LAWRENCE – Kansas men’s basketball has always produced one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the nation and the 2020-21 slate is no different.
The Jayhawks’ 18-game home schedule renews an old rival with Missouri, a battle against preseason top-10 foe Creighton, clashes with Pac-12 foe USC and Ivy League power Harvard.
Adding the Big 12 Conference contests, Kansas will potentially face 10 teams, 12 games, currently ranked in the NCAA March Madness Power 36 for 2020-21, with No. 2 Baylor and No. 4 Creighton each ranked ahead of No. 7 Kansas. Kentucky at No. 8, Virginia (10), Texas Tech (17), West Virginia (18), UCLA (19), Texas (22) and Oklahoma (26) are also potential upcoming KU foes ranked in the NCAA March Madness preseason poll. Virginia and UCLA, along with Georgetown, are part of the Wooden Legacy Tournament, Nov. 26-27, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. Additionally, these figures do not include KU’s Jan. 30 opponent for the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
“Once again we will have one of the toughest schedules in the country,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “We have a minimum of four games against teams that will be ranked in the preseason top 10 with Kentucky, Creighton and Baylor. And that does not even mention the other teams that will be ranked like USC, Colorado, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Texas and the SEC opponent just to mention a few. I’m already excited for the season and know our fans will be as well.”
Kansas Athletics recently announced that for the 2020-21 season, Allen Fieldhouse will expand from three to eight pricing tiers, including four tiers that are lower than any season ticket price from last season. This new structure will lower the cost of season tickets for almost 45 percent of Allen Fieldhouse season ticket holders from last year.
Additionally, the Dec. 12 Border Showdown vs. Missouri at the Sprint Center is only available by purchasing season tickets through KU. Once KU season ticket sales are completed, all remaining inventory for the Dec. 12 game will be made available to Missouri. If they do not sell that allotment, those limited tickets will be made available to the general public.
To order season tickets, fans must be active members of the Williams Education Fund, which starts at $100 annually. Men’s basketball season tickets are allocated according to Williams Education Fund policies and subject to availability. More information is available through the Williams Education Fund by calling 785.864.3946 or [email protected].
The season starts off with the two winningest programs in NCAA Division I history with Kansas facing Kentucky in the Champions Classic at the United Center in Chicago on Nov. 10. KU will then open home play for three games against Southern Utah (Nov. 13), Eastern Illinois (Nov. 16) and Stony Brook (Nov. 20) before heading to the Wooden Legacy Tournament.
Creighton finished No. 7 in the final Associated Press poll in March and will make its first trip to Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 3. KU will then host Omaha Dec. 8 before playing host to Missouri Dec. 12 in the first of six Border Showdown Series matchups. USC will then play at Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 19 and KU will close out the pre-holiday slate at former conference foe Colorado on Dec. 22. KU will host Harvard on Dec. 29 before opening Big 12 play Jan. 2.
Kansas is coming off a 28-3 record in 2019-20 where the Jayhawks won the Big 12 regular-season title with a conference record 17 wins in going 17-1 and winning its final 16 games of the season. KU ended 2019-20 No. 1 in the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches’ polls before the pandemic shortened season.
KU ended No. 2 in the 2019-20 NET rankings. The Jayhawks’ strength of schedule was No. 1. Kansas was the only school with 12 Quadrant 1 wins. KU’s 20 Q1 and Q2 combined wins are also more than any other school.
Over the last 17 seasons, the Big 12 has proven to be one of the toughest league’s in the NCAA, making the Jayhawks’ run of 15 league titles since 2004 even more impressive. Beginning in the 2003-04 season, the Big 12 has ranked as the nation’s No. 1 conference in the RPI/NET rankings six times and in the top-three on 11 occasions. In 2019-20, the conference trended in the same direction as it ended as the second highest-rated league in the NET rankings.
The Big 12 Conference schedule will be released later in the summer. Below is brief series information on the 2020-21 KU nonconference schedule.
Nov. 10 (Tues.) – Kentucky (Champions Classic, United Center, Chicago)
•The two winningest programs in college basketball square off in the Champions Classic. Kentucky at 2,318 wins and Kansas at 2,302 victories are the only two schools to amass 2,300 all-time wins.
•Kentucky is coming off a 25-6 season where it won the SEC by three games going 15-3 in 2019-20.
•Kentucky leads the overall series with Kansas, 22-9, but the Jayhawks have won three of the last four meetings.
•In the Champions Classic, Kentucky holds a 2-1 series advantage. While at Kansas, Jayhawks’ head coach Bill Self is 6-4 against Kentucky.
•Kentucky is coached by former Kansas assistant John Calipari who is 330-77 in 11 seasons at UK and 733-215 in 28 seasons overall.
Nov. 13 (Fri.) – SOUTHERN UTAH
•Kansas and Southern Utah will be meeting for the first time in men’s basketball.
•Southern Utah went 17-15 last season and finished seventh in the Big Sky Conference with a 9-11 league mark.
•The Thunderbirds are coached by Todd Simon who is 53-78 in four seasons at Southern Utah.
Nov. 16 (Mon.) – EASTERN ILLINOIS
•Eastern Illinois will be the second-straight team Kansas will be facing for the first time in men’s basketball.
•The Panthers finished 17-15 in 2019-20 and tied for fifth in the 12-team Ohio Valley Conference with a 9-9 league record.
•Eastern Illinois is coached by Jay Spoonhour who is 110-139 in eight seasons at EIU.
Nov. 20 (Fri.) – STONY BROOK
•Kansas and Stony Brook will also be meeting for the first time.
•Stony Brook finished second in the American East Conference last season, posting a 20-13 overall and 10-6 league record.
•The Seawolves are coached by Geno Ford who is 20-14 after his first season at Stony Brook. Ford is 185-169 overall with stints at Kent State and Bradley prior to Stony Brook.
Nov. 26-27 – TBD (Wooden Legacy Tournament, Anaheim Arena, Anaheim, Calif. – Georgetown, UCLA, Virginia) Georgetown
•In a series which started in the 1987 NCAA Tournament, Kansas is 3-1 all-time against Georgetown and the Jayhawks have won the last three meetings. The two teams last met in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 10, 2014, a KU 75-70 road win.
•Last year Georgetown posted a 15-17 record and finished tied for ninth in the Big East with a 5-13 league record.
•The Hoyas are coached by legendary alum Patrick Ewing, who is 49-46 in three seasons at Georgetown.
•UCLA leads the series with Kansas, 10-8, but the Jayhawks have won the last four and five of the last six meetings with the Bruins. The last two battles were in the Maui Invitational, a KU 92-73 win in 2015 and a KU 72-56 victory in 2011.
•Last year, UCLA went 19-12 and finished second in the Pac-12 Conference with a 12-6 league record, one game behind league champion Oregon.
•The Bruins are coached by Mick Cronin, who will be entering his second season at UCLA and is 384-182 overall with stints at Murray State and Cincinnati before taking over UCLA in 2019.
•Kansas is 2-1 all-time against Virginia with all three meetings in 1995 and 1996. UVA won the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Sweet 16, 67-58, on March 24, 1995, in Kansas City, Mo., while KU won 72-66 in the Great Eight on Nov. 29, 1995, in Auburn Hills, Mich., and 80-63, on Nov. 27, 1996, in the title game of the Maui Invitational.
•With the abrupt ending to the 2019-20 season, Virginia will still be defending its 2019 NCAA National Championship next year.
•The Cavaliers went 23-7 in 2019-20 and finished tied for second in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 15-5, one game behind league champion Florida State.
•UVA is coached by Tony Bennett who is 277-96 in 11 seasons at Virginia and 346-129 overall with three seasons at Washington State before taking over at Virginia in 2009-10.
Dec. 3 (Thurs.) – CREIGHTON
•Creighton will make its first-ever trip to Allen Fieldhouse as its last visit to Lawrence was in 1950. Kansas leads the series 9-6 but the teams’ previous meeting was in the 1974 NCAA Midwest Regional opening round, at KU 55-54 win in Tulsa. Kansas would later advance the 1974 Final Four in Greensboro, N.C.
•Last season, Creighton finished No. 7 in the Associated Press poll posting a 24-7 overall record. The Blue Jays tied Villanova and Seton Hall for the Big East regular-season title with a 13-5 league record.
•Creighton is coached by Greg McDermott who is 231-116 in 10 seasons at Creighton and is 511-311 overall.
Dec. 8 (Tues.) – OMAHA
•Kansas won the only series meeting with Omaha, 109-64, on Dec. 18, 2017, in Allen Fieldhouse.
•Last year the Mavericks finished 16-16 overall and tied for fourth in the Summit League with a 9-7 conference record.
•The Mavericks are coached by Derrin Hansen who is 241-214 in 15 seasons at Omaha.
Dec. 12 (Sat.) – MISSOURI (Border Showdown Series, Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.)
•On October 21, 2019, the Border Showdown between Kansas and Missouri was renewed starting with the Dec. 9 contest at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The two teams will meet six times over the next six seasons through 2025-26 with two meetings at Sprint Center (2020, 2025), two in Lawrence (2021, 2023) and two in Columbia (2022, 2024).
•The Border Showdown was known as the longest continuous rivalry west of the Mississippi River until 2012 when Missouri departed the Big 12 for the SEC.
•This series dates back to 1907 and Kansas holds a 174-95 advantage. The two teams did meet in and exhibition game at Sprint Center, a KU 93-87 win on Oct. 22, 2017, in a fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
•Last year, MU went 15-16 overall and tied for 10th in the SEC with a 7-11 league record.
•The Tigers are coached by Cuonzo Martin who is 50-46 in three seasons at MU and 236-166 overall with stops at Missouri State, Tennessee and California prior to Missouri.
Dec. 19 (Sat.) – USC
•This series dates back to 1935 with Kansas leading 11-5. The Jayhawks have won the last seven matchups with the Trojans with the last meeting a 63-47 KU win in Los Angeles on Dec. 22, 2011.
•Last season, USC finished 22-9 and tied for third in the Pac-12 Conference at 11-7, two games behind league winner Oregon.
•The Trojans are coached by Andy Enfield who is 132-102 in seven seasons at USC and 173-130 overall, which includes two years at Florida Gulf Coast before taking over at USC in 2013.
Dec. 22 (Tues.) – at Colorado
•This series between Kansas and Colorado dates back to 1931 and KU leads 124-40 after its 72-58 win on Dec. 7, 2019, in Lawrence. Colorado’s 75-72 win on Dec. 7, 2013, in Boulder, ended a Kansas 19-straight series win streak against CU. Kansas has won 46 of the last 48 meetings with CU dating back to 1991. As conference members - Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12 - Kansas was 116-35 against Colorado, which included 21 meetings in the Big Seven/Eight Holiday Tournament and postseason conference play. As members of the Big 12, Kansas was 31-1 against Colorado – 29-1 in regular-season play and 2-0 in the league tournament.
•Colorado finished 21-11 in 2019-20 and tied for fifth in the Pac-12 Conference at 10-8.
•The Buffs are coached by former Kansas guard Tad Boyle who is 210-134 in 10 seasons at CU and 266-200 in 14 seasons overall. Boyle coached four seasons at Northern Colorado before taking over at Colorado in 2010-11.
Dec. 29 (Tues.) – HARVARD
•Kansas won its only meeting with Harvard, 75-69, on Dec. 5, 2015, in Allen Fieldhouse.
•Last season Harvard finished 21-8 and second in the Ivy League at 10-4, one game behind Ivy champ Yale at 11-3.
•The Crimson are coached by Tommy Amaker who is 251-139 in 13 seasons at Harvard and 426-277 overall. Amaker, who has guided the Crimson to seven Ivy League titles in the last 10 seasons, was head coach at Seton Hall from 1997-98 until 2000-01, Michigan from 2001-02 until 2006-07 before taking over at Harvard.
Jan. 30 (Sat.) – at TBD (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
•After its 74-68 win against Tennessee on Jan. 25, 2020, in Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas is 5-2 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, having split with Florida in 2013-14 and 2014-15, as both teams claimed home victories. KU then swept a home-and-home series with Kentucky, claiming a 90-84 overtime in Allen Fieldhouse in 2016 and a 79-73 win in Lexington, Kentucky in 2017. In 2018, Kansas defeated Texas A&M, 79-68, in Allen Fieldhouse and lost at Kentucky, 71-63, in 2019.
•With the Big East/Big 12 Battle starting up in 2019-20, dating back to 2007, Kansas is 8-4 in conference challenges (1-1 vs. Arizona, 2-0 vs. UCLA, 1-1 vs. Florida, 2-1 vs. Kentucky, 1-0 vs. Tennessee, 1-0 vs. Texas A&M and 0-1 vs. Villanova).