Give Bill Self credit. He lost all five starters, and is still playing a brutal non-conference schedule.
Kansas released its non-league slate, and the Jayhawks have as difficult -- if not more formidable -- a schedule than the one that likely preseason No. 1 Kentucky released earlier in the week.
Self's leading returning scorer is sophomore-to-be Perry Ellis. He averaged 5.8 points per game. Gone are lottery pick Ben McLemore, big man Jeff Withey, along with veterans Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford and Kevin Young.
The Jayhawks will participate in the Champions Classic for the third year. This time around, Kansas faces Duke in Chicago. Self & Co., will also head out to the Battle of Atlantis -- which features Tennessee, Villanova, Iowa, Xavier, USC, Wake Forest and UTEP in the field. KU also has road contests against two more Top 25 teams: Florida and Colorado.
The Jayhawks will also play a fringe Top 25 New Mexico club in Kansas City, and go up against Georgetown and San Diego State in Lawrence.
Even the mid-major home foes aren't pushovers with Towson and Iona among those that will come to Allen Fieldhouse.
Here's the entire non-league slate:
Nov. 8 (Friday) – LOUISIANA MONROE, Lawrence, Kan.
Nov. 12 (Tuesday) – Duke, Chicago, Ill. (Champions Classic, United Center)
Nov. 19 (Tuesday) – IONA, Lawrence, Kan.
Nov. 22 (Friday) – TOWSON, Lawrence, Kan.
Nov. 28 (Thursday) – TBD, Paradise Island, Bahamas (Battle 4 Atlantis)
Nov. 29 (Friday) – TBD, Paradise Island, Bahamas (Battle 4 Atlantis)
Nov. 30 (Saturday) – TBD, Paradise Island, Bahamas (Battle 4 Atlantis)
Dec. 7 (Saturday) – at Colorado, Boulder, Colo.
Dec. 10 (Saturday) – at Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
Dec. 14 (Saturday) – NEW MEXICO, Kansas City, Mo. (Kansas City Shootout at Sprint Center)
Dec. 21 (Saturday) – GEORGETOWN, Lawrence, Kan.
Dec. 30 (Monday) – TOLEDO, Lawrence, Kan.
Jan. 5 (Sunday) – SAN DIEGO STATE, Lawrence, Kan.