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Kansas Honors Legendary Coach John McLendon in Revealing Top-Notch 2023-24 Schedule

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By KUAthletics.com

 

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas men’s basketball announced its non-conference schedule today, featuring a contest against the defending national champions at Allen Fieldhouse, a neutral site matchup with Kentucky and a road trip to Indiana among other intriguing games.

“Once again, our non-conference schedule will be one of the toughest in America, as it has been most years since we’ve been here. Playing Kentucky in Champions; going to Maui with maybe as loaded of a field as Maui has ever had; coming home and playing Missouri and Connecticut; and going to Indiana are all monster-type games and games that could have national implications.”

KANSAS HEAD COACH BILL SELF

Kansas opens the regular season on Nov. 6 at Allen Fieldhouse against North Carolina Central, in a contest that celebrates University of Kansas alum and legendary coach John McLendon and the McLendon Leadership Initiative.

“We’re excited to open up the season against North Carolina Central, in large part because that is part of the McLendon Foundation Leadership initiative. With it, we get an opportunity to honor one of the greatest coaches our sport has ever known, John McLendon, in our building playing an HBCU institution.”

KANSAS HEAD COACH BILL SELF

McLendon coached at what is now known as North Carolina Central, from 1941-1952. McLendon was a KU graduate who studied the intricacies of basketball from the inventor of the game and Kansas’ first coach Dr. James Naismith. A pioneer for the integration of college basketball, McLendon has twice been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In addition to the Nov. 6 contest honoring McLendon, another non-conference game highlighting the schedule in Allen Fieldhouse includes a battle between the last two national champions as 2022 champion Kansas hosts defending champion Connecticut in the BIG EAST/Big 12 Battle on Dec. 1. For KU, this will mark the second-straight season the past two champs have played each other as Big 12 foe Baylor won the 2021 title.

Other KU home contests will include an exhibition against Fort Hays State on Nov. 1, Manhattan (N.Y.) College on Nov. 10, Eastern Illinois on Nov. 28, Kansas City on Dec. 5, HyVee Border Showdown foe Missouri on Dec. 9 and Yale on Dec. 22.

Fans can secure season tickets today for all KU home games. Tickets are available for as low as $550 by clicking here or visiting kuathletics.com. Fans who would like to speak to a sales representative regarding all ticket options may also request a call here. To order season tickets, fans must be active members of the Williams Education Fund, which can be done for as little as $100. More information is available by calling 785.864.3141.

Sports Combo Passes for students enrolled for the 2023-24 season are also on sale now via Enroll and Pay. Once you are logged in to your Enroll and Pay account, click “Select Optional Campus Fees” to find the option to add the combo pass to your account. Click here for more student ticket information.

Kansas and Kentucky, the two winningest teams in NCAA Division I, will square off in the Champions Classic on Nov. 14 at the United Center in Chicago. Kansas leads the all-time win list with 2,385 victories, while Kentucky is next at 2,377. This will be the 13th edition of the Champions Classic, which KU and Duke are tied for the lead with identical 7-5 records in the event. Kentucky and Michigan State are each 5-7 in the event.

Kansas will also play in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, Nov. 20-22, at Lahaina, Hawaii. The Jayhawks have won three Maui Invitationals, claiming the crown first in 1996 and the last two trips to the event in 2015 and 2019. Six of the eight teams in upcoming Maui Invitational participated in the 2023 NCAA Tournament with all six being a four seed or higher – (1) Kansas, (1) Purdue, (2) Marquette, (2) UCLA, (3) Gonzaga and (4) Tennessee. The other teams in the field are traditional power Syracuse and host Chaminade.

Kansas finished the 2022-23 season with a 28-8 (13-5 Big 12) record. KU won its 21st Big 12 title and added to its NCAA-record 64th all-time league regular-season title. Under Self, the Jayhawks have won 17 Big 12 titles in his 20 seasons on the KU sidelines. Additionally, Kansas was ranked in the Associated Press Top 10 in every poll in 2022-23 and ended No. 4 in the AP final poll of the season. In fact, KU has been ranked in the AP Top 10 for 38 consecutive weeks dating back to the beginning of its 2022 NCAA National Championship season.

Last season, Kansas set a record with 17 Quadrant 1 wins according to the NCAA Division I NET rankings entering the 2023 NCAA Tournament. Additionally, among the 363 NCAA Division I teams in 2022-23, KU ranked first in strength of schedule, marking the sixth time under head coach Bill Self the Jayhawks have had the toughest schedule in the nation. Under Self, the Jayhawks have ranked in the top 10 in strength of schedule 13 times in his 20 seasons at Kansas. With Kansas ninth in the final NET rankings last season, the Big 12 was ranked first among all leagues in NET in 2022-23.

There is still one game to be added on the Kansas schedule.

Kansas Men’s Basketball 2023-24 Schedule (Home games in ALL CAPS)
Nov. 1 (Wed.) – FORT HAYS STATE (EXHIBITION)
Nov. 6 (Mon.) – NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL
Nov. 10 (Fri.) – MANHATTAN COLLEGE
Nov. 14 (Tues.) – vs. Kentucky (Champions Classic, Chicago)
Nov. 20-22 (Mon.-Wed.) – Maui Jim Maui Invitational (Lahaina, Hawaii – Kansas, Chaminade, Gonzaga, Marquette, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, UCLA)
Nov. 28 (Tues.) – EASTERN ILLINOIS
Dec. 1 (Fri.) – CONNECTICUT (Big EAST-Big 12 Battle)
Dec. 5 (Tues.) – KANSAS CITY
Dec. 9 (Sat.) – MISSOURI
Dec. 16 (Sat.) – at Indiana
Dec. 22 (Fri.) – YALE

About John McLendon:
A Kansas native, McLendon was a pioneer for the integration of college basketball and was the curator of the fast-break. McLendon was the first African-American student to earn a degree in physical education from the University of Kansas where he was also mentored by none other than Dr. James Naismith. In 1944 during his time as a coach at North Carolina Central, McLendon championed “The Secret Game” between his team of all-Black students against the all-Caucasian Duke University Medical School which would become known as the first integrated basketball game. Some of his accolades include being the first coach in history to win three consecutive national titles, first African-American head coach at a predominantly white institution (PWI), first African American professional coach in the American Basketball League (ABL), and inducted into eight Halls of Fames.

About the McLendon Foundation:
A trailblazer for underrepresented communities in sports, the foundation honors McLendon by providing opportunities via scholarships and post-graduate internships for minorities pursuing a career in college and professional athletics. Kansas head coach Bill Self is an ambassador for the foundation and the University of Kansas has supported multiple McLendon Feature Leaders each of the last two academic years.