Oklahoma will play at LSU and Oklahoma State will travel to Auburn on Jan. 30 in the 2015-16 Big 12/SEC Challenge.
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise every game of the third annual event matching every Big 12 squad with 10 members from the Southeastern Conference. Each league will host five games and all 10 contests will be held the same day. In addition, ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm will originate from a to-be-determined site of one of the day’s games.
LSU posted a 22-11 record last season and finished tied for third place in the SEC with an 11-7 mark. The Tigers lost 66-65 to NC State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 64. Head coach Johnny Jones, who is starting his fourth year at LSU, has assembled a recruiting class that ranks No. 3 in the country according to ESPN. The class includes No. 1 overall recruit Ben Simmons. LSU is ranked No. 19 in the ESPN “Way Too Early Top 25” while Oklahoma is No. 10.
“This is another game in what will be an appropriately challenging non-conference schedule for our team,” said Lon Kruger, who has led the Sooners to back-to-back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 2001-03. “Coach Jones has done a great job building the LSU program and they’re projected to be one of the top teams in the SEC next year. We’re looking forward to going to Baton Rouge and representing our great league.”
“This is another game in what will be an appropriately challenging nonconference schedule for our team. We’re looking forward to going to Baton Rouge and representing our great league.”
The Sooners are coming off a 24-11 campaign, second-place Big 12 finish (12-6 league record) and NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance. Among OU’s returnees are Big 12 Player of the Year Buddy Hield, fellow seniors Isaiah Cousins and Ryan Spangler, and junior Jordan Woodard. Each of those four players has started every game the last two seasons. They will enter the 2015-16 season as the only quartet in the country to do so.
OSU is 1-1 in previous installments of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, splitting with South Carolina in the past two seasons. The Cowboys were 79-52 winners in Stillwater in 2013, with the Gamecocks exacting revenge in Columbia last season.
The Big 12 is 13-7 (.650) in the Challenge, having won the series in each of its first two seasons. OU is 2-0 in the event, beating Missouri 82-63 at home last season and Texas A&M 64-52 in Houston in 2013-14.
The Big 12 has posted a 41-27 (.603) record in the last two conference challenge series it has played (vs. Pac-10, SEC) dating back to 2007.
The Challenge has eight teams ranked in the early ESPN.com top 25 rankings overall, including five Big 12 teams: No. 1 Kentucky, No. 3 Iowa State, No. 6 Kansas, No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 17 Baylor, No. 19 LSU, No. 23 Texas and No. 24 Texas A&M. Three games will pit ranked squads against each other: Kentucky at Kansas, Iowa State at Texas A&M and Oklahoma at LSU.
The Sooners own a 2-2 record against LSU. The programs haven’t met since OU won a 70-61 postseason NIT game in Norman on March 17, 2004.
2015-16 Big 12/SEC Challenge
Georgia at Baylor
Kentucky at Kansas
Mississippi at Kansas State
Tennessee at TCU
Vanderbilt at Texas
Oklahoma at LSU
Iowa State at Texas A&M
Oklahoma State at Auburn
Texas Tech at Arkansas
West Virginia at Florida