A year after their second consecutive defeat in the Elite Eight, Kansas enters the 2017-18 season ranked No. 4 and once again right in the thick of the national championship conversation. Bill Self lost Frank Mason, Josh Jackson and Landen Lucas from last year’s squad, but with a All-American candidate in Devonte’ Graham and a wealth of experience throughout the roster, the Jayhawks are primed for a 14th-straight Big 12 regular season title.
If you’re looking to watch Kansas basketball this season, most of their games will be broadcast on the ESPN networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU), while some are also on Jayhawk TV or CBS. A complete schedule can be found here.
Fortunately for those who are without cable or are looking to watch games away from a TV, all of these channels can be watched online via your computer, your phone or another streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
DirecTV Now: ESPN, ESPN2, Jayhawk TV and CBS (live in select markets) are included in all four of the base channel packages, while ESPNU is included in the “Just Right” package and above. The cheapest bundle is $35 per month, and the cheapest with ESPNU is $50 per month, but you get a free 7-day trial when you sign up, allowing you to watch a game or two at no cost.
How to Watch: You can watch ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and CBS on your computer via DirecTV Now’s website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app. For games on Jayhawk TV (or any of the ESPN networks), you can watch on your computer via WatchESPN.com, or on a streaming device via the WatchESPN app. If asked to verify your cable provider, you’ll sign in with your DirecTV Now credentials.
Sling TV: ESPN, ESPN2 and Jayhawk TV are included in the “Sling Orange” base bundle at $20 per month, while ESPNU is part of the “Sports Extra” add-on for another $5 per month. CBS is not available via this service. Like the above option, this comes with a free 7-day trial if you’re just trying to watch one particular game this week at no cost.
How to Watch: You can watch ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU on your computer via Sling TV’s website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app. For games on Jayhawk TV (or any of the ESPN networks), you can watch on your computer via WatchESPN.com, or on a streaming device via the WatchESPN app. When asked to verify your cable provider, you’ll sign in with your Sling TV credentials.
CBS All Access: For the games that are being broadcast on CBS, your best option is likely going to be CBS All Access, which allows you to watch a live stream of your local CBS channel (most markets included) for $5.99 per month. It also comes with a free 7-day trial.
How to Watch: You can watch on your computer via CBS.com (under “Live TV” and “CBS (Local Station)”), or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the CBS app.
There will be a lot of production to replace in Lawrence this season, as Mason, Jackson and Lucas combined to average 45.2 points, 19.9 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 3.5 steals and 2.2 blocks per contest. Replacing Mason’s deadly three-point shooting, Jackson’s open-court ability and Lucas’ interior presence won’t be easier, but Bill Self has faced tougher turnarounds before and still put together a Big-12 champion.
In 2017-18, Kansas’ success will hinge on the play of Devonte’ Graham. The senior averaged 13.4 points, 4.1 assists, 1.5 steals and hit 38.8 percent of his 6.7 three-point attempts last season, and with Mason and Jackson gone, he becomes the clear go-to offensive option for the Jayhawks. He just missed earning a nod on the AP preseason All-American team, finishing eighth in voting, but he’s still a legitimate Player of the Year candidate if he puts this team on his shoulders.
“He’s never in a hurry, but he still goes where he needs to go,” Fort Hays head coach Mark Johnson said after his team played the Jayhawks in an exhibition game. “You can tell he leads them off the court as much as he leads them on the court, and just a great player for you in the program. I think that touch has just been passed to him from last year from [Frank] Mason.”
Behind Graham, Kansas has a nice mix of experience and young talent. Svi Mykhailuk, Lagerald Vick and Malik Newman are all upperclassmen who figure to play a significant role, while sophomore Arizona State transfer Sam Cunliffe is an intriguing talent, Billy Preston is a 5-star true freshman and mammoth sophomore center Udoka Azubuike has looked tremendous during preseason, averaging 16.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.67 blocks in three exhibition games.
Put it all together, and Bill Self once again has a stacked team in Lawrence.
“A lot of people expect this team to be really, really good, which we have a chance,” Self said. “That’s a lot to replace, but somehow people are so optimistic always that we should always be better.”