Even with the loss of all five starters from this season’s Big 12 champion squad, Kansas head coach Bill Self won’t be accused of ducking competition in 2013-14.
Kansas released its non-conference schedule on Thursday, and to say the least the Jayhawks will be well-tested by the time Big 12 play rolls around.
In addition to appearances in the Champions Classic (vs. Duke in Chicago) and the Battle 4 Atlantis, Kansas has road games against Colorado and Florida while also welcoming solid mid-majors such as Iona and Towson to Lawrence.
Oh, there are also games against New Mexico (in Kansas City), Georgetown and San Diego State.
“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,” Self said in the release.
“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 as 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.”
Also taking part in the Battle 4 Atlantis are Iowa, Xavier, UTEP, Villanova, Tennessee, Wake Forest and USC. The Jayhawks’ full non-conference schedule breaks down as follows:
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 (Saturday) – 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.
The Jayhawks have won at least a share of the last nine Big 12 regular season titles, a streak that could be in jeopardy based not only on the talent leaving Lawrence but also returning to Baylor and Oklahoma State.
But if anything has been learned during Self’s tenure it’s to not write off the Jayhawks. This non-conference schedule certainly doesn’t lack for challenges, and that will help Kansas in its preparation for league play.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.