Games between well-known in-state opponents are always a good thing. Since 2008, Oklahoma and Tulsa hadn’t played. That’ll change this season.
The Sooners released their non-conference slate on Monday afternoon, with a contest at home against the Golden Hurricane being one of the highlights.
The two will showdown December 14 in Norman. The last time the two teams played, Blake Griffin was a superstar freshman for the Sooners, who walked away with an 81-55 victory and an eventual appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament under Jason Capel.
Tulsa is in a bit of a rebuilding phase, finishing 17-16 last year under head coach Danny Manning, who is entering his second season at the helm. The Golden Hurricane lost a few key players to transfer before last season (namely leading scorer Jordan Clarkson, who will suit up for Missouri starting this season) and had to make due after some roster turnover in Year One. Oklahoma must replace Romero Osby and Amath M’Baye this year after a being eliminated by San Diego State in the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament.
The game is a highlight for Lon Kruger’s squad in a relatively weak non-conference schedule. No teams that made the NCAA Tournament are on it, though it does include a bevy of teams that made the NIT. In all, the slate includes two decent opponents at neutral sites, both in Texas, in Alabama (in Dallas) and Texas A&M (in Houston), along with Louisiana Tech, George Mason, Arkansas-Little Rock, North Texas, Texas-Arlington and Mercer. Louisiana Tech did go 27-7 last season, falling in the WAC tournament, and graduated only two seniors off that team.
But focusing on the Tulsa game, it’s definitely not Bedlam, but it’s always an solid opportunity for school’s like Tulsa to play the big in-state schools. It’s also a nod to the Sooners, who don’t benefit from a game like this, but help strengthen college basketball within the state by doing so.