The NCAA’s metrics may have changed, but the story stays the same. Kansas men’s basketball annually plays one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the nation, and the 2019-20 slate is no exception.
Kansas could potentially play seven schools from Power 5 conferences. Add to that another battle with national foe Villanova in the Big 12-Big East Challenge, a to-be-determined opponent in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, plus the always tough Big 12 slate, and the Jayhawks are once again set up for one of the hardest schedules in the nation for this upcoming season.
“First, I want to thank Larry Keating for all his efforts making our schedule one of the toughest in the nation in his 16 years at KU,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “Larry is retiring soon and he did it once again for this upcoming year as we will play a solid schedule.”
The season starts off with a bang – Duke in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden. Kansas will then participate in its seventh Maui Jim Maui Invitational, which the Jayhawks have won twice, in 1996 and 2015. This will mark the fourth time in the Bill Self era Kansas has played in the Maui Invitational. This year’s field includes Power 5 schools Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Georgia and UCLA.
“It starts with Duke in the Champions Classic in New York and then there’s a stacked field in Hawaii at the Maui Invitational,” Self said. “And it goes on and on, with Colorado coming to Allen Fieldhouse and road games at Villanova and Stanford. The other teams will all be tough as well. We don’t know our SEC opponent, but we’re sure that will be a prime time game as always. Like in the past, the nonconference schedule will be great preparation for the Big 12.”
In 2018-19, the NCAA Evaluation Tool (“NET”) showed that the Jayhawks endured the strongest schedule in the nation among the 353 teams in Division I. Kansas’ opponents last season had an average NET ranking of 54th, a figure that led the nation.
Referring to the NCAA’s measurement before the NET, for the last 10 seasons Kansas has ranked no lower than fifth nationally in the final Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), which included a No. 4 rating following the 2018-19 season. Three of those times – 2010, 2011 and 2016 – the Jayhawks had the nation’s No. 1 RPI.
KU’s strength of schedule has ranked in the top 10 in nine of Bill Self’s 16 seasons. During that span, KU has had the nation’s toughest schedule four times: 2004-05, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2018-19.
Kansas is coming off a 26-10 season in which the Jayhawks finished third in the Big 12 with a 12-6 league record. KU won the 2018 NIT Season Tip-Off, with victories over Marquette and Tennessee, and advanced to the title game of the 2019 Big 12 Championship. Kansas added to its record for consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, making its 30th straight. After going 17-0 at home last season, including 16-0 in Allen Fieldhouse, the Jayhawks enter 2018-19 with the fourth-longest home court winning streak at 21 games.
The Big 12 Conference schedule will be released later in the summer. Season ticket sales for KU’s home games, including the Dec. 14 game against UMKC at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, are on sale at KUAthletics.com. To order season tickets, fans must be active members of the Williams Education Fund; ticket orders are due July 13. Men’s basketball season tickets are allocated according to Williams Education Fund policies and subject to availability. More information is available through the Williams Education Fund at[email protected] or 785.864.3946.
Following is a complete list of KU’s 2019-20 non-conference opponents, along with their 2019 postseason accomplishments:
Duke (Nov. 5, New York, N.Y., Champions Classic) reached the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight for the second straight season in 2018-19 posting a 32-6 record and finishing third in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 14-4 league mark. The Blue Devils won the 2019 ACC Tournament. Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski enters his 40th season at Duke and his 45th overall. Duke leads the overall series with Kansas, 7-5, but the Jayhawks have won the last three meetings, with the most recent being an 85-81 overtime win in the 2018 Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament that propelled KU to its 15th Final Four.
Kansas is 4-4 in the Champions Classic, which features national powers KU, Michigan State, Duke and Kentucky. The Jayhawks have won their last three Champions Classic contests – against Michigan State in 2018, Kentucky in 2017 and Duke in 2016. In fact, in the 2016-17 season, Kansas defeated all three of the other Champions Classic participants.
UNC Greensboro (Nov. 8, Lawrence) went 29-7 in 2018-19 and finished second in the Southern Conference with a 15-3 league record. The Spartans advanced to the second round of the postseason NIT. UNCG is coached by Wes Miller, who is 141-117 in eight seasons as the Spartans’ head coach. Kansas and UNCG will be meeting for the first time.
Monmouth (Nov. 15, Lawrence) comes out of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, where it went 14-21 overall and 10-8 in the league, placing sixth. The Hawks are coached by King Rice, who is 131-133 in eight seasons at MU. Monmouth and Kansas will be meeting for the first time.
East Tennessee State (Nov. 19, Lawrence) went 24-10 last season and tied for third in the Southern Conference with a 13-5 league mark. The Buccaneers lost in the first round of the postseason CIT. ETSU is coached by Steve Forbes, who is 100-39 in four seasons at ETSU, his lone NCAA Division I coaching stop. Kansas is 3-0 all-time versus East Tennessee State, the last being on Jan. 4, 1996, a KU 108-73 win in Allen Fieldhouse. The East Tennessee State matchup is a home contest for the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.
Nov. 25-27 (Maui Jim Maui Invitational)
Bracket matchups for the 2019 Maui Jim Maui Invitational will be released this summer. Joining KU in the field is host Chaminade, Dayton, Georgia, Michigan State, UCLA, Virginia Tech and Yale. Kansas is 3-0 vs. Chaminade, 1-1 vs. Dayton, 4-0 vs. Georgia, 6-7 vs. Michigan State, 8-10 vs. UCLA, 0-0 vs. Virginia Tech and 3-0 vs. Yale.
The Jayhawks have a combined 14-6 record in this event (counting home games that are part of the tournament), 12-6 in games played in Maui. In KU’s 1988 NCAA National Championship season, the Jayhawks placed fourth in the event, going 1-2. Kansas won the 1996 Maui Invitational, defeating LSU, California and Virginia. Raef LaFrentz was named the MVP. In 2001, KU finished third in the event with a 2-1 record. Drew Gooden was a member of the all-tournament team and was the first Jayhawk on the Maui Invitational all-tourney list, which began in 2000.
KU has appeared in the invitational three times under Bill Self. In 2005, the Jayhawks placed seventh, losing to Arizona and Arkansas before defeating Chaminade. In 2011, KU finished runner-up, defeating Georgetown and UCLA before falling to Duke in the title game. Jayhawk Thomas Robinson was named to the 2011 Maui All-Tournament Team. Later that season KU would advance to the Final Four, finishing runner-up. In 2015, Kansas won the event with victories over Chaminade, UCLA and Vanderbilt. KU’s Wayne Selden Jr. and Frank Mason III were named co-MVPs, and were joined on the all-tournament team by teammate Perry Ellis.
Colorado (Dec. 7, Lawrence) and Kansas will be meeting for the 164th time, with Kansas leading the series, 123-40. These two old conference brethren first met in 1931; CU won the last meeting, 75-72, on Dec. 7, 2013, in Boulder, Colorado. CU went 23-13 last year and tied for fourth in the Pac-12 Conference with a 10-8 league record. The Buffs lost to Big 12 foe Texas in the third round of the postseason NIT. Colorado is coached by former KU guard Tad Boyle, who is 189-123 in nine seasons at CU and 245-189 in 13 seasons overall.
UW-Milwaukee (Dec. 10, Lawrence) comes out of the Horizon League where it went 9-22 last year and placed 10th on the conference with a 4-14 record. The Panthers are coached by Pat Baldwin, who is 25-39 in two seasons at UWM. Kansas is 1-0 against UW-Milwaukee with the lone being 73-62 on Dec. 22, 2004, at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri.
UMKC (Dec. 14, Kansas City, Mo.) will be under new leadership in 2018-19, as Billy Donlon takes the reigns after serving as an assistant coach at Northwestern. Donlon posted a 109-94 record in six seasons at Wright State from 2010-11 through 2015-16. Last year, UMKC went 11-21 overall and tied for seventh in the Western Athletic Conference with a 6-10 league record.
Villanova (Dec. 21, Philadelphia, Pa.) and Kansas will be meeting for the third-straight season as KU will be making a return trip to Philadelphia. Last season Kansas defeated Villanova, 74-71, in Allen Fieldhouse. This will also count for both teams in the Big 12-Big East Challenge, which begins in 2019-20. Coming off an NCAA title season in 2017-18, Villanova went 26-10 last year and won the Big East title with a 13-5 league record. The Wildcats also won the Big East Tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In 18 seasons at Villanova, Jay Wright is 448-175 with 14 NCAA Tournament appearances and two NCAA Championships (2016 and 2018), defeating Kansas during both title runs. Dating back to 1968, this series is tied at 4-4, with KU ending a Villanova three game win streak last year.
Stanford (Dec. 29, Stanford, Calif.) and Kansas will be meeting for the fourth-straight year and the first time at Stanford. Last season, KU edged Stanford, 90-84 in overtime in Allen Fieldhouse. The Cardinal went 15-16 last season and tied for eighth in the Pac-12 Conference with an 8-10 league record. Stanford fourth-year head coach Jerod Haase will face his alma mater for the fourth-straight season. Haase’s 1,264 points rank 33rd on the KU all-time scoring list. He also ranks on the Kansas career lists in 3-point field goals made (14th at 156), 3-pointers attempted (ninth at 461), assists (19th at 343) and steals (12th at 174). Kansas leads the series with Stanford, 11-3; this series dates back to 1932.
Jan. 25, Big 12/SEC Challenge – KU is 4-2 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
Fort Hays State (Oct. 24, Lawrence) will open the 2019-20 season for Kansas with an exhibition contest Oct. 24. Kansas is 11-0 all-time against FHSU, including a 9-0 record in exhibition meetings. Last year the Tigers were 18-11 and 12-7 in the MIAA. Mark Johnson is Fort Hays State’s all-time winningest coach, posting a 359-172 record in 18 seasons.
Pittsburg State (Oct. 31, Lawrence) and Kansas will meet on Halloween for the second straight time when the Gorillas come to Allen Fieldhouse. KU is 12-0 against PSU with eight of those meetings being exhibition contests. Last season Pitt State posted a 17-13 record, including a 9-10 mark in the MIAA. Pitt State is coached by former Missouri standout Kim Anderson, who is 34-26 in two seasons at PSU and 335-188 for his career.
Kansas Men’s Basketball 2018-19 Nonconference Schedule (home games in ALL CAPS)
Oct. 24 (Thursday) – FORT HAYS STATE (EXHIBITION)
Oct. 31 (Thursday) – PITTSBURG STATE (EXHIBITION)
Nov. 5 (Tuesday) – Duke (New York, N.Y., Champions Classic)
Nov. 8 (Friday) – UNC GREENSBORO
Nov. 15 (Friday) – MONMOUTH
Nov. 19 (Tuesday) – EAST TENNESSEE STATE (Maui Jim Maui Invitational home contest)
Nov. 25 (Monday) – Maui Jim Maui Invitational
Nov. 26 (Tuesday) – Maui Jim Maui Invitational
Nov. 27 (Wednesday) – Maui Jim Maui Invitational
Dec. 7 (Saturday) – COLORADO
Dec. 10 (Tuesday) – UW-MILWAUKEE
Dec. 14 (Saturday) – UMKC (Kansas City, Mo., Jayhawk Shootout)
Dec. 21 (Saturday) – at Villanova (Big East Series)
Dec. 29 (Sunday) – at Stanford
Jan. 25 (Saturday) – Big 12/SEC Challenge (Lawrence, Kan.)
March 11-14 – Big 12 Championship (Kansas City, Mo.)
2020 NCAA Tournament Dates and Sites
March 15 – Selection Sunday
March 17-18 – First Four (Dayton, Ohio)
March 19 & 21 – First/Second Rounds (Albany, N.Y.; Spokane, Wash.; St. Louis, Mo.; Tampa, Fla.)
March 20 & 22 – First/Second Rounds (Greensboro, N.C.; Omaha, Neb.; Sacramento, Calif.; Cleveland, Ohio)
March 26 & 28 – Regional (Midwest at Indianapolis, Ind.; West at Los Angeles, Calif.)
March 27 & 29 – Regional (South at Houston, Texas; East at New York, N.Y.)
April 4 & 6 – Final Four (Atlanta, Ga.)