KU's Bill Self on Jayhawks' nonconference schedule: 'It's going to be tough'

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (left) and the Jayhawks will have a home game against defending national champion Villanova, road contest against Kentucky in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and neutral-site contest against Michigan State in the Champions Classic as part of the 2018-19 nonconference men’s basketball schedule, which was released Friday. | Rich Sugg | Star file

By Gary Bedore gbedore@kcstar.com

A home game against defending national champion Villanova, road contest against Kentucky in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and neutral-site contest against Michigan State in the Champions Classic highlight Kansas’ 2018-19 nonconference men’s basketball schedule, which was released Friday.

The game against Villanova, a rematch of KU’s 95-79 Final Four semifinal loss to the Wildcats, will be Dec. 15 at Allen Fieldhouse. The contest versus UK, which matches the two programs with the most victories in college basketball history, will be contested on Jan. 26 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. The Jayhawks and Michigan State will play Nov. 6 in Indianapolis.

KU also will compete in the NIT with a field of KU, Marquette, Louisville and Tennessee on Nov. 21 and 23 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"This is definitely a tremendous nonconference schedule and for a young team it's a lot to try to conquer, especially so early in the season when we have so many guys who will be playing pivotal roles," KU coach Bill Self said. "Hopefully it will be great preparation for once again playing in one of the best leagues, if not the best league, in the country. It's going to be tough. I know our players will enjoy the challenge and I know our fans will enjoy watching them enjoy the challenge."

KU also will meet Stanford on Dec. 1 at Allen Fieldhouse, Arizona State on Dec. 22 in Tempe, Ariz., and play New Mexico State Dec. 8 at the Sprint Center.

The Jayhawks will play Vermont (Nov. 12) and Louisiana (Nov. 16) in NIT preliminary games at Allen Fieldhouse. KU also will play home games against Wofford on Dec. 4, South Dakota on Dec. 18 and Eastern Michigan on Dec. 29.

KU's exhibition opener will be Oct. 25 against Emporia State followed by a Nov. 1 game against former player Brett Ballard's Washburn Ichabods.

2018-19 KU nonconference schedule (home games in ALL CAPS)
Thursday, Oct. 25 — EMPORIA STATE (exhibition)
Thursday, Nov. 1 — WASHBURN (exhibition)
Tuesday, Nov. 6 — vs. Michigan State (Indianapolis, Champions Classic)
Monday, Nov. 12 — VERMONT (NIT home contest)
Friday, Nov. 16 — LOUISIANA (NIT home contest)
Wednesday, Nov. 21 — vs. TBD (Brooklyn, N.Y., NIT semifinals)
Friday, Nov. 23 — vs. TBD (Brooklyn, N.Y., NIT finals)
Saturday, Dec. 1 — STANFORD
Tuesday, Dec. 4 — WOFFORD
Saturday, Dec. 8 — vs. New Mexico State (Sprint Center)
Saturday, Dec. 15 — VILLANOVA
Tuesday, Dec. 18 — SOUTH DAKOTA
Saturday, Dec. 22 — at Arizona State
Saturday, Dec. 29 — EASTERN MICHIGAN
Saturday, Jan. 26 — at Kentucky (SEC/Big 12 Challenge)


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