LINCOLN — Taking on Kansas in men’s basketball almost always is difficult. Now, Nebraska will face anger from the Jayhawks, too, when they come to Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday.
Kansas coach Bill Self ripped his team after a 95-85 loss to No. 16 Arizona State, saying: “This is the softest team that Kansas has had since I’ve been here.’’
That result dropped Self’s record at Allen Fieldhouse to 225-11 in his 15 seasons. Coming on the heels of a 74-65 loss to unranked and 22-point underdog Washington in Kansas City, the mini-skid has Jayhawk Nation a bit on edge.
Just where Nebraska coach Tim Miles wants them, right?
“We’ve got them mad,’’ Miles said with a chuckle Monday. “I’m not sure that’s good, bad or otherwise.
“I watched their game against Arizona State. I don’t know if anybody would have beaten Arizona State the way those three guards shot. Coach has a team that’s a bit haphazard right now in terms of its rotation.’’
Kansas, which fell from No. 2 to 13 in this week’s Associated Press poll, allowed ASU’s three starting guards — none taller than 6-foot-1 — to combine for 72 points and 14 assists with just four turnovers.
The Jayhawks (7-2) have been using seven scholarship players because of transfers, injuries and disciplinary matters.
“I think they’ll be much better in Big 12 play than they are now,’’ Miles said. “But I’m sure we’ll get a great shot. When a coach calls out his team, that’s going to get their attention. They’ll be back in their expected form soon.’’
Nebraska (7-4) on Saturday lost 75-65 at Creighton, even though the Huskers controlled significant portions of the game and led or were tied for more than 24 of the 40 minutes. Creighton moved back into the coaches’ poll this week at No. 25.
Miles said he has seen his team’s poise and attention to detail get better after true road losses to St. John’s, No. 2 Michigan State and Creighton.
The sticking point against CU, Miles said, was getting the offense organized in a hostile environment, especially as NU stayed within one possession entering the final minute.
“We couldn’t hear anything,’’ he said. “I thought Creighton fans did a great job in being loud. We miscommunicated a couple of key possessions. Our fans do the same to our opponents.
“So we had some errors. But our guys, in terms of responding, I thought we were right there.’’
Nebraska and Kansas are in finals week, and don’t play again until Saturday’s matchup.