LAWRENCE, Kansas – Kansas men’s basketball annually has one of the toughest schedules in the nation and its 2013-14 non-conference slate will be as competitive as ever with the likes of Duke, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Georgetown and San Diego State along with several other major conference favorites.
“We’ve always played a schedule that has a great RPI (rating percentage index) and we’ve always played a tough non-conference schedule that prepared us for the league, but this year our schedule will rival any schedule that we’ve ever played,” said Kansas head coach Bill Self who enters his 11th season at KU in 2013-14. “Duke, at Colorado, at Florida, New Mexico, Georgetown, San Diego State, then you throw in the Battle 4 Atlantis and other schools that have experienced success of late – this will certainly be a difficult a schedule, especially when you’re replacing five starters. This is probably not the brightest thing I’ve done since I’ve been here, but it’s a schedule that will force us to get ready at an accelerated pace.”
The 2013-14 non-conference schedule, along with the Big 12 Conference’s round-robin format, will help keep Kansas’ strength of schedule among the nation’s best. Strength of schedule is a factor in the RPI, one of the tools the NCAA Basketball Committee uses to select and seed teams in the NCAA Tournament. Kansas’ RPI has checked in at No. 5 or better in five of the last six seasons under head coach Bill Self; it was No. 1 in 2010 and 2011, and fifth in 2012 and 2013.
The typically tough Kansas non-conference schedule potentially includes 10 opponents who advanced to the 2013 postseason (eight NCAA, two NIT), including five foes who either won their regular-season or conference tournament titles last year. The eight 2013 NCAA participants on the KU schedule for 2013-14 include: Colorado, Duke, Georgetown, Florida, Iona, New Mexico, San Diego State and possibly Villanova. Iowa and Tennessee, like Villanova, are in the Battle 4 Atlantis event and played in the 2013 NIT.
Kansas will play Duke Nov. 12 in the United Center in Chicago in the third annual Champions Classic doubleheader. Michigan State faces Kentucky in the other game of the event. the first Champions Classic was played at Madison Square Garden in 2011 and the second at the Georgia Dome last November.
Kansas will make its first appearance in the Battle 4 Atlantis at Paradise Island, Bahamas. The Jayhawks’ first game in the Battle 4 Atlantis will be in Allen Fieldhouse – Nov. 22 vs. Towson. From there KU will play three games in the Bahamas. The brackets have yet to be set, but the eight confirmed teams participating in the event include: Kansas, Villanova, Tennessee, Iowa, UTEP, Xavier, USC and Wake Forest.
The following is a breakdown and series information of the 2013-14 Kansas non-conference opponents:
–Louisiana Monroe (Nov. 8 in Lawrence) did not have a senior on its 2012-13 roster and will be KU’s season opener. Kansas won the lone meeting with ULM 107-78 on Nov. 9, 2007, in Allen Fieldhouse.
–Duke (Nov. 12 in Chicago at the Champions Classic) went 30-6 last season and won the Battle 4 Atlantis. The traditional powers are meeting for the first time since the title game of the 2011 Maui Invitational, when the Blue Devils edged the Jayhawks 68-61. Duke leads the series 7-2 and this will be the eighth time in its 10 meetings these two teams have met on a neutral floor.
–Iona (Nov. 19 in Lawrence) went 20-14 in 2012-13 and won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference post-season Championship.. The Gaels have gone to two consecutive NCAA Tournaments. They lost to Ohio State, 95-70, in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Kansas leads the series with Iona, 2-1, with the last meeting at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 29, 1988, a 100-67 KU victory.
–Towson (Nov. 22 in Lawrence, first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis) had the largest turnaround in NCAA history, going 18-13 last season after finishing 1-31 in 2011-12. Towson’s 18 wins were its most since going 21-9 in 1993-94. KU is 2-0 against Towson, with both wins in Allen Fieldhouse: 87-61 on Nov. 19, 2006 and 100-54 on Nov. 11, 2011.
–Colorado (Dec. 7 in Boulder) went 21-12 last season and posted its third consecutive 20-win season for the first time in school history under head coach and former Jayhawk Tad Boyle. Kansas is 123-39 all-time against its former conference foe, including a 40-26 record in Boulder. The Jayhawks have won 21 straight against the Buffaloes dating back to 2003, including a 90-54 win in Allen Fieldhouse last season.
–Florida (Dec. 10 in Gainesville) won the 2013 SEC regular-season champions with a 14-4 record (29-8 overall). UF has advanced to the last three NCAA Tournament Elite Eights. This matchup will the first meeting between KU and Florida since the Jayhawks defeated the then-No. 1 Gators 82-80 in overtime in the championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 25, 2006.
–New Mexico (Dec. 14 in Kansas City) won both the Mountain West Conference regular-season and tournament titles in 2012-13 going 29-6 overall and 13-3 in conference play. The regular-season title was its fourth in the last five seasons. The KU-UNM Kansas City Shootout game in the Sprint Center will be the schools’ first meeting since 1964, a 59-40 KU victory in Allen Fieldhouse. UNM won the only other matchup the season before, 102-51, in Albuquerque.
–Traditional power Georgetown (Dec. 21 in Lawrence) won a share of the 2012-13 Big EAST Conference regular-season title going 25-7 overall and 14-4 in league play. The conference title was the third for head coach John Thompson III. The KU-Georgetown series is tied at 1-1, with Georgetown winning, 70-57, in the 1987 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in Louisville, Ky., and Kansas edging GU, 67-63, in the opening round of the 2011 Maui Invitational.
–Toledo (Dec. 30 in Lawrence) tied Western Michigan for first in the 2012-13 Mid-America Conference West Division with a 15-13 overall and 10-6 league record. KU won the lone meeting with Toledo, 68-58, on Dec. 9, 2006, at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.
–San Diego State (Jan. 5 in Lawrence) is coming off a 23-11 season in which it advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament after defeating Big 12 foe Oklahoma in the second round. The KU-SDSU series is tied at 1-1, yet the two teams have not faced each other since 1979, a 79-66 KU win in Allen Fieldhouse. San Diego State won the first meeting the season before, 81-69, in San Diego.
Kansas will open the 2013-14 season with home exhibition games against Pittsburg State (Oct. 29) and Fort Hays State (Nov. 5).
For the third-straight year KU will have home-and-home meetings against all nine Big 12 Conference foes. Besides Kansas, other conference teams that participated in the 2013 NCAA Tournament included Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Baylor won the 2013 NIT. The Big 12 traditionally releases that schedule in July.
Season ticket sales for KU’s 18 home games, the 17 in Allen Fieldhouse and the Dec. 14 game against New Mexico in the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., will go on sale May 9 at 9 a.m. To order tickets fans must be active members of the Williams Education Fund, which can be done by making a minimum gift pledge of just $100.
KU has led its conference in home attendance each of the last 27 seasons, dating back to the 1986-87 season. The Jayhawks will look to capture a 10th consecutive Big 12 regular-season championship in 2013-14.
2013-14 Kansas Men’s Basketball Schedule (as of May 2, 2013)
Date (Day) – Opponent, Site (notes)
Oct. 29 (Tuesday) – PITTSBURG STATE, Lawrence, Kan. (Exhibition)
Nov. 5 (Tuesday) – FORT HAYS STATE, Lawrence, Kan. (Exhibition)
Nov. 8 (Friday) – LOUISIANA MONROE, Lawrence, Kan.
Nov. 12 (Tuesday) – Duke, Chicago, Ill. (Champions Classic, United Center)
Nov. 19 (Tuesday) – IONA, Lawrence, Kan.
Nov. 22 (Friday) – TOWSON, Lawrence, Kan. (Battle 4 Atlantis first round game)
Nov. 28 (Thursday) – TBD, Paradise Island, Bahamas (Battle 4 Atlantis)
Nov. 29 (Friday) – TBD, Paradise Island, Bahamas (Battle 4 Atlantis)
Nov. 30 (Saturday) – TBD, Paradise Island, Bahamas (Battle 4 Atlantis)
Dec. 7 (Saturday) – at Colorado, Boulder, Colo.
Dec. 10 (Tuesday) – at Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
Dec. 14 (Saturday) – NEW MEXICO, Kansas City, Mo. (Kansas City Shootout at Sprint Center)
Dec. 21 (Saturday) – GEORGETOWN, Lawrence, Kan.
Dec. 30 (Monday) – TOLEDO, Lawrence, Kan.
Jan. 5 (Sunday) – SAN DIEGO STATE, Lawrence, Kan.