Kansas Basketball: Biggest Games on Jayhawks' Nonconference Schedule

Andrew DoughtyCorrespondent IIMay 3, 2013

Kansas Basketball: Biggest Games on Jayhawks' Nonconference Schedule

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    While the 2013-14 college hoops season expects to carry unpredictability in the Big 12, the Jayhawks can expect a loaded nonconference slate.

    Bill Self's 13-game nonconference schedule features at least six tourney teams, with more possible in November's Battle 4 Atlantis field in the Bahamas.

    Four of those tournament teams were Top-Three seeds, and all six will likely crack the AP's Top 25 in the upcoming season. Each of those six games will be imperative for the young Jayhawks as they seek early resume-building victories during a year when only three other Big 12 teams might reach the NCAA tournament field.

Duke: November 12

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    As the third and final leg of the Champions Classic, Kansas will face Duke at the United Center in Chicago in its second game of the regular season.

    The Jayhawks are 0-2 in the all-blue-bloods event, falling to Kentucky in 2011 and Michigan State in 2012. Both Self and Mike Krzyzewski face similar rebuilding jobs but welcome elite recruiting classes, with all eyes focused on a 5-star Jabari Parker versus Wayne Selden matchup.

    It is their first meeting since Duke's Maui Invitational victory two seasons ago and only their 10th matchup all-time, with the Blue Devils leading the series 7-2.

At Colorado: December 7

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    Former Jayhawk Tad Boyle appears to have stabilized an inconsistent Colorado program. Colorado has reached the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year after winning 20-plus games for the third consecutive year, most in school history.

    Kansas' dominating blowout win last season, 90-54 in Lawrence in the first game of a renewed home-and-home series, exposed a young Colorado team inching toward national relevance.

    While the Buffaloes lose big man Andre Roberson to the NBA, senior guard Sabatino Chen is the only other departure for the Pac 12-contending team.

    Guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker, alongside emerging frontcourt players Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson, will put Kansas on upset watch during its Boulder rematch in December.

At Florida: December 10

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    Three days removed from its trip to Colorado, Kansas visits Gainesville to face the Patric Young-led Gators on December 10.

    Billy Donovan's team was blown out by Michigan in the Elite Eight and waved goodbye to a trio of impact seniors in Mike Rosario, Erik Murphy and longtime point guard Kenny Boynton.

    Former Kansas target Chris Walker leads a small yet stellar two-man recruit class, as he is accompanied by one of the nation's best point guards in Kasey Hill.

    Young, at 6'9" and 245 pounds, will be a tremendous early test for power forwards Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor, along with the inexperienced duo of Joel Embiid and Landen Lucas.

    The Gators will play in Lawrence during the 2014-15 season to cap the two-game series.

New Mexico: December 14

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    New Mexico's round of 64 loss to No. 14 seed Harvard was embarrassing, almost decking the program and the Mountain West with a black eye.

    Adding insult to injury, head coach Steven Alford bailed days later for the UCLA gig, leaving an untapped Lobos team scrambling. Junior guard Tony Snell declared for the NBA draft, but leading scorer Kendall Williams returns for new coach Craig Neal.

    New Mexico travels to the Sprint Center for its first meeting with Kansas since 1964, as the Lobos look to rebound from a disastrous finish to a 29-6 2012-13 season.

Georgetown: December 21

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    Like the matchup one week earlier against New Mexico, Kansas will face another program fresh off a disgusting end to a great season.

    Georgetown's near-blowout loss to national darling, and Joe Dooley's new team, Florida Gulf Coast continued a five-year stretch of disappointing NCAA tournament losses.

    John Thompson III, suddenly on the hot seat, lost All-American Otto Porter to the NBA and will rely heavily on senior-to-be guard Markel Starks to stay close in the December matchup at Kansas.

San Diego State: January 5

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    Another confusing Mountain West team, San Diego State epitomizes regular-season consistency but has reached just one Sweet 16 in Steve Fisher's 13 seasons.

    Fisher loses leading scorer Jamaal Franklin to the NBA and senior Chase Tapley to graduation but welcomes back J.J. O'Brien and Xavier Thames. Those two are joined by Dakarai Allen, a slender 6'5" dynamic shooting guard who could start immediately.

    Kansas and San Diego State will meet for only the third time in January, with the fourth matchup coming in San Diego during the 2015-16 season.