Basketball to Face Oklahoma at Maravich Center
BATON ROUGE – The Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 announced on Thursday that Oklahoma will travel to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center to face the LSU Tigers in a men’s basketball game on Jan. 30, 2016, as part of the new single-day Big 12/SEC Challenge.
The third annual Big 12/SEC Challenge Presented by Sonic will feature 10 games played on Jan. 30, 2016, in a matchup of two premier college basketball conferences. All 10 of the Big 12’s teams and 10 of the SEC’s 14 member institutions will participate in this year’s event. Each of the 10 SEC teams participating in the 2016 Challenge will also play in the 2017 event.
Fourteen participating teams earned postseason berths in 2015 and nine of the 10 games will feature at least one team that participated in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
The Tigers and Sooners have met four times in the last 45 years with each side winning two games, but this will be the first meeting of the teams in Baton Rouge.
The teams have met twice in the National Invitation Tournament, once in New York City at Madison Square Garden (1970) when LSU won 97-94, and a first-round game in Norman in 2004 when Oklahoma won, 70-61.
The other two games were part of a two-game series with the contests scheduled for neutral sites in the region of the teams – Oklahoma City and New Orleans. Oklahoma won in OKC in 1987 as the 11th-ranked Sooners outscored the Tigers 94-85. In January 1988, the teams met again in the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans with the Tigers upsetting the 8th-ranked Sooners, 84-77.
The first two years of the challenge were played over several days in November and December, but the 2016 event will be consolidated to one single day in January. A bye in the league schedule for participating teams was created to accommodate the new format. The four SEC teams not participating will play each other in conference games the same day.
Eight of the 10 games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2, and two games will air on ESPNU. All 10 games will also be available via WatchESPN. ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm – the Saturday morning and evening roadshow that discusses the top storylines of the college basketball season – will originate from one of the Challenge games, to be announced at a later date.
“The ability to showcase SEC basketball in this kind of inter-conference competition makes this a unique and exciting event for our coaches, student-athletes and fans,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said.
LSU is coming off a 22-game season and its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2009 and will go into the 2015-16 season with the nation’s top recruiting class that features No. 1 high school player Ben Simmons, No. 14 Antonio Blakeney (both who prepped in Florida) and Louisiana Mr. Basketball Brandon Sampson of Madison Prep in Baton Rouge.
The Tigers, under fourth-year Coach and former LSU Tiger Johnny Jones, will return seniors Keith Hornsby and Josh Gray and junior Tim Quarterman along with New Orleans native and Arizona transfer Craig Victor.
Oklahoma, under Lon Kruger, in his fifth year in Norman, is coming off a 26-11 season and 13-7 record in the Big 12. The Sooners advanced to the Sweet 16 and will be led by Buddy Hield. He was the Player of the Year in the Big 12, averaging 17.4 points per game. The Sooners return 75 percent of their scoring from this past season.
Both teams participated in the Big 12/SEC Challenge a year ago with Oklahoma winning at home against Missouri, 82-63, while LSU traveled to Morgantown and took down No. 16 West Virginia, 74-73.
LSU is 3-1 in Challenge games, having won at West Virginia last year, Seton Hall (72-67) in 2012, at Rutgers (55-50) in 2011 and losing at Villanova (67-68) in 2007. The latter three games were part of the old SEC/Big East Challenge that preceded the present series between the SEC and Big 12.
Here’s the list of games for this year’s 2016 Big 12/SEC Challenge Presented by Sonic on Jan. 30, 2016:
Oklahoma at LSU
Kentucky at Kansas
Vanderbilt at Texas
Georgia at Baylor
Tennessee at TCU
Ole Miss at Kansas State
Iowa State at Texas A&M
West Virginia at Florida
Oklahoma State at Auburn
Texas Tech at Arkansas
SEC teams not participating: Alabama, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina