Thanksgiving Week is prime for big college basketball tournaments. Kansas basketball has officially accepted an invitation to head to Orlando for a major ESPN event that week.
The Jayhawks will participate in the ESPN Events Invitational, the network announced today. The event will be held at the ESPN World of Sports at Disney World.
Kansas headlines an eight-team event, featuring fellow power conference programs Alabama and Miami. The event also features Belmont, Dayton, Drake, Iona, and North Texas, a pretty solid group of NCAA Tournament regulars from the mid-major ranks.
The event, previously known as the Orlando Invitational, was canceled last year, as many teams pared down their early season schedules due to the complications of COVID-19. Auburn, Gonzaga, Michigan State, and Xavier were set to headline the event.
In 2019, the last time the event was held, Maryland took home the tournament title. Kansas last participated in 2014, when it beat Michigan State in the championship game.
As of now, Kansas basketball is set to open its season on Nov. 9 against Michigan State in the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden. Duke and Kentucky will play the other game of that annual double-header.
The 2020-21 Jayhawks finished 21-9 with a 12-6 Big 12 record, ranked No. 12 in the final AP poll and No. 16 in the final coaches poll. After having to bow out of the Big 12 Tournament in the second-round due to a positive COVID-19 test, the Jayhawks drew a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They handled Eastern Washington in the first round, before falling to No. 6 USC in the Round of 32, 85-51.