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Starting with the 1999-2000 season, Bulls teams have compiled a 1-37 record in their annual fall forays past the Mississippi. Cry them a river, indeed.

So Skiles' response when asked to talk about this six-game trip was easily understood.

"Do I have to?'' he said. "It's actually only a week because we get to come home for Thanksgiving and then we go back out. We'll be gone eight days and then come home for three days. So it's a little bit different this year. It should make it at least appear to be shorter. Maybe that will bust it up.''

On Thanksgiving Day, the Bulls head to Texas for back-to-back games Friday at San Antonio and Saturday at Houston.

"It doesn't look like such a monster,'' guard Kirk Hinrich said of the split trip. "They're all winnable games, but we just have to go out there and take them one at a time. The shortened trip could help some because any time you get on the road trip for -- I don't know what it was last year, something like 13 days -- it gets to be a grind.''

Even the Bulls' last championship squad, which finished 62-20, eked out a 4-3 record on its November trip west in 1997.
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