Former conference rivals Nebraska and Kansas State will face each other Saturday night in Kansas City’s T-Mobile Center, renewing a rivalry that goes back to 1906.
Kansas State (9-1) owns a six-game winning streak in the series and a 127-93 all-time series lead. The team have only played once since Nebraska left the Big 12 for the Big Ten following the 2010-11 season. K-State won in Lincoln, Neb. last season, handing the Cornhuskers a 67-58 defeat.
The Wildcats are fresh off a 98-50 win over Incarnate Word. The 48-point margin is the 10th largest in school history. K-State scored 23 unanswered points to start the second half, putting the game out of reach.
“This could easily be a ‘me’ game where guys are trying to get theirs,” first-year coach Jerome Tang said. “I really challenged them to make it a ‘we’ game and really work on the things we need to work on and share the ball and be great teammates. I thought we did that.”
The Wildcats are full of new faces, with only two players returning from last year’s squad. The best of the newcomers is Keyontae Johnson, who leads the team in points (17.3 per game) and rebounds (6.4).
Nebraska (6-5) has been up and down this season under coach Fred Hoiberg. The Huskers had won three straight games, including a 63-53 victory over then-No. 7 Creighton, before starting the Big Ten season with back-to-back losses. The fell 81-65 at No. 14 Indiana and took a 65-62 overtime loss to No. 4 Purdue in Lincoln.
The Cornhuskers held 7-foot-4 Purdue center Zach Edey to a season-low 11 points in a stellar defensive effort.
“I think eight games in a row he had 20 or more points, so it speaks to the effort of our guys, following the game plan and having discipline on that end,” Hoiberg said after the loss. “These guys have really bought into that side of the ball, and I think that’s become the identity of this team.
“When the ball doesn’t go into the hoop, a lot of times it’s hard and demoralizing to stay in the game. But our guys, we shot 32 percent and still had a chance to win the game.”
Nebraska is led by Derrick Walker with 15.3 points per game. Five other Cornhuskers average at least 9.4 points, including four others in double digits.
–Field Level Media