Kansas basketball has ‘competitive’ scrimmage with Illinois

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self speaks to media members at the Big 12 Men's Basketball Tipoff on Wednesday at T-Mobile Center.

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self speaks to media members at the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tipoff on Wednesday at T-Mobile Center.

No. 5-ranked Kansas and No. 23 Illinois competed in an NCAA-sanctioned men’s basketball secret scrimmage Saturday at Hyland Performance Arena on the campus of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.

According to a KU news release, the Jayhawks and Illini played one 20-minute period then three 10-minute sessions followed by four four-minute situational periods.

The scrimmage lasted 3 hours, 20 minutes and ended with the two teams playing against specific situations, mainly zone defenses.

NCAA rules state no fans or media can attend such preseason scrimmages.

“It was competitive,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “We had some guys step up and make some plays. We played a ton of situations in which the games came down to the last 30 seconds. That was good for us because we haven’t done much of that yet.

“Our best players played pretty well, but we’ve got to have some of the young guys step up and do better,” Self added.

According to NCAA rules, Division-I teams the past 10 years or so have been allowed to either play two exhibition games against Division-II squads or play one exhibition game to go with one closed scrimmage against a Division-I school, or play two closed scrimmages and no exhibition games.

KU for years had chosen to play two exhibitions against in-state Division-II schools which regularly drew 16,300 fans in Allen Fieldhouse.

However, last year, KU elected to play one secret scrimmage (at Tulsa) as well as one exhibition game (Emporia State) in preparation for a difficult season-opener at the Champions Classic against Michigan State. Self thought it was important to scrimmage a fellow Division-I school in order to adequately prepare for the rugged opener versus the Spartans. He felt it worked out well, hence the same scenario this preseason.

Kansas will next play host to Pittsburg State at 7 pm, Thursday, Nov. 3, in Allen Fieldhouse. It will be televised on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+. After that, KU will meet Omaha in the regular-season opener Nov. 7 at Allen.

KU will also play host to North Dakota State on Nov. 10 with the Champions Classic game against Duke this year set for Nov. 15 in Indianapolis.

McCullar goes against former Red Raider teammate

KU senior Kevin McCullar and Terrence Shannon of Illinois are transfers from Texas Tech who played for their respective new teams Saturday. McCullar posted a pair of pictures with Shannon on Twitter.

McCullar is a 6-6 senior from San Antonio; Shannon is 6-6 senior from Chicago.

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Gary Bedore covers all aspects of Kansas basketball for The Star — the current team as well as forming players and coaches and recruiting. He attended KU and was born and raised in Chicago, as well as Lisle, Ill.

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