Already this college basketball season, we've seen Duke vs. Kansas and Michigan State vs. Kentucky, stoking us with early premium matchups involving next-level talent pumping March-like life into the sport.
And those are just two clashes among a growing list.
Now for No. 8 Oklahoma State vs. No. 13 Memphis.
Tip time 7 p.m. Tuesday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“I think you can add this one to the list,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford.
Add it, indeed.
And cherish it, because Cowboys-Tigers will rank among the best non-conference games to ever tip inside any version of Gallagher-Iba Arena — the best in nearly 60 years.
Only seven times previously has OSU been involved in a nonconference home game involving two ranked teams. This one's the first featuring two top-15 teams since 1957-58, when No. 11 Bradley visited Gallagher Hall to face Henry Iba's No. 6-ranked squad.
That '57-58 season was as good as it gets in OSU's nonconference history, with three matchups of ranked teams at Gallagher Hall.
Since then, there's been only one: last season, when No. 10 Gonzaga came to GIA for a New Year's Eve date with the No. 22 Cowboys.
OSU was still a team on the climb when it met the Zags a year ago, yet the two squads combined for a dramatic game Gonzaga eventually claimed 69-68.
These Cowboys have a shorter climb this time, and hope to start it against a Memphis club built around four key seniors, including guard Joe Jackson, the Conference USA Player of the Year last season when the Tigers finished 31-5.
OSU counters with the Big 12's reigning Player of the Year in Marcus Smart — and more.
“These are two good teams,” Ford said. “There's going to be a lot of future NBA talent on the court, on both sides. There are some good matchups in this game, but it's going to be a good early challenge for both teams.'
“I like it.”
Ford's Cowboys like it, too, admitting that it's been tough sifting through the likes of Mississippi Valley State, Utah Valley and Arkansas-Pine Bluff to get here.
“This is what we've been waiting for,” said Markel Brown.
The fans, too, it seems.
At least that's the hope among the team.
OSU's first three games played to modest crowds.
The Cowboys covet the rowdy.
And a matchup nearly 60 years in the making surely deserves it.
“Hopefully, we'll have a great crowd here,” Ford said. “This place will be rocking and rolling.”