Trips to UCLA, Tennessee and Temple, home contests against Michigan and California, and a neutral-site game versus Memphis highlight Kansas University’s 2009-10 nonconference men’s basketball schedule, which was released Tuesday.
The UCLA game on Dec. 6 at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles is part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. The Bruins will make a return trip to Allen Fieldhouse during the 2010-11 season.
The Temple (Jan. 2) and Tennessee (Jan. 9) games, also to be played on campus sites, complete a home-and-home series. KU will return the Dec. 19 game versus Michigan and Dec. 22 game against Cal in 2010-11.
The Memphis game on Nov. 17 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis is part of a one-day doubleheader that also will feature Arkansas against Louisville. The DH is part of the Hall of Fame Classic, an event that has KU, Memphis, Arkansas and Louisville playing small to mid-major teams, all in their home gyms. KU’s Nov. 19, 23 and 27 opponents have yet to be announced.
The Jayhawks will play one-time guarantee games at home versus Hofstra (Nov. 13), Alcorn State (Dec. 2), Radford (Dec. 9), Belmont (Dec. 29) and Cornell (Jan. 5). KU will play LaSalle on Dec. 12 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
KU also will play exhibitions against Fort Hays State on Nov. 3 and Pittsburg State on Nov. 11. Late Night in the Phog is Oct. 16.
Teams on KU’s slate that competed in last year’s NCAAs: Memphis, UCLA, Tennessee, Michigan, Cal, Temple, Cornell, Radford, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M.
Seventh-year KU coach Bill Self, who returns five starters and the top nine scorers off last year’s 27-8 Big 12 title/NCAA Sweet 16 team, applauds the schedule.
“This year’s strength of schedule should certainly measure up with the best we’ve had since I came to Kansas,” Self said. “Playing 13 teams that made the NCAA Tournament last year will be a stiff challenge for what many consider a young ballclub. I’m excited about the possibilities as we will be tested home, away and at the two neutral games (Memphis and LaSalle).”
KU senior associate athletic director Larry Keating, who is in charge of scheduling, also likes the slate.
“It will test us,” Keating said. “Michigan will be one of the top two or three teams in the Big Ten — a top 10-15 team overall. Cal will probably be picked to win the Pac-10 and be a top 10 team. Tennessee will be good again. Temple is always strong in their league (Atlantic 10).
“Memphis will be better than people expected,” Keating added of the team KU defeated in the 2008 national title game. The Tigers lost some current players and recruits after coach John Calipari bolted for Kentucky.
“Obviously UCLA will be strong.”
Keating pointed out LaSalle “will be picked as high as UMass last year, who played us tough (beat KU in Sprint Center). Cornell, Belmont and Radford will probably all be picked to win their leagues.
“Radford has a 6-11 pro prospect. Their coach was interested in getting him some good competition.”
Keating was referring to Big South player of the year Artsiom Parakhouski, a 6-11 senior out of Belarus.
He noted that Radford, Belmont and Cornell, “all will win 20-plus games. “Hofstra is in the top four, five of the Colonial League.”
Keating said it was not difficult scheduling one-time “guarantee” games in Allen Fieldhouse.
“Hofstra, for example, called us and wanted to play,” Keating said. “There are coaches each year who want to play at Kansas, UCLA, Duke, North Carolina. This year we were able to schedule teams who wanted to play us rather than have to wait until August (when major powers sometimes have to overpay for guarantee games).”
Jayhawks scheduling notes:
• UCLA, which leads the all-time series, 10-4, beat KU, 68-55, in the 2007 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. The Bruins, who lost to Villanova in the second round of the 2009 NCAAs, will be in a rebuilding mode if Jrue Holiday keeps his name in the 2009 NBA Draft.
• Belmont, which went 20-13 last year, has won 20 or more games four consecutive years and five of six seasons. Belmont, 0-0 versus Kansas, finished third in the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2008-09. The Bruins lost in the second round of the College Insider Tournament to Old Dominion, 70-62.
• KU, 4-2 versus Memphis, last downed the Tigers, 75-68 in overtime, in the 2008 NCAA title game in San Antonio. The Tigers reached the Sweet 16 last year. New coach is Josh Pastner.
• KU, which is in the Hall of Fame Classic this year, will participate in the 2010 Las Vegas Invitational. Format calls for two home games and two in Vegas — one against Arizona and one versus a mid-major. KU will play in the Maui Invitational in 2011 with no tourney yet on tap for 2012.
• Radford, 0-0 versus KU, won the Big South title last year. The Highlanders lost to North Carolina in the first round of the NCAAs.
• KU is 0-5 against Michigan. Last meeting was in 1992-93 when the Wolverines prevailed, 86-74. Michigan lost to Oklahoma, 73-63, in the second round of the ’09 NCAAs.
• KU, 14-3 versus California, won the last meeting, 69-56, in 2005-06. The Bears fell to Maryland, 84-71, in the first round of the ’09 NCAA Tournament.
• KU, 6-3 all-time against Temple, beat the Owls, 71-59, last season in Allen. Temple lost to Arizona State, 66-57, in the first round of the NCAAs.
• KU is 2-0 versus Cornell. The Big Red, who won the Ivy League title, lost to Missouri in the first round of the NCAAs, 78-59.
• KU beat Tennessee, 92-85, last season in Allen in the first meeting between the schools. The Vols lost to Oklahoma State in the first round of the NCAAs, 77-75.
• The Big 12 will release its schedule this summer. KU’s home foes: Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas Tech. Road foes: CU, ISU, KSU, MU, NU, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M.
Kansas Men’s Basketball 2009-10 Non-Conference Schedule (home games in CAPS)
Nov. 3 (Tuesday) - FORT HAYS STATE (Exhibition), Lawrence, Kan.
Nov. 11 (Tuesday) - PITTSBURG STATE (Exhibition), Lawrence, Kan.
Nov. 13 (Friday) – HOFSTRA, Lawrence, Kan.
Nov. 17 (Tuesday) – Memphis, St. Louis, Mo.
Nov. 19 (Thursday) – TBA, Lawrence, Kan.
Nov. 23 (Monday) – TBA, Lawrence, Kan.
Nov. 27 (Friday) – TBA, Lawrence, Kan.
Dec. 2 (Wednesday) - ALCORN STATE, Lawrence, Kan.
Dec. 6 (Sunday) – UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif.
Dec. 9 (Wednesday) – RADFORD, Lawrence, Kan.
Dec. 12 (Saturday) - LA SALLE (Sprint Center), Kansas City, Mo.
Dec. 19 (Saturday) – MICHIGAN, Lawrence, Kan.
Dec. 22 (Tuesday) – CALIFORNIA, Lawrence, Kan.
Dec. 29 (Tuesday) – BELMONT, Lawrence, Kan.
Jan. 2 (Saturday) – Temple, Philadelphia, Pa.
Jan. 5 (Tuesday) – CORNELL, Lawrence, Kan.
Jan. 9 (Saturday) – Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.