Sooner coach Lon Kruger and Athletic Director Joe Castiglione announced the Sooners' 15-game non-conference schedule Monday, a slate that features 10 home dates (two of them exhibitions) and five contests at NBA arenas.
Highlighting the schedule are an opening-season game against Alabama in Dallas, Texas, participation in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y., a trip to Washington, D.C. for the BB&T Classic, a home game against Tulsa and a contest with Texas A&M in Houston.
"This year we've got five neutral-site games as opposed to road games, which always is a big challenge because neutral-site games typically are very competitive and against high-level competition," Kruger said.
"Certainly that's the case this year. With so many new guys, a lot of games at home early is a benefit. You still have to play well and take care of business in those, but hopefully we'll be able to gain some momentum and confidence from that part of the schedule."
The Sooners open Nov. 2 with a home exhibition game against NCAA Division II member Washburn (19-8 last year) and play another exhibition contest Nov. 4 versus 2013 National Christian College Athletic Association runner-up Oklahoma Christian (19-12). Washburn is coached by Kruger's collegiate teammate Bob Chipman, while Oklahoma Christian is under the direction of Dan Hays, who enters the year with 701 career wins.
OU starts the regular season Friday, Nov. 8 against Alabama (23-13 last year) at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Sooners then play three straight home games against North Texas (12-20), Idaho (12-18) and Mercer (24-12). The Nov. 11 and 13 games against North Texas and Idaho constitute the opening rounds of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, while the Nov. 18 contest against 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference champion Mercer will feature the return of Bob Hoffman to Lloyd Noble Center. The Bears' head coach, Hoffman was an OU assistant coach during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons when the Sooners went a combined 45-17 (won 2005 Big 12 title).
Following the three-game homestand, Kruger's squad will head to Brooklyn and the new Barclays Center for the Nov. 22 and 23 championship rounds of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The pairings will be announced at a later date, but the three other competing teams will be Michigan State (27-9), Seton Hall (15-18) and Virginia Tech (13-19). Both of OU's games will be televised by truTV. Barclays Center was named the 2013 Sports Business Awards Sports Facility of the Year.
OU finishes November with a home outing against Arkansas-Little Rock (17-15) on the 29th, and then hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (6-23) on Dec. 5 before heading to Washington, D.C., to take on George Mason (22-16) in the BB&T Classic on Dec. 8. The George Mason contest will be held at Verizon Center, home of the Washington Wizards.
The Sooners return home for Dec. 14 and 17 games against Tulsa (17-16) and UT Arlington (19-14), respectively. The game against the Golden Hurricane will mark the first between the two programs since the 2008-09 season. OU leads the all-time series with TU, 28-11, and has won 12 of the last 13 meetings.
OU will take on former Big 12 foe Texas A&M (18-15) on Dec. 21 at the Toyota Center in Houston, home of the NBA's Rockets, before closing its non-conference slate Dec. 30 at home against 2013 WAC co-champion Louisiana Tech (27-7).
The 2014 Big 12 schedule will be released later this month.