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Friday, November 6, 2020

KU, Gonzaga to open 2020-21 hoops season on Thanksgiving Day in Florida

Kansas redshirt Mitch Lightfoot, left, forward David McCormack (33) and guards Tristan Enaruna (13) and Ochai Agbaji (30) celebrate a three from Kansas guard Chris Teahan (12) during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas redshirt Mitch Lightfoot, left, forward David McCormack (33) and guards Tristan Enaruna (13) and Ochai Agbaji (30) celebrate a three from Kansas guard Chris Teahan (12) during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

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The Kansas men's basketball team will open the season against perennial powerhouse Gonzaga, but it will be a day later than many expected.

KU on Friday officially announced its season-opening game with Gonzaga, slated for Nov. 26 — Thanksgiving Day — in Fort Myers, Fla., at Suncoast Credit Union Arena.

Tipoff is slated for 12:30 p.m., and the game will be shown on FOX Sports.

The game is the first for KU in a multi-team event called the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off, which was arranged after the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out previously set schedules across the country. On Nov. 27, the Jayhawks will face Saint Joseph’s at 1 p.m. on FS1.

Saint Joseph's and Auburn will play in the second game of the Thanksgiving Day doubleheader on FS1, and Auburn and Gonzaga will play on Nov. 27.

According to a news release announcing the event, social distancing restrictions inside the arena allow for a limited number of fans to attend. There will be no public sale of tickets, but a small number of socially distanced pairs of tickets will be distributed. Fans interested in attending the event should submit a ticket request form at fortmyerstipoff.com/tickets. Fans will be contacted by a ticket sales representative on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the submission date of their ticket request form.

Both KU and Gonzaga are expected to open the season ranked in the top 10 of most major college basketball polls. KenPom.com recently released its initial rankings of the 2020-21 season with Gonzaga at No. 2 and KU at No. 5.

Gonzaga, a 31-win team last year, welcomes back an experienced nucleus of talent, led by preseason All-American Corey Kispert, along with all-conference-caliber standouts Joel Ayayi and Drew Timme.

The Bulldogs have had six 30-win campaigns in the last eight years, including each of the last four seasons.

Head coach Mark Few has a 599-124 career record. That's an 82.8% winning percentage, a mark that ranks second all-time in NCAA history. He has guided the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament in each of his 22 seasons at the school, including the 2017 national championship game, and to a No. 1 ranking in three of the last four seasons.

KU coach Bill Self said Thursday that he was still unsure about whether the Jayhawks would look to add one final game to this season's schedule or to keep it at 26 as it currently stands.

As of today, the next game on KU's schedule following the clash with Saint Joseph's is Dec. 1 against Kentucky in the Champions Classic.

Comments

Dane Pratt 2 weeks, 5 days ago

I like it. If you want to have the best teams on your resume you need to play Gonzaga.

Bryce Landon 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Here's to a great season for Kansas, one in which a postseason will be allowed to happen!

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