Toughest stretch: After starting off the Big 12 schedule at Texas, the Sooners get three consecutive games against NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago, then play at Baylor. The stretch starts with home games against Kansas (Jan. 8) and Iowa State (Jan. 11) before going on the road to Kansas State (Jan. 14) and Baylor (Jan. 18).
Runner-up: The Sooners hit another difficult patch in late February, though this three-game stretch is mitigated by a week off in between games. After playing at Oklahoma State on Feb. 15, the Sooners host Kansas State a week later, then travel to Kansas for a Big Monday game on ESPN on Feb. 24.
Easiest stretch: From Nov. 29 to the end of the year, the Sooners play six of their eight games at home with the. The two neutral site games during that stretch are virtual road games–in Houston against a Texas A&M team that was 18-15 a year ago and in Washington D.C. against a George Mason team that was in the CBI last season. While neither are easy, there’s nothing overwhelming there either. Outside of those, the Sooners play home games against six teams that went a combined 110-87 last season, with only Mercer (24-12) and Louisiana Tech (27-7) going to the postseason. Both played in the NIT last year.
Best non-conference game: This could wind up being Michigan State, at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Nov. 23. But the Sooners will have to beat Seton Hall and the Spartans will have to beat Virginia Tech for that to happen. While both of those things are reasonable, the best game on OU’s non-conference schedule now is Louisiana Tech at home on Dec. 30. The Bulldogs return four starters from last year’s team that just missed out on the NCAA Tournament. That group includes junior Raheem Appleby, who averaged 14.9 points as a sophomore.
Brotherly love: Edmond Memorial’s James and Jordan Woodard helped the Bulldogs win the Class 6A title in 2011, then helped Memorial back to the championship game a year later before finishing as the runner-up. On Dec. 14 at Lloyd Noble Center, the brothers will be on opposite sides. Jordan is a freshman for the Sooners while James started all but four games for Tulsa last season.
No hogs: For the first time in seven seasons, the Sooners won’t play Arkansas as part of the non-conference schedule. The teams had two years remaining on a four-year contract but Arkansas pulled out of the game this season. The series is expected to resume at some point, although it isn’t yet known if OU and Arkansas will play in 2014-15.
Familiar faces: The Sooners will host Mercer on Dec. 2. The Bears are coached by Bob Hoffman, who spent two years as an assistant at OU from 2004-06. The Oklahoma City native also coached at Southern Nazarene and Oklahoma Baptist, his alma mater. His staff also includes assistant Spencer Wright, who graduated from OBU and also played for Central Oklahoma, and director of basketball operations Jonathan Howard, who graduated from OU.
On TV: SSTV (10), Big 12 Network (six), ESPNU (four), TBD (4), ESPN 2 (three), ESPN (two), ESPN or ESPN2 (two), truTV (two).
Game days: Saturday (14), Monday (six), Wednesday (six), Friday (three), Tuesday (two), Thursday (one), Sunday (one).
Oklahoma men’s basketball schedule
(all game times TBA unless noted)
Nov. 2: Washburn*, 2 p.m. (SSTV)
Nov. 4: Oklahoma Christian*, 7 p.m. (SSTV)
Nov. 8: vs. Alabama@
Nov. 11: North Texas, 7 p.m. (SSTV)
Nov. 13: Idaho, 7 p.m. (SSTV)
Nov. 22: vs. Seton Hall^ (truTV)
Nov. 23: TBD^ (truTV)
Nov. 29: Arkansas Little Rock, 2 p.m. (SSTV)
Dec. 2: Mercer, 7 p.m. (SSTV)
Dec. 5: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 7 p.m. (SSTV)
Dec. 8: vs. George Mason!
Dec. 14: Tulsa (SSTV)
Dec. 17: Texas-Arlington, 7 p.m. (SSTV)
Dec. 21: vs. Texas A&M&
Dec. 30: Louisiana Tech, 7 p.m. (SSTV)
Jan. 4: at Texas#, 3 p.m.
Jan. 8: Kansas#, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Jan. 11: Iowa State#, 11 a.m.
Jan. 14: at Kansas State#, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Jan. 18: at Baylor#, 1 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2)
Jan. 22: TCU#, 8 p.m (ESPNU)
Jan. 25: at Texas Tech#, 3 p.m. (BIG12)
Jan. 27: Oklahoma State#, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Feb. 1: at Iowa State#, 3 p.m. (BIG12)
Feb. 5: at West Virginia#, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Feb. 8: Baylor#, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Feb. 12: Texas Tech#, 7 p.m. (BIG12)
Feb. 15: at Oklahoma State#, 1 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2)
Feb. 22: Kansas State#, 3 p.m. (BIG12)
Feb. 24: at Kansas#, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
March 1: Texas#, 3 p.m. (BIG12)
March 5: West Virginia#, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
March 8: at TCU#, 3 p.m. (BIG12)
@ At Dallas
^ Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, Brooklyn, N.Y.
! BB&T Classic, Washington, D.C.
& At Houston
# Big 12 game