OU men's basketball schedule is tough from the start

BY JOHN HELSLEY Modified: November 14, 2008 at 10:23 am •  Published: November 14, 2008
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NORMAN — First glance at Oklahoma’s non-conference men’s basketball schedule doesn’t reveal the potential peril that awaits the Sooners in the season’s initial months.

Dig deeper – beginning with tonight’s opener against American University – and it becomes clear that there’s no easing into things for No. 12-ranked OU.

"We think it’s a very challenging schedule that may not have tons of huge-name teams,” said Sooners coach Jeff Capel, "but it’s more quality teams and really good teams; teams that made the postseason last year.”

That includes American, a team that returns three starters from a squad that a year ago won at Maryland, and in the NCAA Tournament trailed then-No. 5 Tennessee by one point with six minutes to play, before eventually falling.

And there are other challenges for an OU team picked to win the Big 12 and bent on making a deep run through March.

There’s a likely matchup Tuesday with No. 20 Davidson and star guard Stephen Curry; Big South favorite Gardner-Webb; a December date with No. 18 USC; followed by road games at Tulsa and Arkansas; and an All-College clash with Capel’s former squad, Virginia Commonwealth, at the Ford Center.

In Sports Illustrated’s College Basketball Preview issue, on newsstands now, of the aforementioned teams, only Arkansas failed to make the 65-team bracket.


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American at No. 12 Oklahoma
→When: 7:06 tonight

→Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman

→Radio: KOKC 1520-AM in OKC; KTBZ 1430-AM in Tulsa

STARTING LINEUPS

American

Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Cl. Pts. Reb.
F Brian Gilmore 6-8 220 Sr. 8.9 3.9
C Frane Markusovic 6-10 240 Sr. 1.5 0.5
G Derrick Mercer 5-9 180 Sr. 12.4 4.0*
G Garrison Carr 5-11 170 Sr. 18.4 3.4
G Frank Borden 6-4 180 Sr. 2.6 1.9

Oklahoma

Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Cl. Pts. Reb.
F Blake Griffin 6-10 251 So. 14.7 9.1
F Taylor Griffin 6-7 238 Sr. 6-5 4.9
G Tony Crocker 6-6 206 Jr. 11.3 3.8
G Willie Warren 6-4 207 Fr. - -
G Austin Johnson 6-3 176 Sr. 8.6 2.9*
* assists

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