Here's my take on Kansas University's 2005-2006 men's basketball schedule, one game at a time:
Nov. 9 -- Fort Hays State (Looms as one of the most eagerly anticipated exhibition games in years. Everybody wants to check out freshmen Julian Wright, Mario Chalmers and Micah Downs).
Nov. 14 -- Pittsburg State (Everybody plays. Fans begin to wonder about coach Bill Self's seven- or eight-man rotation).
Nov. 18 -- Idaho State (Spud lovers provide first real competition in rare Friday night game necessitated by imminent long flight to Maui).
Nov. 21 -- Arizona at Maui Invitational (Jayhawks will need to grow up in a hurry for what looms as toughest game on schedule).
Nov. 22 -- Arkansas or UConn in Maui Invitational (Kansas AD Lew Perkins will face his former school eventually. It could be here).
Nov. 23 -- Gonzaga, Maryland, Michigan State or Chaminade in Maui Invitational (Facing perennial tourney doormat Chaminade on the third day usually means the first two games were bummers).
Dec. 1 -- Nevada (You can't stop Nick Fazekas. You can only hope he ate too many gyros).
Dec. 3 -- Western Illinois (Leathernecks don't figure to challenge, but will Jayhawks have their game faces on?)
Dec. 6 -- St. Joseph's at Madison Square Garden (Homecoming for Russell Robinson. Will sophomore guard, plagued by ball-handling yips as freshman, befuddle Hawks in Big Apple?)
Dec. 10 -- California at Kemper Arena. (Annual KU outing in cruddy K.C. barn. They can't build Sprint Arena fast enough for me).
Dec. 19 -- Pepperdine. (Too bad it's not a home-and-home series. It'd be nice to see Waves in Malibu next season).
Dec. 22 -- Northern Colorado. (Division Two Bears probably could mail in score, but that would prevent former KU staffer Jay Hinrichs, now UNC's AD, from pocketing guarantee money).
Dec. 31 -- Northern Arizona (Ah, New Year's Eve. A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and the Lumberjacks.)
Jan. 7 -- Kentucky (KU stunned young Wildcats in Lexington last year, and you know Tubby Smith would love to turn the tables. Will Ashley Judd be sitting behind the UK bench? I sure hope so).
Jan. 11 -- at Colorado (Not the worst place to begin conference play, but probably not the best place for a young team likely to believe all that altitude baloney).
Jan. 14 -- Kansas State (Strange to see 'Cats this early in the season, but what the heck?).
Jan. 16 -- at Missouri (Seems like Jayhawks have been playing at Missouri on last Sunday of the season forever, so a Monday night game in January should be refreshing).
Jan. 21 -- Nebraska (Those who would have designs on the Big 12 championship cannot lose to the Cornhuskers at home).
Jan. 25 -- at Texas A&M (Reed Arena no longer friendly confines for visitors. Danger, danger, Will Robinson).
Jan. 28 -- at Iowa State (No middle ground. Sometimes KU teams play like Tarzan in Hilton Coliseum. Other times they play like Boy. Jayhawks will need somebody to step up and play like Tantor).
Jan. 30 -- Texas Tech (Bob Knight still brings the goods, but the glory days at Indiana are a fading memory).
Feb. 5 -- Oklahoma (Seems like every time Sooners and Jayhawks meet, the home team explodes for an insurmountable early lead, then almost blows it. Would you believe this is the lone Sunday game on KU's schedule?)
Feb. 8 -- at Nebraska (More than a modicum of want-to is mandatory at the Devaney Center because the Huskers, while no threat for the NCAA championship, treat the Kansas game like it's their Final Four).
Feb. 11 -- Iowa State (Hopefully, Iowa State junior Curtis Stinson won't be celebrating his 23rd birthday four days early).
Feb. 13 -- at Oklahoma State (Cowboys treated OSU grad Self rudely in his first visit to Gallagher-Iba Arena two years ago. This trip could be painful, too).
Feb. 18 -- Missouri (Sure, it's always a big game, but it really isn't the same without Norm Stewart. "Sit down, Norm" -- a chant that will live in Allen Fieldhouse lore).
Feb. 21 -- Baylor (Your best bet to see a KU home game without joining the Williams Fund. Students figure to turn back their tickets for this Tuesday turkey in vats, meaning GA will be plentiful).
Feb. 25 -- at Texas (Austin's Sixth Street has more Tex-Mex eateries than Lawrence's Sixth Street, but only because they've torn down our Taco Bell).
March 1 -- Colorado. (Buffaloes haven't won in Lawrence since Jim Bridger discovered Eudora).
March 4 -- at Kansas State (Wildcats haven't defeated Jayhawks in Manhattan since Jim Colbert's golf cart had training wheels).