Finding a foe for Oklahoma State in the All-College Classic proved difficult, with one school backing out of an apparent agreement, followed by an exhaustive search for a replacement.
Word, apparently, is out on the Cowboys, who return their top six scorers to a team that figures to contend both in the Big 12 and nationally.
Well, an opponent has been found — Louisiana Tech on Dec. 14 — and it's a squad that has some buzz around it, with some in the coaching profession warning OSU coach Travis Ford about taking on the matchup.
Tech finished 27-7 a year ago, sharing the WAC championship and at one point claiming the program's first Top 25 ranking in 28 years. The Bulldogs return all five starters from a lineup that advanced to the second round of the NIT and brings back eight of their top 10 scorers.
So Tech figures to be a solid foe and an entertaining option for OSU's return to Oklahoma City.
“We have a large alumni base in Oklahoma City and Chesapeake Arena is a first-class facility,” Ford said. “It's a great opportunity for the OSU fans in OKC that don't have season tickets to get an up-close look at this year's squad.”
The Cowboys and Bulldogs will meet in a men's-women's doubleheader at Chesapeake Arena, following a game matching the OSU women against South Florida. It will mark the first Division I women's game to be featured in the 78 years of the event.
“We are thrilled to have our first-ever ‘All-Orange' All-College this year,” said All Sports Association executive director Tim Brassfield. “From the very beginning of this historic event, Oklahoma State has been one of the biggest reasons for its success.
“Cowboy fans have always shown great support for the All-College and we're excited to host them in 2013, especially after their extremely successful year last season.”
OSU finished 24-9 last season, returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years. The Cowboys bring back Big 12 Player of the Year Marcus Smart, along with second-team All-Big 12 selection Markel Brown and third-team pick Le'Bryan Nash. Those three players represent the top three returning scorers in the Big 12.
The women's game will pair two teams coming off 22-11 seasons that stretched into the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
“We are excited for the opportunity to play a very talented and well-coached South Florida team,” said Cowgirls coach Jim Littell. “This will be a great RPI game for us and will prepare our team for the rigors of Big 12 play.
“Our team is also appreciative of the chance to play in an NBA venue in front of our home fans.”