NORMAN – In coach Lon Kruger's second season at Oklahoma, the Sooner men's basketball team will look for its first winning season in four years, since NBA star Blake Griffin played in Norman.
This season, Kruger's team will compete in 14 non-conference games and 17 that will be aired nationally, including three to be aired nationally during Thanksgiving week as part of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. The regular season begins Nov. 11 against Louisiana-Monroe in Norman. All five of last year's starters return, but here are five things OU fans should know about the Sooners' 2012-2013 basketball schedule.
1. vs. Texas A&M (Saturday, Dec. 15, in the All-College Classic): There isn't even time to miss the Aggies after their move to the SEC. Led by senior guard Elston Turner, the Aggies are looking to improve on their 15-18 (4-14 Big 12) record. The Aggies return two other key players from last season – center Keith Davis and guard Ray Turner, who will have to work together to make up for the loss of three of the top five scorers on the team. OU will also be the only Bedlam team playing at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
2. at Arkansas (Tuesday, Dec. 4): In the third true road game of the season, OU will head to Fayetteville, Ark., to take on the Razorbacks, who look to avenge their loss in Norman last season.
3. vs. Ohio (Saturday, Dec. 29): The 2012 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 participant pays a visit to Norman. The Bobcats are entering their first season under former TCU coach Jim Christian in their quest to become a mid-major powerhouse program like Butler and Gonzaga.
4. TV time: ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will televise 16 (and possibly 17) games for the Sooners, not including the Big 12 Tournament. Two games (possibly three) will be aired on ESPN – once against Texas and Kansas and a possible second against KU. Fourteen others will be aired on ESPN2 and ESPNU, including several conference games and nonconference games against UTEP, Arkansas and Texas A&M.
5.Sunshine State: After two regular-season games, the Sooners will head to Orlando, Fla., for the Old Spice Classic from Nov. 22 to Nov. 25. The tournament will feature games against UTEP, either Clemson or Gonzaga and a third game with an opponent still to be determined. Gonzaga went the farthest last postseason with a third-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament.