Kansas will play national men's basketball powerhouses Arizona and UCLA at home.
The Jayhawks will meet Tulsa, Oregon and California on the road.
Add to that ESPN Big Monday conference appearances at Iowa State and Texas Tech and at home against Missouri and Texas not to mention a berth in the Preseason NIT and you have the highlights of KU's 2002-03 slate, released Wednesday.
At least 14 KU games will be televised nationally.
Lute Olson's Arizona Wildcats, who fell to the Jayhawks, 105-97, last season in Tucson, will complete a home-and-home series with KU by visiting Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, Jan. 25.
The Wildcats will be the second nonconference team KU will play after the start of Big 12 Conference play. KU will meet Wyoming on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Allen Fieldhouse in a game to be shown on ESPN2.
The Jayhawks will not return the trip to Wyoming.
UCLA will visit KU on Saturday, Dec. 21, to complete a home-and-home series with the Jayhawks, who fell to the Bruins, 87-77, last year at Pauley Pavilion.
KU will play Oregon on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Rose Garden in Portland. Oregon will make a return trip to Kansas City's Kemper Arena in 2003-04.
The Jayhawks will play Cal on Saturday, Dec. 28, in the Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland, Calif. Cal will repay the visit in 2004-05, playing KU at Kemper Arena.
KU's trip to Tulsa on Wednesday, Dec. 11, will complete a two-for-one deal with the Golden Hurricane.
The season starts with exhibition games against the EA Sports All-Stars on Nov. 4 and Washburn on Nov. 12, preceding KU's Preseason NIT opener against Holy Cross on Tuesday, Nov. 19.
A victory against the Crusaders would propel KU into a home game against Wagner or UNC Greensboro, with another victory setting up a possible KU-North Carolina NIT semifinal contest on Nov. 27 in New York.
One of the toughest parts of KU's schedule might be its early March contests. The Jayhawks will meet Oklahoma State in a noon Senior Day contest on March 1 at Allen Fieldhouse, then travel to Texas Tech on Monday, March 3, and finish at Missouri on Sunday, March 9.
The Big 12 Tournament is March 13-16 in Dallas with the NCAA Tournament to follow.
"Big 12 policy is you must finish the last four games with two at home and two on the road, and you never have more than two games in a row on the road," said KU senior associate athletic director Richard Konzem, who is in charge of scheduling.
Coach Roy Williams was out of town Wednesday and unavailable for comment.
"That's a situation the Kansas-Tech game was selected for Big Monday," Konzem said. "We play Tech only once this year and it has to be in Lubbock. We can't flip-flop like the old days.
"It's a little more difficult and complicated with TV. With Kansas and Oklahoma both making the Final Four, it makes it even more difficult to piece together this puzzle."
Kansas will play at least six times on ESPN, five times on CBS, twice on ABC and at least once on ESPN2.
KU filled its final open date on the schedule with Wyoming just days ago.
Why so late?
"Everybody's scrambling to fill their schedules since a judge ruled (two weeks ago) that the NCAA 2 and 4 rule was to stay intact at least one more year," Konzem said of the rule that limits teams to two appearances in exempt tournaments every four years.
Several teams suddenly unable to play in tournaments needed to fill dates on their upcoming schedules.
"It all happened in the recruiting period with coaching staffs on the road. Never have so many scheduling calls been made to coaches on cell phones with basketballs bouncing in the background," Konzem said. "We had no dates to play in the November, December, early January time period. We just recently learned our open date in Big 12 play was Jan. 15, so we basically were looking for somebody who could play on that day."
Air Force was one possibility that didn't pan out. Rutgers called Konzem as late as Wednesday, but Wyoming was the right fit.
"It turned out Wyoming could play Jan. 15, also," Konzem said. "ESPN heard about it and decided to televise it. Next year I envision us not being in this position of scrambling at the end because we can't participate in exempt games."
KU's game against UNC-Asheville on Jan. 2 at Allen Fieldhouse will not require a return game. "We've played them in the past and obviously coach Williams (who is from Asheville) knows their coach," Konzem said.
Also, KU walk-on Christian Moody hails from Asheville.
"That's another good reason to play them," Konzem said.
KU will play two league home games starting at 6:30 p.m. against Colorado on Wednesday, Feb. 19 and Texas A&M; Wednesday Feb. 26.
"We ended up with two Wednesday games not selected for the Big 12 package," Konzem said. "The rule is you can't have your local Jayhawk-TV package go head-to-head with the Big 12 TV game (on Wednesday). What we've always done is moved games to Tuesday night, but this year we play the previous Sunday. We didn't want to go Sunday-Tuesday so we asked for a waiver to play at 7 p.m. Wednesday. We ended up having to go with 6:30. It's not ideal, but it's driven by television. In both cases we tried to find another alternative but couldn't."