OKLAHOMA CITY -- The first round matchups for the 76th edition of the All-College Classic were announced Tuesday by ESPN, and the University of Oklahoma will face Houston while Oklahoma State will take on New Mexico in the first round of play.
The annual tournament, set to begin Saturday, Dec. 17 in Oklahoma City begins with a double header with both OU and OSU playing back-to-back.
"The All-College Basketball Classic has always been a great event for us," said OSU head coach Travis Ford. "It comes against quality opponents in front of terrific crowds. It's a great opportunity to get into Oklahoma City and be a part of a tournament that has an incredible history and tradition. New Mexico is going to be one of the top teams in the country next season."
This year's All-College Classic is the 67th appearance for OU, but for first-year head coach Lon Kruger, it is nothing new.
"The All-College Basketball Classic certainly brings back warm memories," said Kruger. "As a coach at Florida, our team participated in the tournament in 1995. It was a first-class experience then and the event has improved since that time. Houston will be a challenge, as (head) coach (James) Dickey has done an outstanding job everywhere he's been."
Kruger's 1995-96 Florida team captured the four-team All-College Tournament title, defeating OU in overtime in the championship game by a 76-72 score.
The Sooners will face the Cougars and former Oklahoma State assistant James Dickey who is entering his second hear as the head coach at Houston.
"We are excited about the honor and opportunity to participate in the historic All-College Basketball Classic," said Dickey. "ESPN and the Oklahoma City All Sports Association do a wonderful job with the teams. Playing the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City will be a tremendous challenge for our young team."
Oklahoma State has won eight of its last 10 games in the All-College Classic and has not face New Mexico since the first round of the 1991 NCAA Tournament.
New Mexico finished 22-13 a year ago and advanced to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. The Lobos return five players who started at least 19 games last season, including senior forward Drew Gordon, a transfer from UCLA who averaged 13 points and 10.5 rebounds a year ago.
UNM is led by head coach Steve Alford, who will enter his fifth season with the Lobos.
"We very much appreciate the opportunity that ESPN has granted our program," Alford said. "We are fully aware we are playing an outstanding team in Oklahoma State, but we are excited about the challenge."
"With Oklahoma and Oklahoma State bringing in programs that are definitely moving upward, to compete against two teams with tremendous basketball heritage, this year's event should be really special," said Tim Brassfield, executive director of the Oklahoma City All Sports Association. "For the 76th time, fans will focus on this tradition-rich holiday classic in downtown Oklahoma City."
Specific game times will be released at a later date, and tickets will go on sale this fall.