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.
LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.
USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.
Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.
The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.
Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.
Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.
The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.
They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).
THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.
Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
- MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
- Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
- Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.