By John Shinn
CNHI News Service
NORMAN, Okla. —
Oklahoma announced its men’s basketball 14-game non-conference schedule on Friday, a slate that features seven home dates (two of them exhibitions), three nationally televised games Thanksgiving week at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., an All-College Classic meeting in Oklahoma City against former Big 12 rival Texas A&M, a visit from 2012 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 participant Ohio, and road contests against Oral Roberts and Arkansas.
The Sooners’ 18-game double round-robin Big 12 schedule was released Aug. 9.
“Even though it will be extremely challenging, we really like our schedule,” said Kruger, who is just six wins shy of 500 in his collegiate coaching career. “Seven of the non-conference opponents won at least 20 games last year, four made the NCAA Tournament and two played in the NIT. Seven of our non-league games will be played away from home, which can be difficult. But we like our team and know that our guys will be up for every challenge. They’re excited for Nov. 2 to get here, for sure.”
OU opens with home exhibition games Nov. 2 and 7 against NCAA Division II members Washburn (25-8 last year) and Central Oklahoma (15-11), respectively.
The regular season begins Nov. 11 at home against Louisiana-Monroe, then hits the road for five straight contests. OU will play at Texas-Arlington (24-9; NIT last year) on Nov. 16 before competing in the three-game Old Spice Classic during Thanksgiving week. The Sooners will open in Orlando vs. UTEP (15-17) on Nov. 22 and then play Clemson (16-15) or Gonzaga (26-7) on Nov. 23. The third round on Nov. 25 will pit OU against Davidson (25-8), Marist (14-18), Vanderbilt (25-11) or West Virginia (19-14). Gonzaga, Davidson, Vanderbilt and West Virginia all participated in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. All three of OU’s Old Spice Classic games are scheduled to be televised by ESPN2.
The Sooners travel to Tulsa for a Nov. 28 road contest at Oral Roberts (27-7; NIT), host Northwestern State (16-16) Nov. 30 and then go back on the road for a Dec. 4 game at Arkansas (18-14) on ESPN2. After final exams, they’ll face Texas A&M (14-18) in a Dec. 15 All-College Classic game at Chesapeake Energy Arena in downtown Oklahoma City (televised by ESPNU).
OU will close its non-league schedule with three home dates: Dec. 18 vs. Stephen F. Austin (20-12), Dec. 29 vs. Ohio (29-8; NCAA Sweet 16) and Dec. 31 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (6-24).
OU men’s basketball season ticket renewal information will be mailed/emailed in the coming week. New this year for all season ticket holders is a personal VIP Day with the Sooners. The popular “20 Prizes in 20 Days” promotion will return, with all season ticket holders who renew by Oct. 1 being included in the chance to win one of 20 prizes given away once a day beginning Oct. 13. A list of prizes will be posted next week on SoonerSports.com.
Season ticket holders renewing before the deadline will also receive a $20-per-ticket discount (up to an additional $10 off the entire order if renewed on SoonerSports.com) and access throughout the season to the season ticket holder concession stand at Lloyd Noble Center’s Legacy Court.