Kansas basketball kicks of the 2008-2009 season tonight with an exhibition game against the Washburn Ichabods. Here's a quick preview of the matchup.
Kansas is coming off one of its most historic seasons as it enters its 111th year of college basketball. KU won its 51st league title, most in NCAA Division I. The Jayhawks are led by junior guard Sherron Collins who averaged 9.3 points last season. Sophomore center Cole Aldrich is also back. He will anchor the inside after appearing in all 40 games last season and averaging 8.3 minutes per contest (2.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg). Returners assisting Collins on the perimeter will be sophomores Tyrel Reed and Conner Teahan. Both saw limited action last season. Look for newcomers Tyshawn Taylor and Travis Releford to also assist at the guard spot. Junior transfers Mario Little and Tyrone Appleton have been battling injuries but could also see time in the rotation when fully back. Freshmen big men Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris and Quintrell Thomas will assist Aldrich inside.
Washburn with three returning starters and 10 newcomers, the Ichabods will begin the 2008-09 season at Kansas. The exhibition is the first of three against DI schools for Washburn. Washburn will face Kansas State (Nov. 9) and UNLV (Nov. 11) before starting regular-season play hosting the Ichabod Classic Nov. 15-16. Washburn returns starters Paul Byers, Darnell Kimble and Mario Scott. The three combined to average 24.3 points a game and 11.9 rebounds last year. Four other letterwinners return and joining the team will be two NCAA Division I transfers, four junior college players and four freshmen out of high school.
More notes and roster information after the jump...
Kansas is facing Washburn for the 37th time in men’s basketball. The Jayhawks have defeated the Ichabods in each of the last eight meetings dating back to 1944, including a 92-60 win on Nov. 15 last season. KU leads Washburn, 34-3, including a 3-0 record in exhibition play. The series dates back to 1906 with KU's longest winning streak at 15 games from 1929 to 1944. The teams met twice in the 1990s and this will be the sixth meeting since 2000.
In the Polls
Kansas opens the 2008-09 season ranked No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll and No. 24 in the Associated Press poll, as both rankings were released last week. This marks the third straight and 17th time in the last 18 preseason coaches’ polls KU has been ranked. Kansas was not ranked in the 2005-06 preseason poll, yet climbed to as high as No. 13 nationally in tying for the Big 12 regular-season title and winning the league postseason championship with a 25-8 record. KU has been ranked in each of the last 47 coaches’ polls dating back to the 2005-06 season. Like the coaches’ poll, this is the 17th time in the last 18 Associated Press polls that the Jayhawks have been ranked with the only omission being in 2005-06. Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 45 AP polls.