The Kansas Jayhawks annual schedule rollout has begun.
Conference schedule releases become very predictable, but non-conference schedules can throw a few curveballs. Every year, the Jayhawks compete with three other blue-blood schools in the Champions Classic. This event provides an exciting battle of titans, despite the fact that the Jayhawks have lost their last two Champions Classic games at the hands of Michigan State and Kentucky. With these being the great advantages of the non-conference schedule, KU will also have plenty of “gimme” games come November. Let’s find out how KU will fare outside of the Big 12.
Kansas vs. Washburn (Exhibition) – November 1
The Jayhawks open up their annual exhibition slate with a game against the Ichabods at the beginning of November. The game gives fans a chance to scout the players and for the players to get adjusted to what Bill Self says is their “first time under the lights.”
Kansas vs. Emporia State (Exhibition) – November 7
Kansas concludes their preseason with a visit from the nearby Hornets of Emporia State. This game will be the final full scrimmage for the Jayhawks before their trip to Hawaii and their Champions Classic matchup.
Armed Forces Classic – Kansas vs. Indiana – November 11
Indiana is still hot after their thrilling victory over the Kentucky Wildcats back in March, but the Jayhawks are prone to starting the season off with a win. Indiana might we without their star Yogi Ferrell, but the Hoosiers will be ready to play out in Honolulu. Both programs were in Hawaii last year for the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.
2015-16 record: 27-8
My Prediction: KU, 77-65
Champions Classic – Kansas vs. Duke – November 15
The Jayhawks will be taking a big swing early in the schedule, taking on the preseason number one Duke Blue Devils, getting immediately tested in Madison Square Garden. With the addition of Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden the Blue Devils will strike with young talent against the plethora of returning Jayhawks and freshman Josh Jackson. One of these powerhouses is going to kick off a fresh season with an L, which both top-shelf programs will want to avoid.
2015-16 record: 25-11
My Prediction: Duke, 87-85 OT
Kansas vs. Siena – November 18
Remember when Kansas faced Lafayette last year in Allen Fieldhouse? Well, the game against the Siena Saints should be very similar. These games against the MAAC and other smaller conferences are usually the closest thing KU gets to a regular-season exhibition game.
2015-16 record: 21-13
My Prediction: KU, 95-64
CBC Hall of Fame Classic – Kansas, UAB, Georgia, George Washington – November 21-22
This year, the Jayhawks will be participating in a less-grueling holiday tournament compared to last years’ Maui Invitational. Kansas is slated to either face UAB, Georgia, or George Washington in the four team tournament field. George Washington is the reigning NIT Champion.
My Prediction: KU wins the CBE Classic
Kansas vs. UNC Asheville – November 25
2016 NCAA Tournament participant UNC Asheville takes to the court in Allen Fieldhouse to face the Jayhawks in late November. The reigning Big South Champion Bulldogs will have to muster everything they have in the 16,300 capacity crowd.
2015-16 record: 22-12
My Prediction: KU, 90-50
Kansas vs. Long Beach State – November 29
The Long Beach State 49ers visit Lawrence for what will be a one-sided bout with the Jayhawks. The 49ers finished last season at 20-15, led by guard Nick Faust. Kansas faces their second Big West foe in three seasons.
2015-16 record: 20-15
My Prediction: KU, 81-55
Kansas vs. Stanford – December 3
The Stanford Cardinal visit Kansas for the Jayhawks’ first game in December. The Cardinal struggled in the 2015-16 season, but are hoping to get back on track for a high PAC 12 finish.
2015-16 record: 15-15
My Prediction: KU, 76-40
Kansas vs. Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) – December 6
The nearby UMKC Kangaroos will make the short trek to Lawrence to face off against the Jayhawks. The ‘Roos finished the 2015-16 season at 12-19, and went 4-10 in the Western Athletic Conference.
2015-16 record: 12-19
My Prediction: KU, 95-40
Kansas vs. Nebraska – December 10
It is going to be a barn-burner when the Nebraska Cornhuskers make the visit to Lawrence. The two foes have not faced each other since Nebraska disbanded from the Big 12 back in 2011. The December 10 game will close the 2016 home slate for the Jayhawks.
2015-16 record: 16-18
My Prediction: KU, 80-47
Kansas City Jayhawk Shootout – Kansas vs. Davidson – December 17
No, Steph Curry will not be playing for the Wildcats, so KU should be fine here. However, the last time these two teams met, Davidson beat Kansas without Curry as the Wildcats stunned the No. 11 Jayhawks back in December 2011.
2015-16 record: 20-13
My Prediction: KU, 81-47
Kansas @ UNLV – December 22
Three days before Christmas, the Jayhawks will finally play their first true road game. After Runnin’ Rebels coach Dave Rice left, they were quickly forced to fill the position. Vegas may host rodeos in the Thomas and Mack Center, but the Jayhawks will be the ones roping up UNLV in the holiday battle.
2015-16 record: 18-15
My Prediction: KU, 90-74
Big 12/SEC Challenge – Kansas @ Kentucky – January 28
After a much anticipated KU vs. UK matchup in January, the two decided to do it again, this time in Rupp Arena. Kansas edged Kentucky in overtime last season, prompting what many say would be a desired rematch for the fresh (freshman) John Calipari roster.
2015-16 record: 27-9
My Prediction: KU, 74-73 OT
With the exception of a significant challenge ending in a loss in New York against Duke and a narrow victory over Kentucky, it should be a cakewalk into conference play for Kansas. Only one loss outside of the Big 12 will surely set the tone for the rest of the season.