There's a good chance Kansas University will release its 2003-04 men's basketball schedule this week.
"We're keeping our fingers crossed," KU media relations director Mitch Germann said Monday.
His office has been fielding eight to 10 calls a day, Germann said, from fans who anxiously are awaiting the release of the slate, which has been on hold the past couple of weeks as KU awaits the finalizing of matchups in the season-opening Guardians Classic.
Some information has been unearthed about both the conference and nonconference portions of the schedule.
The Journal-World has learned that barring some late change, KU's Big 12 slate will be highlighted by four appearances on ESPN's Big Monday.
Three of those games will be on the road -- Jan. 5 at Colorado, Feb. 9 at Oklahoma State and Feb. 23 at Texas. KU's lone home Big Monday game will be Feb. 2 against Missouri.
The Jayhawks' return trip to Missouri is set for March 7 in the league finale for both teams -- the final game in the Tigers' Hearnes Center.
Other home games for KU: Kansas State (Jan. 14), Colorado (Jan. 25), Texas Tech (Feb. 7), Baylor (Feb. 18), Iowa State (Feb. 21), Oklahoma (Feb. 29) and Nebraska (March 3). Other road games: Texas A&M (Jan. 17), Kansas State (Jan. 28), Iowa State (Jan. 31) and Nebraska (Feb. 15).
The nonconference schedule includes a game against Oregon Dec. 13 at Kemper Arena and meeting with Stanford Dec. 6 at the Wooden Classic in Anaheim, Calif. KU will play Cal Santa Barbara and Nevada Dec. 20-21 in Reno, Nev. UT Chattanooga, Fort Hays State and SUNY-Binghamton will visit Allen Fieldhouse with dates yet to be determined.
It is believed Memphis and Valparaiso are possibilities for two final home dates. Memphis is coached by former KU aide John Calipari.
KU officials won't comment about specifics of the schedule until its release. Last season's schedule was released to the public Aug. 7, 2002.
"We tell everybody we're sorry about the inconvenience," Germann said, noting that last month's overturning of the "2-and-4 rule" in a Columbus, Ohio, courtroom threw college schedules into a state of confusion.
"Once the ruling from the judge came down on exempt tournaments, the scheduling matrix became more complicated for everybody. The judge's decision not only affected Kansas, but everybody else, too."
He was referring to the elimination of the rule that allowed teams to play in just two exempt tourneys every four years. Now, if the NCAA's final request for a stay is denied, KU will schedule a pair of home games in the Guardians Classic (Nov. 17-18) with the possibility of two more in Kemper Arena (Nov. 24-25).¢
Big Monday split unfair?: KU played two home and two road Big Monday games the past two seasons, and also in 1998-99. The Jayhawks played one at home and three on the road in 1999-00 and 2000-01.
KU played one Big Monday game at home and two on the road in 1997-98. KU only once has played three of four Big Monday games at home. That was in the 1996-97 season.¢
Good news for Simien: Junior power forward Wayne Simien, who had right shoulder surgery last April, has been released by doctors to begin full-contact basketball.
However, with no reason to rush things, Simien will be held out of contact for the next several weeks.
"What I know about Wayne is he's right on schedule," KU coach Bill Self said. "He's been released (to play). He's not 100 percent. We'll take it slow and hopefully in the next three or four weeks he'll be full-go (on floor)."
Simien has been involved in rigorous rehab this summer.
"He's been working out," Self said. "He's spent time in the weight room. We anticipate a full recovery and in three to four weeks he'll be back out there."¢
Visit planned: Shane Foster, a 6-foot-6, 175-pound senior-to-be from Kenner, La., said he likely will make an official recruiting visit Oct. 17 to Kansas for Late Night With Bill Self. Foster told Shay Wildeboor of rivals.com he has a list of KU, Marquette, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, LSU and Tulane.