Friday, July 29, 2005

Ga. Tech rematch switched

Jayhawks-Jackets will wait until '06-'07


Kansas University's 2005-06 men's basketball schedule -- which, barring any unforeseen snafus, will be released next week -- will not include a rematch of last year's New Year's Day victory over Georgia Tech.

The return game against the Yellow Jackets -- originally slated for Dec. 17 on Tech's campus in Atlanta -- now will be played during the 2006-07 season, the same season KU travels to South Carolina and Michigan State.

Turns out, Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum was double-booked the date of the KU game, for graduation ceremonies.

"It's not (ideal situation) in a perfect world, but it was an innocent mistake," KU coach Bill Self said. "They didn't want to play it downtown (at Georgia Dome). I certainly understand why they want to play it on campus. After they experienced the atmosphere we had at the fieldhouse, they want to have the same home-court advantage. With a young team, it's OK for us to put it off a year. We'll be facing very tough competition in Maui this year."

As far as the overall schedule ... "we're still looking to fill one nonconference date, but if all the other dates are set, we'll probably go ahead and release it next week," KU senior associate athletic director Larry Keating said Thursday.

The slate will feature 19 home games, including exhibitions against Fort Hays State (Nov. 9) and Pittsburg State (Nov. 14), plus a Dec. 10 game against California at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.

The regular-season and home opener will be Nov. 18 against Idaho State. KU will play three games at the Maui Invitational (Nov. 21-23), then return home to meet Nevada (Dec. 1) and Western Illinois (Dec. 3).

KU will play Saint Joseph's on Dec. 6 in New York's Madison Square Garden, Cal the 10th at Kemper, then return home to face Pepperdine (Dec. 19), Northern Colorado (Dec. 22) and Northern Arizona on New Year's Eve.

"We'll probably play that in the afternoon," Keating said of the pre-holiday game.

KU will complete the nonconference slate Jan. 7 against Kentucky, with one other home foe needing to be identified and a date placed on the schedule.

"It's very hard to schedule a game in July," said Keating, who is looking for a guarantee game against a mid-major or small-school team that would not require a return contest.

"Coaches are all on the road recruiting," Keating said. "We've had conversations with three people. I've got to wait until they get back next week."

Fans of the Border Showdown will be interested to learn that for the first time in five years, the KU-Missouri series will open in Columbia, Mo., with the rematch in Allen Fieldhouse.

The KU-MU game has been the last conference game on both team's league schedules -- in Columbia -- the past four seasons. Dates of the games will be announced upon the release of the schedule.

"The last several years, we've played the last game at Missouri on CBS," Keating said. "TV, very often, when looking at home or away, prefers to have a game where they perceive the better team is on the road. The only issue I made to them was we had played away four years in a row at Missouri (to end the slate).

"I said putting the Missouri-Kansas game on an earlier date than the last game was not a major problem."

The MU-KU game at Allen will not conclude the conference slate this year.

As far as ESPN Big Monday, KU will play two road games and one home game.

The opponents have not yet been revealed. That's the same as last year.

"It's not a matter of making us go on the road in two of the three games. It's a function of the TV selections," Keating said, noting only one other school had as many as three Big Monday games, and that team also would play two on the road.


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