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Report: Nevada basketball to add game against No. 6 Kansas for Wednesday

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at St. John Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Less than 24 hours after its contest against the San Jose State Spartans was cancelled due to COVID-19 issues within the SJSU program, the Nevada men’s basketball team will reportedly add a game at the sixth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks for Wednesday, Dec. 29, according to Mike Vernon.

Vernon noted the game would be played at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan., at 7 p.m. local time (5 p.m. PST).

Neither program has made the news official yet.

If this indeed is the case, Wednesday would mark the Pack’s first return to Allen Fieldhouse since they stunned Kansas 72-70 on Dec. 1, 2005. The three teams played three games from 2003-2006 with Nevada coming out on top in two of the three, splitting the two at Allen Fieldhouse. The two programs played three additional games against each other — in 1947-48, 1979-80 and 1980-81 — though Kansas swept the three by a combined 42 points.

Both teams are on five-game winning streaks. Kansas, at 9-1 placed sixth in the latest AP Top-25 poll released Monday. The Jayhawks rank No. 7 in NET rankings — with four Quad 1 or 2 victories — and No. 5 in the KenPom rankings. Nevada (5-4) is No. 129 in the NET rankings while KenPom has them slotted at No. 77. It is 0-3 in Quad 1 or 2 games.

The Jayhawks, with the nation’s third best offense (per KenPom), have three double-digit scorers — led by All-Big-12 guard Ochai Agbaji, who’s averaging 22.0 points on 56.1 percent shooting, including 48.1 percent (on 6.4 attempts) from 3-point range.

Christian Braun, the team’s rebounding (6.7 rpg) and steals (1.4 spg) leader at 6-foot-6, is tallying 16.8 points on a team-high 62.6 percent shooting. Former Arizona State transfer Remy Martin — who was heralded as one of the top transfers in the country entering 2021-22 — is averaging 10.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists through 10 games. In four seasons with the Sun Devils (118 games), the three-time All-Pac-12 honoree tallied 14.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.

Though it will be a short turnaround, this would be an excellent test for the Wolf Pack, who’s non-conference schedule was widely regarded as weak-er prior to the start of the season. It will also be a great battle test for All-MWC guards Grant Sherfield, the only player in the nation who’s averaging at least 20.0 points and 6.5 assists, and Desmond Cambridge (17.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg) before heading into conference play.