Kansas hasn’t opened with 20 straight wins in 11 seasons.
The second-ranked Jayhawks likely won’t have much trouble matching that feat when they conclude their season series with struggling Nebraska on Saturday in a Big 12 matchup at Allen Fieldhouse.
A win Saturday and this squad will become only the third team in school history to start 20-0. The last time it happened was 1996-97, when the Jayhawks started 22-0 and won both the Big 12 regular season and tournament titles before being upset by eventual national champion Arizona in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
Equaling that mark is very much possible for Kansas, which won 79-58 at Nebraska on Jan. 12 to open conference play. The Jayhawks (19-0, 4-0) have won nine in a row over the Cornhuskers (11-5, 0-3), who have lost three straight entering this game.
The Jayhawks, who look to start 5-0 in the league for the first time since 2004-05, join Memphis as the only unbeaten teams in Division I.
“We just need to focus on getting better and keeping our energy level high,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “When we play with a lot of energy, I think we hit another level athletically and we are hard to deal with.”
Kansas was on that level in an 83-59 home win over Iowa State on Wednesday. The Jayhawks, who average 83.3 points and shoot 51.5 percent from the field, shot 50.0 percent (32-for-64) against the Cyclones.
Darnell Jackson had 21 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double, while fellow forward Darrell Arthur had 16 points as each Kansas starter scored in double figures.
“They have so many weapons,” Iowa State coach Greg McDermott said. “There is not really one person in their lineup that you can leave to provide some help on somebody else.”
While Arthur and Jackson, the team’s top two scorers, combined for just 16 points at Nebraska two weeks ago, Brandon Rush had a season-high 19 points and Mario Chalmers added 14 as the Jayhawks shot 53.8 percent.
Rush, who appears to be getting stronger each game after offseason knee surgery, is averaging 11.7 points this season and 14.8 in conference play.
Nebraska, which looks to avoid a ninth consecutive loss at Allen Fieldhouse, hasn’t played since a 72-70 home loss to Baylor last Saturday. Though the Cornhuskers topped 60 points for the first time in league play, they shot 38.2 percent and allowed 42 second-half points.
Aleks Maric had 21 points and nine rebounds for Nebraska. The 6-foot-11 Maric, who leads the team with 16.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, had 19 points against the Jayhawks earlier this month.
The senior center is averaging 10.8 points in eight games against Kansas, but 16.5 in his last two contests in the series.