A game against national champion Florida and rematch of a 2001 Maui Invitational loss to Ball State will highlight Kansas University's participation in the 2006 Las Vegas Invitational basketball tournament.
The Jayhawks will meet Ball State of the Mid-American Conference, on Friday, Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving, at a time to be determined at the Las Vegas Convention Center. KU will meet Florida on Saturday, Nov. 25, at the Convention Center.
KU will play Hartford on Sunday, Nov. 19, and Tennessee State on Tuesday, Nov. 21, in round-robin tourney games at Allen Fieldhouse.
Ball State will be led by first-year coach Ronny Thompson, the son of former Georgetown coaching legend John Thompson and brother of current Georgetown coach John Thompson III.
Ronny played for his dad from 1989-92 and was the team's captain as a senior. He replaces Tim Buckley, who engineered BSU's shocking 93-91 victory over Roy Williams' Jayhawks in 2001 in Maui. Buckley was fired after going 10-18 this past season.
Ball State also lost freshman point guard Maurice Acker, who transferred to Marquette.
Hartford, of the America East Conference, also will be led by a first-year coach, Dan Leibovitz, the former top assistant under John Chaney at Temple. Hawks' coach Larry Harrison resigned after last season's 13-15 campaign.
Tennessee State of the Ohio Valley Conference is led by fourth-year coach Cy Alexander. His Tigers went 13-15 a year ago.
Billy Donovan's Florida Gators, of course, return starters Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Taurean Green, Al Horford and Lee Humphrey off last year's 33-6 NCAA title team.
The tournament is contingent on the NCAA presidents this week rubber-stamping the elimination of the 2-and-4 exempt games rule that limited teams to two exempt tournaments every four years.
Chalmers' ankle OK: KU freshman guard Mario Chalmers rolled an ankle during individual workouts this week. He suffered no broken bones and should be full speed in the next couple days.
Barnstormers to Eudora: KU seniors Christian Moody and Stephen Vinson will hold a "Barnstorming Game" at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 at Eudora Community Center. It's possible seniors Jeff Hawkins and Moulaye Niang will also play in the game with some former Jayhawks possibly to be added to the KU roster.
The KU Barnstormers will play an exhibition game against the Kansas Christian Athletic Assn. All-Stars. Veritas Christian players Andrew Bartlow and Mark Randtke will participate as well as Eudora High's Rodney Spillman. Other players will be added to the roster in coming days.
Tickets can be purchased at Signs of Life Bookstore, 722 Mass.
"From what I hear, they (KU players) went to Leavenworth and scored 140 points, half those came off gravity-defying dunks," said Veritas coach Doug Bennett, who will coach the prep players.
Boyle hired at Northern Colorado: Former KU guard Tad Boyle, who played two years for Ted Owens and two for Larry Brown at KU, has been hired as head coach at Northern Colorado.
Boyle, associate head coach at Wichita State the past six years, was tapped by athletic director Jay Hinrichs, a KU grad and former head of the Williams Fund.
"I am humbled and honored to be the next head basketball coach at the University of Northern Colorado," said Boyle, 43, who was born and raised in Greeley, home of UNC. "This is going to be both a tremendous challenge and opportunity for me where I am at in my career right now. I have been preparing myself for the last 17 years for this opportunity."
Hinrichs said: "All of us at the University of Northern Colorado are excited to have a coach of such experience and talent as coach Boyle join our staff. We are confident that he will make an immediate impact on our men's basketball program and in the community. I want to personally welcome coach Boyle and Ann (his wife) back home to Greeley."
Boyle led Greeley Central High School to a state championship as a senior in 1981. He was named Colorado Player of the Year. Greeley Central retired his high school number following his senior season. He played at KU from 1981-85.
Reynolds to visit LSU, too?: University of Oklahoma point guard signee Scottie Reynolds, who has asked out of his letter of intent, plans on visiting LSU soon. His buddy, Darrell Arthur, will be making an unofficial visit to LSU this weekend.
"No doubt. That would be great," Reynolds told the Baton Rouge Advocate, asked if he'd like to play college ball with Arthur, who has a final list of KU, Baylor and LSU.
"Darrell has not given a commitment to LSU," Arthur's mom, Sandra, told rivals.com. "We are going to take a visit to LSU this weekend. Those (KU, Baylor, LSU) are the only schools he is looking at. I told Darrell that it doesn't matter what school he attends. I would love for him to stay close to home, but he is the one that has to make this decision."