With last week’s wrapping up of Kansas’ 2013-14 non-conference schedule, there’s little doubt that fans everywhere are eagerly anticipating next season.
With a heralded recruiting class coming, including one that could still grow and some great talent returning, the Jayhawks will take aim at an astonishing 10th straight Big 12 championship, as well as another deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
First, however, Bill Self will have a young team that will get an extremely tough introduction to college basketball.
The schedule will begin with their customary two exhibitions games at Allen Fieldhouse, this year against Pittsburg State and Fort Hays State on October 29 and November 5, respectively.
The regular season will begin Friday, November 8 at home against Louisiana-Monroe.
From there, the gauntlet begins for Self’s young pups, when they travel to Chicago to face fellow college basketball power Duke in the Champions Classic, Tuesday, November 12.
Following two games in the Fieldhouse against Iona and Towson, the Jayhawks will travel to the Bahamas to take part in the Battle for Atlantis tournament over Thanksgiving weekend. Tennessee, Southern California, UTEP, Villanova, Xavier, Wake Forest and Iowa will be the other participating teams. It will also provide the young team with a chance to bond and gel early in the season.
From there, it gets tougher, as KU travels to Boulder on December 7, to face former Big 12 mate Colorado. The Jayhawks routed the Buffaloes, last season in Lawrence.
Three nights later, comes a primetime blockbuster matchup at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, when Kansas faces Billy Donovan and Florida. The two schools have met before, with the most memorable game coming in 2006, when the Jayhawks rallied to defeat the then defending and eventual repeat National Champion Gators behind big efforts from players that would eventually capture a title of their own in 2008.
After the Florida showdown, Kansas will take on a solid New Mexico team on December 14 at the Sprint Center. Kansas was undefeated in eight Sprint Center games last season, while the Lobos were a three seed in the NCAA Tournament before a first round upset at the hands of Harvard.
The following will bring a titanic matchup in Allen Fieldhouse, when KU welcomes longtime power Georgetown on December 21.
Following a break and a home game with Toledo on December 30, Kansas closes it’s brutal non-conference slate with a big time game against Steve Fisher’s San Diego State Aztecs, a program that has elevated dramatically under the former Michigan coach, who has one National Championship and three Final Four trips on his resume.
The loaded list of games to start the season will no doubt have the Jayhawks in prime position to jump right in to Big 12 play, as they will be gunning for another title amidst tough competition. But, a non-conference schedule like this could have them prime for even bigger games further down the road.