LAWRENCE, Kansas (Ticker) -- Second-ranked Kansas opens its season on Tuesday night in the first round of the Preseason NIT against Holy Cross in a rematch of an NCAA Tournament first-round meeting from a year ago.
Kansas (0-0) was the top seed in the Modwest Region last year and nearly became the first No. 1 to lose to a No. 16 team, but posted a 70-59 victory over Holy Cross. The Crusaders held a 37-35 halftime lead and were within, 60-57 with 4:12 left before the Jayhawks closed the contest on a 10-2 run.
Kansas went on to reach the Final Four, where it lost to eventual national champion Maryland. The Jayhawks lost Drew Gooden to the NBA, but Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison anchor a strong starting five.
Hinrich averaged 14.8 points per game a year ago and is joined by sophomore Aaron Miles in the backcourt. Collison averaged 15.6 points and Gooden's spot in the lineup goes to emerging sophomore Wayne Simien.
Jayhawks coach Roy Williams has won the Preseason NIT three times and is 12-0 in the event.
Holy Cross (0-0) returns senior forward Tim Szatko, who averaged 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds a year ago. Szatko is one of four starters who played for the Crusaders last season.
The winner will meet North Carolina-Greensboro or Wagner in the second round on Friday.