Friday, June 29, 2018

KU basketball’s 2018-19 non-conference schedule finalized

Rematch with Villanova slated for Dec. 15

Villanova forward Omari Spellman (14) pulls up for a three against Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) during the second half, Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Villanova forward Omari Spellman (14) pulls up for a three against Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) during the second half, Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.


As always seems to be the case, the Kansas men's basketball team will tackle another tough non-conference schedule during the 2018-19 season.

Six teams on KU's non-conference schedule — released Friday afternoon — competed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. National champion Villanova, Kentucky, Michigan State, Arizona State, Tennessee (possible opponent in the Preseason NIT) and New Mexico State are all slated to square off with the Jayhawks this coming season.

"This is definitely a tremendous non-conference schedule and for a young team it's a lot to try to conquer, especially so early in the season when we have so many guys who will be playing pivotal roles," head coach Bill Self said in a team release. "Hopefully it will be great preparation for once again playing in one of the best leagues, if not the best league, in the country. It's going to be tough. I know our players will enjoy the challenge and I know our fans will enjoy watching them enjoy the challenge."

To start the regular season, the Jayhawks will travel to Indianapolis for the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 6. This season, Kansas is slated to face Michigan State, which won the Big Ten title last season. The Jayhawks have won their last two games in the Champions Classic, defeating Duke in New York City in 2016 and Kentucky in Chicago in 2017, following their loss to the Spartans in 2015.

In addition, Kansas is slated to welcome defending national champion Villanova — the team that knocked the Jayhawks out of the 2018 Final Four — to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, Dec. 15, and will travel to Kentucky for the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. Villanova won the title last season, beating Kansas in the Final Four during a 36-4 campaign.

"We always play a great schedule," Self said, "but next year's, certainly, has an opportunity to probably be most talked about going into the season because we're hosting the reigning national champions. We saw what Villanova did to us in the Final Four, so that will be an exciting game for all our fans. We play Michigan State in the Champions Classic to start the season. Those are marquee names, and that doesn't include hosting Stanford, or going to Arizona State, or the preseason NIT, in which we're guaranteed to play two of these teams — Louisville, Tennessee or Marquette."

For the last nine seasons, Kansas has ranked no lower than fifth nationally in the final Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), which is one of the tools the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee uses in selecting the NCAA Championship field. In three different seasons (2010, 2011 and 2016) the Jayhawks boasted the nation's No. 1 RPI.

Kansas men's basketball 2018-19 non-conference schedule

(home games in ALL CAPS)


Nov. 1 (Thursday): WASHBURN (EXHIBITION)

Nov. 6 (Tuesday): Michigan State (Indianapolis, Champions Classic)

Nov. 12 (Monday): VERMONT (NIT home contest)

Nov. 16 (Friday): LOUISIANA (NIT home contest)

Nov. 21 (Wednesday): TBD (Brooklyn, N.Y., NIT semifinals)

Nov. 23 (Friday): TBD (Brooklyn, N.Y., NIT finals)

Dec. 1 (Saturday): STANFORD

Dec. 4 (Tuesday): WOFFORD

Dec. 8 (Saturday): NEW MEXICO STATE (Kansas City, Mo., Jayhawk Shootout)

Dec. 15 (Saturday): VILLANOVA

Dec. 18 (Tuesday): SOUTH DAKOTA

Dec. 22 (Saturday): at Arizona State

Dec. 29 (Saturday): EASTERN MICHIGAN

Jan. 26 (Saturday): at Kentucky (SEC/Big 12 Challenge)

March 13-16: Big 12 Championship (Kansas City, Mo.)


Marius Rowlanski 4 years ago

Villanova better be ready. KU is going to want to punch Jay Wright and his team from the tip-off.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years ago

Also, would the Kansas faithful the willing to put up with three straight losses in the NIT including the first round in his second year. Villanova missed the NIT in 2011/12.

Bill Self leads Villanova's head coach Jay Wright in just about every statistical category EXCEPT NCAA titles. Jay Wright would have needed to fight for his job at KU if it wasn't for those two national championships.

But, $h!thappens. The answer isn't switching coaches, it's winning the big games. Sometimes I think we're jinxed. I've considered sacrificing chickens before the game – and then having barbecue.

Bryce Landon 4 years ago

My thoughts on the non-conference schedule:

1) Damn, we haven't played in the NIT Season Tip-Off since Roy Williams' last season at KU. I thought it was played in Madison Square Garden; when did it get moved to Barclays Center?

2) I hate Villanova, and I'm sick of losing to them. We've lost three meetings in a row to those guys, and two of those losses resulted in them winning a national title. It's time to bring them down a peg or two, and what better place to do it than in Allen Fieldhouse?

3) So we get UK for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge? What about Texas A&M? I thought we would have to go to College Station for a rematch with them after playing them last season...?

Dirk Medema 4 years ago

We only played A&M because we played UK in the Champions game. Maybe we'll play them again in 2 years.

The Big12-SEC challenge isn't a home and home like the rest of the non-con tends to be. The conferences get together each year to try to figure out what will be good match-ups, and I believe the networks even have a say in it relative to ratings.

Craig Carson 3 years, 12 months ago

2...I respect Nova but Im getting tired of losing to them as well...If Nova brought back Spellmen and that #10 kid (cant spell his name) then they would have had a real shot to win in Lawrence..but without them, there is no reason KU shouldnt beat them by 25+

Jason Venable 3 years, 12 months ago

Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns - Sun Belt Conference

Dirk Medema 4 years ago

Mr. Staff Reporter, Matt, ... Will there be one or more articles about the opponents. Who they lose? Who they have coming? At least 3 of them have about as much turnover as us, though I don't think anyone has as much reload as we do.

Tom Jones 3 years, 12 months ago

Good heavens, that's a beastly schedule. Four, possibly five top ten teams? Quite a test for this young but loaded team.

Clark Groseth 3 years, 12 months ago

OMG! Dec. 4th! WOFFORD! Remember what happened to Ol' Roy last year!

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