An appearance in a star-studded Maui Invitational, a neutral-site game against Kentucky in New York and a home clash against Ohio State highlight Kansas University’s 2011-12 nonconference basketball schedule, which was released Sunday.
The Jayhawks will tangle with coach John Calipari’s Wildcats on Nov. 15 in Madison Square Garden in the inaugural Champions Classic doubleheader.
The Champions Classic is a three-year series involving powerhouse programs KU, UK, Duke and Michigan State. The Blue Devils and Spartans also will play Nov. 15 in the Garden.
In 2012, KU will play Michigan State, while UK plays Duke, at Atanta’s Georgia Dome. In 2013, KU will face Duke, and MSU will meet UK at Chicago’s United Center.
The Nov. 21-23 Maui field includes Duke, Georgetown, Memphis, UCLA, Tennessee, Michigan and Chaminade. Matchups will be announced this summer.
KU will meet Ohio State on Dec. 10 in Allen Fieldhouse. The Buckeyes went 34-3 last season and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 as a No. 1 seed. Jared Sullinger, a 6-foot-9 forward who would have been selected in the top five in the 2011 NBA Draft, has announced plans to return for his sophomore season.
KU will meet USC on Dec. 22 in Galen Center in Los Angeles. USC went 19-14 last year and lost in the first round of the NCAAs.
USC had looked into the possibility of playing KU in Wichita in the return game of the home-and-home series.
“It’s a situation in which a promoter probably asked them to do it, and they looked at it. We thought it wouldn’t happen, taking the game out of their building (in L.A.),” said KU senior associate AD Larry Keating, who is in charge of scheduling.
At home, KU will meet Towson (Nov. 11), Florida Atlantic (Nov. 30), South Florida (Dec. 3), Long Beach State (Dec. 6), Howard (Dec. 29) and North Dakota (Dec. 31). KU will play Davidson on Dec. 19 in Kansas City’s Sprint Center.
Florida Atlantic won the Sun Belt title last season and Long Beach State the Big West Conference. South Florida, 10-23 a year ago, is a member of the Big East. Last season, Davidson went 18-15 and advanced to the CBI Tournament quarterfinals.
“This is potentially the biggest-name schedule we’ve played since we’ve been here with the guarantee of playing Kentucky, Ohio State and USC,” KU coach Bill Self said Sunday. Ten of KU’s 13 non-conference foes advanced to the 2011 postseason. “Add to that the opportunity to play three of the biggest names in college basketball at the Maui Invitational. This will probably be as tough a nonconference schedule as we have played in a long time.
“It’s a tough schedule, one that will give us a ton of exposure, and with the young team we will have playing for us next year, it will be a great challenge. We need to be preparing now for next year.”
KU will open with exhibitions against Fort Hays State (Nov. 1) and Pittsburg State (Nov. 8). The Big 12 slate, to feature home-and-homes with every team in the league, will be released during the summer.
2011-12 Kansas Men’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule
Date (Day), Opponent, Site
Nov. 1 (Tuesday), Fort Hays State, Lawrence (exhibition)
Nov. 8 (Tuesday), Pittsburg State, Lawrence (exhibition)
Nov. 11 (Friday), Towson, Lawrence (EA Sports Maui Invitational First Round)
Nov. 15 (Tuesday), Kentucky, New York, N.Y. (Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden)
Nov. 21-23 (Monday-Wednesday), EA Sports Maui Invitational, Maui, Hawaii (potential opponents: Arizona, Chaminade, Duke, Georgetown, Memphis, Michigan, Tennessee, UCLA)
Nov. 30 (Wednesday), Florida Atlantic, Lawrence
Dec. 3 (Saturday), South Florida, Lawrence
Dec. 6 (Tuesday), Long Beach State, Lawrence
Dec. 10 (Saturday), Ohio State, Lawrence
Dec. 19 (Monday), Davidson, Kansas City, Mo. (M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout at Sprint Center)
Dec. 22 (Thursday), at USC, Los Angeles, Calif.
Dec. 29 (Thursday), Howard, Lawrence
Dec. 31 (Saturday), North Dakota, Lawrence