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Sooners add another yet marquee non-conference basketball game to 2018-19 schedule

Sooners add another yet marquee non-conference basketball game to 2018-19 schedule

Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger, center, watches as Read Streller, right, and Brady Manek, prepare to run a drill during practice for an NCAA men’s college basketball tournament first-round game, in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. Oklahoma plays Rhode Island on Thursday. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

TULSA — OU basketball is coast to coast.

Earlier this week, the Sooners announced a rematch with USC on Dec. 15 at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa.

Today OU revealed its participation in a game against Notre Dame in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 4 in Madison Square Garden in New York City. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on ESPN.

“We are honored to participate in the 2018 Jimmy V Classic and support the V Foundation’s work in cancer research,” OU head coach Lon Kruger said in a statement. “It will be an incredible opportunity for our team to be a part of the rich basketball history at Madison Square Garden. Mike Brey has done a phenomenal job with the Notre Dame program and we look forward to facing them in the heart of our non-conference schedule.”

It’s OU’s first appearance in the Jimmy V Classic, which continues the work of Jim Valvano, the unforgettable personality who won the 1983 national championship by upsetting Houston’s “Phi Slamma Jamma” juggernaut. Now on its 24th year, the Classic is the centerpiece of V Week, which has raised more than $22 million for cancer research.

The Dec. 4 game is but half of a sweet college basketball doubleheader: West Virginia takes on Florida in the second game.

It’s also the first ever meeting between the Sooners and Fighting Irish. John MacLeod, who coached in the NBA for 18 seasons and made 11 playoff appearances, was head coach at both OU and Notre Dame, starting his head coaching career in Norman and concluding it in South Bend.

OU has played 20 games at Madison Square Garden and is just 7-13 there, including three straight victories. The Jimmy V Classic is OU’s first trip to New York since playing in the 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Tickets to the event will go on sale at a later date, while tickets for the OU-USC game in Tulsa go on sale Friday.

That game concludes the series that began last year at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, an 85-83 Sooner victory as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. It’s OU’s first trip to the BOK Center since playing the University of Tulsa there when the arena opened in 2008.

“We’re extremely grateful for the support that Tulsa-area fans have given to our program,” Kruger said. “The OU alumni and fans in Northeastern Oklahoma have always shown their dedication to the Sooners by traveling to Norman, and we’re excited to return the favor by bringing this marquee matchup to Tulsa. We aim to bring the Sooner basketball experience to BOK Center and create a terrific atmosphere as we take on a talented USC team.”

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Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “The Franchise Drive” every weeknight from 6-8 on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his personal page at johnehoover.com.

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Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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