NORMAN- A new “border war” will be added to the ranks of college basketball next season.
The Oklahoma Sooners and Arkansas Razorbacks announced a multi-year agreement on a neutral-site non-conference game at the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK.
“We’re excited about it. We’ve been talking to Arkansas for two or three years about the possibility,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said in a teleconference. “I think it’ll be a fantastic series.”
The first two matchups will be on Dec. 12, 2020 and Dec. 11, 2021.
Tickets will be divided evenly in a 50-50 split, similar to what Sooners fans experience every Oct. in the OU-Texas football game.
“Our goal is to turn this border rivalry into a weekend-long event that brings together two passionate fan bases and creates an atmosphere second to none,” OU Vice President and Athletic Director Joe Castiglione said in a press release.
Kruger said he hopes the timing of the event will allow the game to take center stage.
“I think it’s great too that it falls on that weekend after the football [conference] championships,” he said. “Maybe there’s a step back, take a deep breath and immediately turn to the Border War or whatever it becomes to be called.”
The Sooners are no strangers to playing at the BOK Center, last playing host there to USC in 2018.
“The last couple or three years we’ve played games in Tulsa and it’s been a great experience,” Kruger said.
The Razorbacks continue Oklahoma’s trend of scheduling strong opposition in their non-conference slate under Kruger.
“We’ve benefited greatly from success in non-conference play,” he said.
Arkansas posted a 20-12 record last season before the SEC and NCAA tournaments were scrapped over safety concerns surrounding COVID-19.
The Sooners and the Razorbacks have met 28 times with Arkansas holding a 16-12 series lead.
Kruger also addressed the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 basketball season, suggesting he is still in wait and see mode.
“The craziness about what we’re dealing with is that every week there is more information. Each week we’ll have a better idea of if we’ll be able to go in the fall or not,” he said.
“Everything is up in the air.”
When basketball does return, Kruger said he hopes the fans will latch on to the renewed rivalry.
“Hopefully both crowds can come and use up all of their tickets and have a great atmosphere,” he said.