Every year, the first weekend of basketball brings lots of excitement for Kansas Jayhawks all over the land. The first game is usually exciting in and of itself, with a second game against a Champions Classic opponent. But usually our first opponent is simply a tune-up for our Champions Classic opponent. Look at the last few opening weekends:
2012: Southeast Missouri State, Michigan State
2013: Louisiana Monroe, Duke
2014: UC Santa Barbara, Kentucky
2015: Northern Colorado, Michigan State
Each year, there is a game that is only exciting BECAUSE it is the first real one. This year, we get two opening weekend games that are super exciting on their own, sandwiched around meaningful action for many other Kansas teams.
We've already seen the first of that action. This morning, Sharon Lokedi came in 2nd at the NCAA Regionals, and the Women's Cross Country team is hoping their fifth place finish is enough for the entire team to join her at the national race next Saturday. The men finished in 8th.
Tonight's game is the perfect way to kick off the weekend. With an 8pm tip on ESPN, you should be able to kick back and enjoy some fantastic basketball, regardless of who actually wins.
Tomorrow, the day starts with an 11am kickoff at Memorial Stadium for the matchup between two 1-8 teams. Why would that be exciting? Because Carter Stanley could potentially breathe new life into this team and we have a decent shot at keeping this competitive. If you could only watch one conference game all year, this is probably the Jayhawk game you want to see.
After that, settle in to watch the Kansas Volleyball team take on TCU at the Horejsi Center. The match starts at 4pm and is televised on ESPN3 and JayhawkTV. The 4th-ranked Jayhawks are looking to keep the pressure on the Texas Longhorns, who travel to Iowa State Saturday and are currently tied atop the Big 12 standings.
On Sunday, Kansas Women's Soccer hosts the Missouri Tigers in a first round tournament matchup. While the team probably won't talk about it, they are probably looking to get revenge for the 3-1 loss they suffered when they hosted in the same situation back in 2014. Tickets are free for students, and those that can't go to the game can watch it via the NCAA website. The game starts at 1pm.
An hour later (2pm), Women's Basketball kicks off their second season under head coach Brandon Schneider. Last year he had the youngest squad in the conference, but this year he has the most experienced roster, with no freshmen at all. This team should be pretty good this year, so now it's a good time to start following them. Those that can't attend the game can follow the action on JayhawkTV and on ESPN3.
And of course, our fantastic weekend ends with the Champions Classic, Tuesday at about 8:30 against Duke. These games are always phenomenally entertaining (we don't count that one game against Kentucky), even if they usually aren't good indicators of how the season turns out.
So which game are you most excited about? Especially out of the non-men's basketball games? Are you going to be watching the Jayhawks all weekend long?