Courtesy of Kansas Athletics
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 3 Kansas men’s basketball opens the 2021-22 season when it plays Michigan State in the State Farm Champions Classic, Tuesday, Nov. 9. The contest will tip at 6 p.m. (Central) from historic Madison Square Garden in New York City and will be televised on ESPN.
Beginning in 2011, the Champions Classic is a neutral site doubleheader series featuring men’s basketball powers Kansas, Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State. Kansas is 5-5 in the Champions Classic and the Jayhawks have won four of their last five appearances in the event after last year’s 65-62 win against Kentucky in Indianapolis. KU is 1-2 versus Michigan State in the Champions Classic.
Kansas returns four starters and eight letterwinners from last season’s 21-9 team that finished second in the Big 12 with a 12-6 record. KU advanced to its NCAA-record 31st-consecutive NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks welcome 10 newcomers, including four transfers. Kansas is the preseason favorite in the Big 12 for the 19th time in the 26-year history of the conference.
Senior guard Ochai Agbaji led KU in scoring last season at 14.1 points per game. Senior guard Remy Martin, a fifth-year transfer from Arizona State, is the 2021-22 Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year as voted on by the league coaches. Joining Martin on the six-member preseason all-league team are KU seniors Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack. Agbaji and McCormack (13.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg in 2020-21) are returning KU starters as are redshirt-sophomore Jalen Wilson (11.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and junior Christian Braun (9.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg). Wilson will not play against Michigan State due to a suspension.
Last week, Kansas posted an 86-60 exhibition win against Emporia State on Nov. 3 in Allen Fieldhouse. Agbaji led four Jayhawks in double figures with 17 points, including five three-point field goals on seven attempts. McCormack had 16 points with a team-high eight rebounds, while Remy Martin scored 15 points and Braun had 10.
Kansas will return home on Friday, Nov. 12, to host Tarleton State, at 7 p.m. (Central) in Allen Fieldhouse. KU has won a mind-boggling 48-straight home openers beginning in 1973-74 under head coach Ted Owens.