Kansas Basketball releases non-conference schedule for upcoming basketball season

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 30: head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks looks on during practice before the 2018 Men's NCAA Final Four at the Alamodome on March 30, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 30: head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks looks on during practice before the 2018 Men's NCAA Final Four at the Alamodome on March 30, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Kansas basketball released its non-conference schedule, including games against Duke, Villanova and Stanford.

Kansas basketball is one of the premier programs in not just the Big 12 conference, but all of college basketball. Every year, it always seems to find itself at the top of the league standings proven by winning a record 14 consecutive Big 12 regular season titles.

The record was broken this season as the Jayhawks finished third in the standings, which is something they have not done since 2004, when Keith Langford, Aaron Miles, Sasha Kaun and Wayne Simien were all a part of the team.

A big part of why Kansas has sustained its success is due to scheduling. Since the “streak” began, the Jayhawks have been outside the Top 10 in of strength of schedule only six times.

This proves that even though Kansas has gotten some of the biggest and brightest, it has done so against some of the best teams in the country. Not only that, but the Big 12 conference has been in the top five in RPI every single year since 2004-05, except 2006-07.

This next season is no different.

Kansas men’s basketball officially released its 12-game non-conference schedule on Monday.

The schedule pits the Jayhawks against teams such as Duke from the ACC, who they will play in the Champions Classic, Monmouth from the MEAC and the Maui Intivitaional, which could potentially feature matchups against Georgia or Michigan State.

After that, they will continue the non-conference slate including games against Colorado from the Pac-12, Villanova from the Big East and Stanford from the Pac-12. The non-conference schedule closes out in the Big 12-SEC challenge against an opponent decided at a later time.

Kansas’ non-conference opponents had a combined 218-150 record last season, a winning percentage of 68%.

As you may remember, the Jayhawks know Duke quite well, as they faced the Blue Devils in the Elite Eight in 2018, winning the game 85-81 in overtime thanks to a Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk three with less than five seconds to go in regulation.

This will be the first matchup against Monmouth, a team that had a down year last year. The Hawks started the year 0-12, but ended up positioning themselves to go to the conference title game where they lost to the Iona Gaels.

Colorado used to be in the Big 12, so it is a familiar face for Kansas. The Jayhawks lead the series 123-40, but lost the last game of the series in 2013 in Boulder 72-75.

Kansas will play the University of Missori-Kansas City, which is just an hour down the road from the Jayhawks. UMKC will get to play Kansas in the Sprint Center as part of this year’s Jayhawk Shootout game.

The last time these two met was back in 2016 in a game the Jayhawks dominated 105-62, also dominating the series leading the series winning seven games to zero.

Villanova is also very familiar to Jayhawk fans as it was welcomed to the “Phog” just this past December. Kansas took the game in Allen Fieldhouse 74-71 as revenge for the absolute thrashing in the Final Four in 2018.

Finally, closing it out with Stanford, this is also a team that has given Kansas a bitter taste in its mouth when the Cardinal broke the Jayhawks’ heart in the infamous 60-57 loss in the NCAA tournament Sweet Sixteen game. But, Kansas has gotten revenge since, winning two games in Lawrence in 2016 and 2018, and once in Sacramento winning that game 75-54 in 2017.

Key player(s) to watch in each game

Duke- With center Zion Williamson and guards RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish all declaring for and staying in the draft, look for point guard Tre Jones to lead the charge for the Blue Devils, who averaged 9.4 points per game last season. As the supposed leader of this team, alongside the #4 rated recruiting class according to 247Sports, that includes star incoming freshmen power forward Matthew Hurt and guard Cassius Stanley, Jones could give Kansas a run for its money.

Monmouth- The one thing that Monmouth has going for it is the experience heading into this season, losing only one senior and graduate player. This is a team that shot only 29% from three, but it could look to Deion Hammond more to carry that load and raise that percentage overall for the team.

Colorado- Colorado was selected to the NIT tournament last season, a year in which the Pac-12 only sent three teams to the NCAA Tournament. A bright spot however was guard Tyler Bey, who will be a junior this year. Bey shot 78% from the line and a  field goal percentage of 54%. If he can put it all together and get his three point shot to start falling, he is a guy everyone is going to want to start taking notice of. When the Buffaloes come to Allen Fieldhouse in December, he will most certainly be on coach Bill Self’s radar.

UMKC- The Kangaroos come into next season looking to answer a lot of questions, as they fired then-coach Kareem Andersen. Now with Billy Donlon as the new coach, there is a lot of expectation to see what can happen. A guy they will lean on heavily as he started 31 of 31 games is Xavier Bishop, who averaged 15.8 points per game his junior season, being the main rim attacker on the team. If UMKC wants a chance to win, he is going to have to come up big for the Kangaroos late in games.

Villanova-After winning the National Title in 2018, there was a lot of turnover into the 2018-19 season. Losing Jalen Brunson, Donte Divincenzo and Omari Spellman to the draft and losing seniors like Tom Leibig, Matt Kennedy and Denny Grace to graduation, Villanova was quickly on the offensive to see who it could get to fill those spots. Highly touted as a five star freshman, Jahvon Quinerly was a big question mark throughout all of last year, eventually only logging 3.2 points per game in 25 games for the Wildcats. Quinerly couldn’t find his groove in that offense, much like Quentin Grimes at Kansas, with moments of stellar play and the being totally out of the equation in others. He chose to enter his name into the transfer portal and headed to Alabama, so now it is up to Collin Gillespie to be a main contributor. He averaged 10.9 points per game last season, shooting the ball at just about 41% from the field and from the line at just under 84%.

Stanford-With Reid Travis gone, Stanford was able to find and run its offense through KZ Okpala, who scored 22 points against Kansas last season. He averaged close to 17 points a game and 46% from the field. He will continue to make Kansas work and will be a guy the Jayhawks cannot afford to leave open.

With this schedule, Kansas will look to start a new streak and get back to the winning ways that have made who they are to begin with.

"“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,” Self said in a news release Monday morning. “Larry is retiring soon, and he did it once again for this upcoming year as we will play a solid schedule.”"

Jeff Goodman, former ESPN analyst and now basketball analyst has with Stadium released his preseason Top 25 list and has Kansas at #2 in the country