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Monday, October 31, 2016

Gameday Breakdown: No. 3 KU basketball vs. Washburn

Kansas guard LaGerald Vick runs out to the court as the team is introduced during Late Night in the Phog on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard LaGerald Vick runs out to the court as the team is introduced during Late Night in the Phog on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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The following is a quick breakdown of some of the key aspects and match-ups of KU's exhibition opener against Washburn.

• No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks (0-0) vs. Washburn Ichabods (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m., Nov. 1, 2016 | Location: Allen Fieldhouse

TV: Jayhawk TV/ESPN3 | Radio: IMG Jayhawk Radio Network

— Log on to KUsports.com for our live game blog coverage and follow the KUsports.com staff on Twitter: @KUSports @mctait @TomKeeganLJW @bentonasmith & @nightengalejr —

Keys for Kansas

1. Set the tone

It may say “exhibition” on the Kansas schedule, but senior guard Frank Mason III is not about to let anyone in a Kansas uniform use that excuse to not play hard in this one. “We take every game serious,” Mason said. “We don’t care if it’s an exhibition or a scrimmage, we want to play every game like it’s an official game and I think we will.”

With a handful of newcomers and a few familiar faces in bigger roles, it will be up to the veterans on the team to establish that mentality early on and that’s exactly what sophomore guard Lagerald Vick is eager to see during tonight’s contest.

“This time last year, I was so nervous,” Vick said. “I’m not as nervous as I was last year. I’ve been practicing over the summer and I just feel more comfortable.... I just want to see the leadership from the older guys and see everybody take on their role as the coaches give them.”

2. Find out what fits

As much as KU’s four-guard lineup has dominated talk this preseason, the Jayhawks still have several other aspects of their rotation that need to be worked out. The starting five seems set, but the rotation from there is still a bit of a mystery.

Will Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk or Lagerald Vick be the first perimeter player off the bench? Are mammoth freshman Udoka Azubuike or ever-improving athletic freshman Mitch Lightfoot ready for real minutes? Is Dwight Coleby mentally and physically recovered enough from his ACL injury for a meaningful role?

Those elements won’t all be decided in this one, but the first steps toward finding answers should emerge.

3. Freshmen debut

There’s been a lot of talk among the upperclassmen and KU coaches about the job of watching the freshmen experience game night at Allen Fieldhouse for the first time. It’s something that all of these players and coaches remember from their own debuts. And it’s something people also like to see others experience long after they first did it.

This freshman class — Azubuike, Lightfoot and one-and-done phenom Josh Jackson — has been hyped for months and it’s their turn to make their first impression on the Allen Fieldhouse crowd. You know the fans will be fired up for Jackson, but will Azubuike or Lightfoot steal the show?

“I’m real excited to see them run out of the tunnel,” Mason said. “And I just told ’em be ready to have some fun, enjoy the great crowd that we’ll have, take every game serious and compete.”

Mega Matchup

KU guards vs. Washburn guards

A couple of days ahead of tonight’s opener, Washburn coach Bob Chipman explained that his game plan was to take it at the Jayhawks.

“I don’t know if Frank and Devonte’ will even notice,” Chipman said. “But we’re gonna try and play ’em. We’re gonna try and guard ’em, extend the defense some, really go man-to-man and try and attack.... Really, we just want to learn from this game. We want to play at that pace that those guards do from KU. And we want to rebound and be tough like Landen (Lucas). You would like to take it to that level, and we have a chance, first-hand, to watch it and watch ourselves against it. So even if we come up short, it’s a pretty good learning experience.”

Three of top five returning players for Washburn are guards, including 2016 MIAA Freshman of the Year Javion Blake (13.4 points per game) and junior Cameron Wiggins (12.2).

Jayhawk Pulse

Although tonight’s game will not count in the record books, the beginning of one of the most highly anticipated seasons in recent history has arrived and that figures to add an extra dose of excitement to the air tonight.

KU coach Bill Self has not be shy about expressing his feelings about this year’s team and he reiterated them Monday while previewing the match-up.

“I’m as excited about this particular team as any team that we’ve had since we’ve been here,” Self said. “I can’t imagine a scenario in which we could be more challenged and yet have the potential to be pretty good.”

Because it’s the first game that this particular group has played together, and because Washburn brings to town a veteran group with the ability to score, there will be a few growing pains — “air balls and bad passes,” as Self put it — but the bottom line with Kansas basketball won’t change. The fans will be jacked, the players will play hard and Self will watch it all with a critical eye.

Probable Starters

Kansas

G – Frank Mason III, 5-11, 190, Sr.

G – Devonte’ Graham, 6-2, 185, Jr.

G – Josh Jackson, 6-8, 207, Fr.

F – Carlton Bragg Jr., 6-10, 240, Soph.

F – Landen Lucas, 6-10, 250, Sr.

Washburn

G – Javion Blake, 6-3, 185, Soph.

G – Randall Smith, 6-0, 170, Jr.

G – Emeka Ogbonna, 6-2, 180, Soph.

F – Brady Skeens, 6-7, 211, Jr.

F – David Salach, 6-7, 210, Soph.


Comments

Mallory Briggans 3 years, 7 months ago

ITS GAMEDAY!!!!! In the words of the great Micheal Buffer..........LETS GET READY TO RUUUUUUUMMMMMBLE!!!!!!!!!

I am so ready ....exhibition or not its good to see KU basketball again !!

ROCK CHALK JAYHAWKS ....

Max Kandinsky 3 years, 7 months ago

Very excited for the season to start. Unfortunately, for us in the KC area, we will be blacked-out from watching on ESPN 3 due to the horrible TV arrangement made with one of many providers. Friends and Alumni across the country will be able to watch, but not the loyal and faithful who support the university from a few miles away. How many of the most excited fans will be cut off tonight?

Sam Denny 3 years, 7 months ago

Max, I sent you a message through Facebook in regards to watching the game tonight

Sam Denny 3 years, 7 months ago

Max Kandinsky, I sent you a message on Facebook regarding how to watch the game tonight.

Jordan Marable 3 years, 7 months ago

Hey Sam I was wondering the same thing on how to watch the game tonight. Could I get some help?

Tyler Clements 3 years, 7 months ago

Same here Max. I've tried a few things but nothing is working. email me at tyguy1076(at)gmail.com

Dale Rogers 3 years, 7 months ago

I'll tell ya, I'm really going to miss Frank Mason next season. Not only is he, in my opinion, the face of the Jayhawks, he's also represents what being a Jayhawk is all about. What a terrific ambassador for the University. I look forward to this season and to watching Mason's success after college. And he's not the only one. We have several guys who are developing into this same mold. High quality team with high quality people.

Mallory Briggans 3 years, 7 months ago

i live in texas and watch the games with my watchespn app.....have the past 3 years .....espn3 in on the app i watch on my laptop....

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 7 months ago

Inside Kansas, the ESPN watchapp is blacked out/ basically espn3 doesn't work unless if you are out of the state of Kansas.

Elliott Teters 3 years, 6 months ago

ESPN posts the game one hour after it finishes under replays. I think there are 8 games this year I plan to watch after the game is over, since ESPN honors the blackout rules.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 6 months ago

We're in southern California and do the same for those games not on network tv here. Most regular season games are shown on network tv out here. The rest, including the exhibition games, we connect my laptop to our TV and watch through espn3.

Stephen Dobelbower 3 years, 7 months ago

Any help on getting a streaming link would be greatly appreciated. First row sports doesn't have the game listed.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 6 months ago

ESPN3 although I think you might have to have a regular TV service provider (cable or satellite) who is signed up with espn. I think. I connect with my Cox subscriber credentials.

Jay Scott 3 years, 7 months ago

“I don’t know if Frank and Devonte’ will even notice,” Chipman said. “But we’re gonna try and play ’em...."

Chipman is a funny guy.

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