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Big 12 Basketball Schedule Analysis: Kansas Jayhawks

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament Championship-West Virginia vs Kansas

Leading up to Big 12 media days in Kansas City Heartland College Sports will analyze each of the Big 12 men’s basketball schedules. Today it’s the Kansas Jayhawks.

Season opener: Right off the bat let’s get things started with a trip to Indianapolis, Ind., to face Michigan State in the Champions Classic. You know, just two of the best programs in the country. That’s all.

Tournaments: Along with the trip to the Champions Classic, Kansas will participate in the NIT Season Tip-Off, hosting Vermont and Louisiana at home before traveling to Brooklyn, NY, to face Marquette in the semifinals. Kansas also has its Jayhawk Shootout game in Kansas City at the Sprint Center.

The Big Non-Con: It could be Michigan State. It could be their Big 12/SEC crossover game (but we have a special bullet for the latter). But I’ll take that Dec. 15 showdown with defending national champion Villanova at Allen Fieldhouse.

Mid-Major Danger: It’s hard to see any mid-major team taking on the Jayhawks and winning, but South Dakota probably has the best shot on Dec. 18 in Lawrence. The Coyotes come to town three days after the Jayhawks tangle with Villanova and just before the winter break begins. Might the Jayhawks experience some sort of a letdown, or maybe they’re just mentally ready for a break? Sounds laughable, but the Coyotes were 26-9 last year. Plus, last year the Coyotes only lost to TCU by 5 points on the road.

Big 12 Opener: If Trae Young were still in college the Jan. 2 opener between Oklahoma and Kansas in Lawrence would be off the hook (as the kids like to say. Wait — do they still say that?). Anyway, it’s a more pedestrian showdown without Young in the mix.

The Big 12/SEC Game: Kansas goes to Kentucky on Jan. 26 to face the Wildcats at Rupp Arena. Insert your own adjective here. This schedule is so good, I’m all out.

The ‘Big’ Big 12 stretch: Kansas has a target on its back no matter the time of year. But a seven-game stretch shortly after the Kentucky game seems particularly noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First, no consecutive home or road games. Second, it starts and ends with back-to-back games against two Elite Eight teams from a year ago — Texas Tech and Kansas State. The stretch starts at home with Texas Tech on Feb. 2, then a road trip to Kansas State on Feb. 5. It ends with a road game at Texas Tech on Feb. 23 and a home game vs. Kansas State on Feb. 25. In between? Pesky Oklahoma State at home, followed by a road tilt with TCU and a home game with West Virginia. I could see the Jayhawks losing a couple of those.

2018-19 Kansas Schedule

(Home games in Bold; *-Big 12 game)

State Farm Champions Classic (at Indianapolis, Ind.)

Nov. 6 vs. Michigan State

NIT Season Tip-Off (on campus)

Nov. 12 vs. Vermont

Nov. 16 vs. Louisiana

NIT Season Tip-Off (at Brooklyn, NY)

Nov. 21 vs. Marquette

Nov. 23 vs. TBA

Dec. 1 vs. Stanford

Dec. 4 vs. Wofford

Jayhawk Shootout (at Kansas City, Mo.)

Dec. 8 vs. New Mexico State

Dec. 15 vs. Villanova

Dec. 18 vs. South Dakota

Dec. 22 at Arizona State

Dec. 29 vs. Eastern Michigan

Jan. 2 vs. Oklahoma*

Jan. 5 at Iowa State*

Jan. 9 vs. TCU*

Jan. 12 at Baylor*

Jan. 14 vs. Texas*

Jan. 19 at West Virginia*

Jan. 21 vs. Iowa State*

SEC/Big 12 Challenge

Jan. 26 at Kentucky

Jan. 29 at Texas*

Feb. 2 vs. Texas Tech*

Feb. 5 at Kansas State*

Feb. 9 vs. Oklahoma State*

Feb. 11 at TCU*

Feb. 16 vs. West Virginia*

Feb. 23 at Texas Tech*

Feb. 25 vs. Kansas State*

Mar. 2 at Oklahoma State*

Mar. 5 at Oklahoma*

Mar. 9 vs. Baylor*

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