On Labor Day, Monday, Sept 4, the Kentucky Wildcats roll into Lawrence and
Allen Fieldhouse the Horejsi Center to take on the Kansas Jayhawks in an early season, non-conference, Top 15 showdown.
How to Watch
Tickets are super hard to come by, but you can get in on StubHub if you’re willing to spend the money. The match begins at 1 PM and will be televised on the Jayhawk Television Network (Spectrum Cable), WatchESPN.com, and ESPN3. You can stream the audio of the match for free from www.kuathletics.com/radio.
About the Teams
Updated rankings are set to come out just a few minutes before the match, but as of Sunday, Kentucky was ranked #13 in the country and had a shiny 5-1 record. Kentucky has challenged themselves so far in the young season, having already beaten #18 USC, #22 Utah, and a Northern Iowa squad that is receiving votes in the latest AVCA poll. Kentucky’s one loss on the season came at #7 Creighton (whom Kansas will face next weekend, on Sept 9).
Meanwhile, aside from a pair of tight matches at NC State, Kansas has rolled through a much weaker non-conference schedule. KU enters Monday’s big matchup at 6-0 and ranked #9 in the AVCA.
What’s at Stake
This is a huge test for the Jayhawks. While they have shown flashes, Kansas has yet to consistently look the part of a Final Four contender in 2017. Non-conference scheduling was given as a reason why Texas got the #4 seed over KU in the NCAA Tournament last year despite losing the league by a full game to the Jayhawks. That shouldn’t be an issue this year, as KU will take on the afore-mentioned #13 Kentucky Wildcats along with #7 Creighton and #21 Purdue (not to mention two shots at preseason #1 Texas).
All three non-conference matches against ranked foes will take place in the Horejsi Center on campus in Lawrence. Since 2012, Kansas Volleyball is just 4-6 against ranked non-conference opponents. KU probably needs to win at least two of those non-conference matches, plus one against Texas, in order to impress the selection committee. What should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) is that KU can’t afford to drop any matches to any of the other opponents on its schedule, including Big 12 foes. Outside of Texas and Kansas, no other Big 12 program is receiving votes in the Top 25 poll.