KU plays host to Florida in SEC/Big 12 Challenge; K-State travels to Tennessee

05/07/2014 1:11 PM

08/06/2014 11:17 AM

In the second season of the Big 12-SEC Challenge, Kansas will get a rematch with Florida at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Gators will make the return trip to Lawrence on Dec. 5 after defeating KU 67-61 at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla., last December. The matchup was announced Wednesday as the two conferences unveiled the slate of games for the second year of the new challenge.

K-State will play at Tennessee on Dec. 6 as part of the challenge.

KU-Florida was a logical rematch. Kansas is already slated to play Kentucky in the Champions Classic in November, and KU coaches and administrators have stood pat in refusing to play Missouri after the Tigers left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012.

It’s also a showdown between two perennial Final Four contenders and an attractive television draw.

Both Kansas and Florida are expected to begin next season in the preseason rankings despite some key losses on each roster. Kansas is reloading after losing freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid to the NBA Draft, while Florida lost four senior starters from last year’s Final Four squad, including point guard Scottie Wilbekin.

But Florida coach Billy Donovan returns sophomore forward Chris Walker, junior guard Michael Frazier II, sophomore guard Kasey Hill and incoming freshman forward Devin Robinson, a top-20 recruit.

Kansas leads the all-time series against Florida 3-2. Before Kansas’ loss in Gainesville last season, the two teams last met in Las Vegas on Nov. 25, 2006. The Jayhawks beat the eventual NCAA champion 82-80.

Before that, Florida defeated Kansas 83-73 in the preseason NIT in 2002. The Gators’ one and only trip to Allen Fieldhouse came in a 69-63 loss on Dec. 7, 1994.

The Florida game fills another marquee slot in the Jayhawks’ nonconference schedule, which is expected to be released later this month.

Kansas is poised to face presumptive preseason No. 1 Kentucky at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis, and travel to both Georgetown and Temple. The Jayhawks will also play host to UNLV at Allen Fieldhouse and face Pac-12 foe Utah in the annual home game at the Sprint Center on December 13.

KU will also play three games at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando beginning Nov. 27, where they could be in line to face a reloading Michigan State. The eight-team field also features Georgia Tech, Marquette, Rhode Island, Rider, Santa Clara and Tennessee. The bracket will be announced at a later date.

APR approved — The Kansas men’s basketball program earned the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for the seventh straight year after achieving an Academic Progress Rate (APR) in the top-10 percent of its sport, the NCAA announced Wednesday.

Kansas was one of 40 NCAA Division I men's basketball programs to achieve the honor. The streak of seven straight is matched by just 12 other Division I teams.

The KU volleyball program, coming off two straight NCAA Tournament appearances, also achieved its first Public Recognition Award.

The APR metric provides a real-time look at a program’s ability to keep athletes eligible and on track for graduation. The most recent four-year APR score is based on scores from the 2009-10 and 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 academic years. Programs that don’t reach the 930 APR benchmark risk losing scholarship and postseason eligibility.

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