Looking for ways to maximize basketball games in general and home games in particular, Kansas University decided to play host to its own party next season.
KU will run the Jayhawk Invitational men's basketball tournament this November, a five-team round-robin event which will be highlighted by the already-scheduled Kansas-Arizona matchup Nov. 25.
Only four of the games will be at Allen Fieldhouse, and Kansas will play in all of them. Arizona will play host to three games, and the mid-major opponents to be determined will play each other at their own sites.
The setup is a way for all the teams involved to have a longer regular-season schedule, and for KU and Arizona to have as many home games as possible. Because the Jayhawk Invitational will be considered a multi-team event, KU will be able to have a 31-game regular-season schedule instead of 29 games.
A new rule in place allows for schools to play one multiteam event a year, which if exercised allows for two additional games on the slate. The Jayhawk Invitational will be KU's multiteam event in 2007-08, after trips to Las Vegas and Maui, Hawaii, highlighted the past two season schedules.
By rule, the event must be completed within 15 days of the first game. Since the KU-Arizona game will complete the Jayhawk Invitational and already is set in stone for Nov. 25, the round-robin play is expected to start around Nov. 11.
The three mid-major opponents have not yet been determined.
Besides being the showcase game of the Jayhawk Invite, the Kansas-Arizona game will be a part of the Big 12/Pac-10 challenge organized earlier this year. The Jayhawks will return the favor by playing the Wildcats in Tucson, Ariz., in 2008-09.
According to KU associate athletics director Larry Keating, fillng the final slots in the Jayhawk Invitational - and scheduling the games - is the last remaining snag in KU's 2007-08 nonconference schedule. It's expected to be released soon, with the Big 12 Conference schedule expected to be made public during the summer after television details are worked out.
Nonconference opponents already known for 2007-08 include road games at Southern California, Boston College and Georgia Tech, as well as a home game with DePaul.