Six-time defending Big 12 Conference champion Kansas opens its 2010-11 season with an exhibition game against Washburn, located in nearby Topeka, Kan., Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. The game from historic Allen Fieldhouse will be televised on the Jayhawk Television Network.
Kansas is looking to win its 36th-straight exhibition contest and is 21-0 in exhibition games under head coach Bill Self. Like Kansas, Washburn begins its exhibition season as well on Tuesday and is coming off a 16-14 season in 2009-10.
Kansas is the six-time defending Big 12 men's basketball champion entering the 2010-11 season. The Jayhawks have won or tied for 10 of the 14 Big 12 regular-season titles and seven postseason titles. KU returns two starters and 12 letterwinners from last season's 33-3 team, which went 15-1 in the conference and won the Big 12 regular-season title and the conference postseason championship.
Starters returning include juniors Marcus Morris, a preseason All-Big 12 selection, and Tyshawn Taylor, a preseason all-conference honorable mention choice. Morris is Kansas' leading returning scorer at 12.8 ppg and rebounder at 6.1 rpg. Taylor averaged 7.2 points last season and 3.4 assists in 2009-10 and has a career 8.5 ppg average.
Senior guard Brady Morningstar started 34 of 35 games in 2008-09 and averaged 4.1 ppg last season. Junior forward Markieff Morris, twin of Marcus, and senior guard Tyrel Reed were key contributors the last two seasons.
Markieff averaged 6.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in 2009-10, while Reed averaged 5.1 points with 44 three-pointers. Sophomore forward Thomas Robinson (2.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg) should also see significant time on the inside.
Two keys will be 2009-10 redshirts Mario Little and Travis Releford. Little is a senior guard who averaged 4.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in 2008-09, while Releford is a sophomore guard who averaged 2.7 points in 32 games in 2008-09. Freshmen guards Josh Selby and Royce Woolridge will have the most impact of the newcomers.
Selby was Rivals.com's No. 1 rated player following the 2009-10 season. Woolridge averaged 30.2 points his senior season in high school.
Washburn returns eight players off of last season's squad, which entered the MIAA Championship Tournament as the No. 8 seed and reached the title game coming up just short in a two-point loss to Nebraska-Omaha. En route to the title game the Ichabods knocked off No. 1 seed Central Missouri and then topped Missouri Western in the semifinals.
Of the eight returning players, the Ichabods, who were 16-14 overall last season and 8-12 in the MIAA, are returning 83 percent of their scoring and 85 percent of their rebounding. All-MIAA Defensive Team standout from last season Will McNeill will not play against Kansas as he broke a bone in his foot in practice. The senior guard led the MIAA in steals and averaged 12.7 points in 2009-10.
Senior forwards De'Andre Washington and Logan Stutz will anchor the Washburn scorers. Washington averaged 16.7 points and 8.5 rebounds last season, while Stutz chipped in 11.3 points and five rebounds per game. Senior guards Nate Daniels (5.6 ppg), Virgil Philistin (5.4 ppg) and Jadarren Mumpfield round out the WU starters. Mumpfield is a transfer from Alabama State.
Kansas leads the overall series with Washburn 35-3, which includes four exhibition contests. The Jayhawks have won nine straight against the Ichabods. The two teams last met in the regular-season on Nov. 15, 2007, a Kansas 92-60 victory in Allen Fieldhouse. It was KU's third game of its national championship season. The Kansas-Washburn series dates back to 1906.
--Kansas has won 35 straight exhibition contests.
--Kansas is 53-7 all-time in exhibition contests.
--Under Bill Self, Kansas is 21-0 in exhibition games, including a 6-0 record in two Canada trips - 2004 and 2008.
--Kansas has scored 100-plus points in 23 exhibition games, including its last three.
Kansas continues exhibition action when it plays host to Emporia State on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Jayhawk TV. KU opens regular-season play when it hosts Longwood on Friday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.