If the bad times are what truly define a sports fan, then true Jayhawks fans are about to be identified. This year's University of Kansas men's basketball squad looks like it will test fans' patience like none since the words "Eric Chenowith" still meant something. First came the impossible loss to the Syracuse Orangemen, then the all-too-possible defeat at the hands of the UMass Minutemen. The clouds appeared to be parting with the imminent debut of ballyhooed junior-college transfer Mario Little, but a freak hand injury further delayed his return. The good news is that there's still time for coach Bill Self to get his team shipshape before the games really mean something. He and his players face their toughest test yet when KU opposes the Tennessee Volunteers at 1 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse (1651 Naismith Drive in Lawrence, 785-864-3141). Tickets are sold out, but you can catch the game at any local watering hole with ESPN.
Sat., Jan. 3, 1 p.m., 2009