With just a few games left in the non-conference schedule, Kansas basketball has to stay focused.
Some teams struggle to get up for games against unimpressive opponents, but Kansas basketball has shown up for every game they’ve played so far this season. The Jayhawks have another seemingly unimportant matchup against Kansas City tomorrow in the Sprint Center, and the Jayhawks have to continue to not let distractions take over.
What makes this game different is the one that comes after it though.
Exactly one week after the Jayhawks take on UMKC, they’ll hit the road for their first true road game against #20 Villanova, and it may be tempting to look past the struggling Roos. UMKC has lost three out of their last four games and is sitting at 5-6 on the season so far.
Assuming Kansas gets the win over UMKC and on the road against Villanova, the Jayhawks will still have another test when they travel again, this time to Stanford.
Once again, a road game against Stanford is probably a tough game to get excited for after taking on top 20 Villanova and having the holidays right around the corner. The game against Stanford almost seems like a trap, which is why it’s so important for Bill Self to keep Kansas focused.
After Stanford, Kansas basketball will have a quick break before starting Big 12 play on January fourth, which is less than a month away. The non-conference schedule has flown by, probably due to the quality of teams the Jayhawks have played.
As of now, Kansas plays the 27th toughest non-conference schedule in the nation according to kenpom.com. To put that into perspective, only two other teams in the current AP top 10 have tougher schedules according to KenPom, and both of those teams (Oregon and Michigan) have two losses each compared to Kansas’ one loss.
While staying focused hasn’t become a problem yet, these last few non-conference games pose the biggest challenge mentally. If the Jayhawks can have only one loss through their schedule leading up to Big 12 play, it’ll surely help Kansas on Selection Sunday.