Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood announced OSU's 2016-17 non-conference schedule, which could potentially pit the Cowboys against seven NCAA Tournament participants and nine 20-win squads.
Including the Maui Invitational field, OSU could face nine squads that finished 2015-16 inside the top 103 in the Rating Percentage Index (RPI), and a pair of NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeds from a year ago in North Carolina and Oregon.
"Our goal was to build a non-conference schedule that would prepare our team for the rigors of the best basketball conference in the country," Underwood said. "I think this schedule will not only do that, but will give our fans a chance to see us take on elite competition. In putting this schedule together, we've also begun talks to bring top quality opponents to Gallagher-Iba Arena in the coming seasons. We're looking forward to once again making GIA the rowdiest arena in the country."
One of the nation's toughest tournament fields awaits the Cowboys at the Maui Invitational, which will be played at the Lahaina Civic Center from Nov. 21-23. A pair of NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeds, three conference champions and four 20-win teams will be represented in Maui. OSU could potentially face UConn, Georgetown, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Wisconsin or host Chaminade. The Maui Invitational bracket is expected to be released later this month.
The Cowboys will head to Maryland for a showdown in College Park on Dec. 3. All-Big Ten guard Melo Trimble led the Terrapins to 27 wins and the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 last season. The Cowboys are 0-2 against Maryland, including a 73-64 loss in Stillwater in 2014.
Tulsa will host the Cowboys at the Reynolds Center on Dec. 10 in a rematch of last year's 66-56 loss to the Golden Hurricane in Stillwater. Frank Haith's senior-laden squad won 20 games and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2015-16. OSU leads the series 71-38 overall, including a 27-21 edge in Tulsa. The two programs last faced off in Tulsa in 2010, when the Cowboys won a 71-54 games at the BOK Center.
Wichita State and Oklahoma State announced a home-and-home series last month. The Cowboys will face the Shockers at Intrust Arena, a 15,004-seat venue in downtown Wichita, on Dec. 17, 2016. WSU will return to Gallagher-Iba Arena on Dec. 9, 2017. OSU has taken four of the last five meetings against the Shockers, although the two programs haven't played since a 68-58 Cowboy win in Wichita on Dec. 21, 2002. Overall, the Cowboys lead the series, 29-8, including a 14-5 mark in Wichita.
Underwood is very familiar with the level of talent at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which boasted a 25-8 record under head coach Willis Wilson last season. Underwood's Stephen F. Austin squad faced the Islanders in the 2016 Southland Conference Tournament final, which the Lumberjacks won 82-62.
The SEC/Big 12 Showdown will bring Arkansas back to Gallagher-Iba Arena on Jan. 28. The two programs are separated by less than 180 miles, but have not met on the hardwood since Dec. 20, 2003 (73-58 OSU win in Fayetteville). The Cowboys have won nine of the last 10 meetings against the Razorbacks, and lead the series, 36-14, overall, including a 12-1 edge inside historic GIA.
The Underwood era at OSU officially begins at home against Campbell on Nov. 11. The Cowboys will also host Central Arkansas (Nov. 14), New Orleans (Nov. 16), Rogers State (Nov. 30) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Dec. 14) at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
The Big 12 Conference portion of the schedule, as well as the broadcast details for all Cowboy basketball games will be announced at a later date.