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From the Top of the Hill

Big Noon Kickoff's in town, the Kansas basketball teams climb one step closer to tipoff & KU volleyball tries to remain hot

4 min read

The Kansas football team is back in action this week, as the Jayhawks host No. 6 Oklahoma at 11 a.m. Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on FOX.

It’s obviously a big opportunity for the Jayhawks (5-2 overall, 2-2 Big 12) to pick up a signature win, but there’s a lot more on the line than just that.

It remains to be seen whether the Jayhawks will have starting quarterback Jalon Daniels back in uniform for this one. Daniels has missed the past three games, including the Oct. 14 road loss at Oklahoma State, and head coach Lance Leipold said on Monday that Daniels was “progressing” but that he remained in that doubtful/questionable category for this week’s game with the Sooners.

Leipold said he remained optimistic about a Daniels return and also noted that the QB has been doing more in recent practices. He did not go into any more detail about what “more” looks like or includes.

The smart money seems to be on Jason Bean getting his fifth start for the Jayhawks on Saturday against the Sooners.

Other things worth tracking entering that one:

• FOX’s pregame show Big Noon Kickoff is coming to Lawrence. That will mark the second year in a row that KU has hosted an event like that. Last year, ESPN’s College GameDay came to town for football for the first time in school history and now the FOX crew is coming. The Jayhawks should get a lot of love on a national scope from having that show on the ground at Memorial Stadium.

• Speaking of the Booth, it remains to be seen if this game will be a sellout. KU safety Kenny Logan Jr., even posed the question on Twitter on Monday afternoon, asking his 7,800 followers, “Why isn’t the Booth sold out yet?”

In other things we’ll be tracking this week…

• The KU volleyball team will return home for a pair of matches against West Virginia. The Jayhawks have won two in a row after falling to Texas on the road earlier this month, and they now sit at No. 14 in the latest AVCA poll for a second week in a row with an overall record of 14-4 and 5-3 in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks will face West Virginia (9-13, 2-7) at 6:30 p.m. Friday and again at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. That will be followed up by a pair of home matches with in-state rival Kansas State (11-8, 5-5) on Nov. 3 and 4. KU coach Ray Bechard talked with his team about the upcoming home stretch in the locker room after their weekend win over TCU, encouraging them to take advantage of the upcoming opportunity.

• KU and K-State will square off on the soccer pitch on Monday night at 7 p.m. in Lawrence. The Jayhawks enter the matchup at 3-8-6 overall and they haven’t won since Aug. 31. That includes a stretch of eight losses — five straight — and two ties in their last 10 games. The Wildcats also have just three wins on the season, at 3-11-3, and Monday’s match should mark the season finale for both programs, with only the top 10 teams in the Big 12 standings earning a trip to the postseason tournament.

• Wednesday will mark KU basketball media day at Allen Fieldhouse, with the KU men’s and women’s program previewing their upcoming seasons with the local media. The women are slated to join the men this year, with starting point guard Wyvette Mayberry, freshman sensation S’Mya Nichols and head coach Brandon Schneider meeting with the media to follow up on the showing by KU’s three other starters — Zakiyah Franklin, Holly Kersgieter and Taiyanna Jackson — last week at Big 12 media day in Kansas City. The men will trot most if not all of their players onto the court for a brief breakout session and head coach Bill Self will cap things off with a 20-minute press conference Wednesday afternoon. We’ll be there, mining for new and entertaining/exciting content about both teams.

• On Sunday, the KU men will be in Champaign, Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini in an exhibition game, — formerly called a secret scrimmage — with all of the proceeds going to support the relief effort from the recent Maui fire. It should be a great test for the Jayhawks, who will enter the 2023-24 regular season as the No. 1-ranked team in the Associated Press preseason poll.

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