Last Thursday, KU held a media day. No, it was not for their football team, but for their basketball team. Kansas enters the 2015-16 season ranked in the top five nationally by most of the pre-season polls. Bill Self is entering his 13th season at Kansas and is going for his 12th Big 12 Championship with the team.
The Jayhawks are returning four starters and eleven letter-winners from last season. Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor, Hunter Mickelson and Evan Manning are the four seniors for Kansas this year. Juniors Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr. will also be returning.
The KU Men’s basketball schedule has been the toughest in the nation the last two seasons. That won’t change this year. This season, Kansas could potentially play eighteen games against teams that competed in last season’s NCAA tournament. Six of those teams could appear on KU’s non-conference schedule. Strength of schedule is a factor in the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index), but KU hasn’t needed help with that in the past. Their RPI has been ranked fifth or better in the nation the last six seasons and number one in the nation in 2010 and 2011.
The 31st annual “Late Night in the Phog” is set for Friday October 9th in Allen Fieldhouse. After a pair of exhibition match ups against Pittsburg State on November 4th, and one against Fort Hays State on November 10th, KU opens up the regular season playing host to Northern Colorado on November 13th.
In the fifth year of the Championship Classic, the Jayhawks will face its second straight Final Four participant from the year before. The Jayhawks will play Michigan State on Tuesday November 17th at the United Center in Chicago. In their last meeting, the Jayhawks defeated the Spartans for the Orlando Classic Title. Following the Championship Classic, KU will head to Maui, Hawaii for bracket play in the Maui Invitational November 23-25th. Included in the eight team field is the 2015 Sweet 16 team, UCLA, along with Indiana and St. John’s, who were also in the NCAA Tournament. Wake Forest is in the tournament and could advance to play KU. Second-year Wake Forest coach, Danny Manning, could face his son and his Alma Mater in Maui. The Jayhawks will have more challenges the rest of the season, but this is what their first month of basketball looks like.