, 10-1)
3 PM, Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS
TV: Big 12 Network; Radio: Husker Sports Network (also on Sirius 123)
Opponents' Blog: Rock Chalk Talk
84-49. 92-39. 96-54. 59-57. 78-67. 92-59. 96-57. 84-62. 97-82.
Those are the scores of the Husker's last 9 trips to Lawrence since breaking the 16-year drought in Allen Fieldhouse in 1999. Exactly once have the Huskers been within ten points,, and only three times within 20. The last three were especially painful, as the Huskers seemed to play scared in front of the mighty incoming class of 2005-06 that went on to win a national title as juniors last year.
The Huskers don't need to win this game, but it sure could help. The rest of the schedule is filled with fellow bubble teams and Iowa State, not exactly the best opportunity to build an at-large resume. Worse, get blown out by a good team on the road for the second straight Saturday, and serious questions about the ability to win on the road come up. Quite frankly, the NCAA Selection committee is looking for teams with more impressive road wins than TCU, Colorado, and Texas Tech.
There is hope. The Huskers finally stopped being afraid of KU in last year's Big XII Tournament, and then kept the game within a point in the final minute a few weeks ago in Lincoln. They know that this KU team is beatable. It won't be easy -- the Huskers need to score, and get all the people who've been cold the last two games (Steve Harley, Ryan Anderson, Toney McCray, and Paul Velander, I'm talking to you) back in the offensive groove, and keep red-hot Cole Aldritch from giving KU too many 2nd- and 3rd-chance buckets.
Things could easily turn the Huskers way if the Jayhawks are looking past them to Monday's big showdown in Norman and next Sunday's rematch with Missouri. Don't plan on it, though -- Bill Self's teams have never looked past Nebraska.