Big 12, Big East discuss basketball scheduling alliance that's 'worth looking into'

The Big 12 and Big East Conference could be set to start a yearly men's basketball challenge for the 2019-2020 season, which could mean Kansas Jayhawks coach Bill Self might see more of Final Four opponent Villanova beyond their home-and home series starting next season. |

By Gary Bedore gbedore@kcstar.com

The Big 12 Conference, which already has a yearly men's basketball challenge with the Southeastern Conference, could enter into a scheduling alliance with the Big East to counteract leagues that will be going to 20-game league seasons.

Alex Halsted of CBSsports.com and 247sports.com on Monday quoted Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard as saying the 10 Big 12 teams could each play one Big East team, likely starting in 2019-20, making sure the Big 12 would have 20 locked-in, high-major opponents — 18 Big 12 games, plus one each vs. the Big East and SEC.

“What’s happening is some other leagues are considering going to 20 games, so if a couple leagues go to 20 games, it’ll be harder to get a non-conference home and home,” Pollard said Monday as quoted by Halsted. “So we’ve had some discussions with the Big East about the possibility of doing a scheduling alliance to counterbalance the SEC Challenge so that we would have 20 games locked up.”

KU actually begins a home-and-home series with Big East school Villanova in 2018-19 and will play a game against a yet-to-be announced SEC team in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

The 10-team Big East is comprised of defending national champion Villanova, plus Xavier, Butler, Seton Hall, Creighton, Providence, Marquette, Georgetown, St. John’s and DePaul.

The 14-team Big Ten will play 20 league games starting next season. The 15-team Atlantic Coast Conference will go to 20 in 2019-20. It has been reported that the Pac-12 and SEC are considering going to 20 league games as well.

“It’s certainly worth looking into,” Larry Keating, special assistant to the athletic director who is in charge of KU basketball scheduling, told The Star on Monday night. He indicated KU coaches and athletic department officials have not yet discussed the matter.

“It is an interesting concept. I’ve talked to a couple of people about the issue of 20 games and it becoming more and more difficult for some schools to get games. With the Big Ten and ACC going to 20 and others talking about it as well, it’s something worth looking at.”

Three Jayhawks listed as second-rounders

Former Kansas guards Devonté Graham, Malik Newman and Svi Mykhailiuk will enter this week’s NBA combine as solid second-round picks in the June 21 draft, ESPN.com reported Monday.

Meanwhile, center Udoka Azubuike and forward Billy Preston are regarded as the Nos. 84 and 87 ranked draft prospects (out of 100) by ESPN.com and are currently not projected to be taken in the two-round draft.

ESPN.com has Graham being selected No. 43 overall by Denver; Newman No. 44 by Washington and Mykhailiuk No. 51 by New Orleans.

NBAdraft.net has Mykhailiuk being chosen No. 38 overall by Philadelphia; Graham No. 41 by Orlando and Newman No. 47 by the Los Angeles Lakers. Preston and Azubuike were not listed as draftees by NBAdraft.net. Azubuike has not hired an agent, and thus has until 11:59 p.m. on May 30 to withdraw his name if he wishes to return to KU for his junior season.

Top 10 prospect could enter class of 2018

Jalen Lecque, a top 10 high school player in the recruiting class of 2019 who has Kansas on his list of schools, is pondering a switch to the class of 2018, USA Today and Rivals.com have reported.

Lecque, a 6-foot-4 senior-to-be point guard from Christ School in Arden, N.C., who is ranked No. 9 in the class of 2019 by ESPN.com, told USA Today that coaches from the schools pursuing him (KU, Kentucky, Duke, Villanova, Texas Tech, Tennessee, North Carolina State) have said they would be willing to bring him in this school year or wait until the summer of 2019.

“It’s a nice school and I would love to visit there. I like the school and the facilities, as well, from the videos they send me of the facilities,” Lecque said of KU in an interview with Rivals.com at last weekend’s Nike EYBL event in Georgia.

Lecque has yet to make any campus visits.

“I thought about it (switching to 2018), but I’m just trying to come back home since the school year has ended and work on my game," Lecque told Rivals.com. "If I’m ready (to reclassify) by school time, then it could be whatever.”

In late April, he told USA Today: “After the EYBL is over and when I get a chance to talk with my family I’ll figure it out. I’m thinking most likely I’ll stay in 2019, but I just like leaving that option open to see what the college coaches are thinking.”

Wilson visits Michigan

Jalen Wilson, a 6-foot-8 senior-to-be small forward from Guyer High in Denton, Texas, who has KU on his list, visited Michigan last weekend.

Wilson, who is ranked No. 39 in the class of 2019 by Rival.com, also is considering Baylor, Oklahoma State, Marquette and UCLA.

Wilson told Rivals.com he was named for former Michigan standout Jalen Rose and been a Michigan fan his entire life.

“They (Michigan coaches) showed me how their guards play off pick and roll. They call it the ‘wolf,’ and they showed me some of the scorers, showed me what they would do in that offense,” Wilson told Rivals.com.


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