Aug. 8, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma men's basketball team will begin its 2002-03 regular season Thursday, Nov. 14 against Alabama in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in New York City. The game will be one of four over a two-night span in historic Madison Square Garden.

Formerly a four-team event that saw each squad play two games, the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic now features eight teams with each squad playing one contest. All four games will be televised nationally by ESPN2.

The Sooners and Crimson Tide will square off at approximately 8:15 CST. The first game of the night will pit Syracuse vs. Memphis at 6 p.m. CST. On Friday, Nov. 15, Villanova will play Marquette at 5:30 p.m. CST before Texas faces Georgia.

Each of the eight teams is ranked in ESPN.com's "Summer Sizzling 50," with OU holding the highest ranking at No. 3. Alabama is rated No. 13 on the Internet site's list. The Crimson Tide finished 27-8 last year with a 12-4 Southeastern Conference record. Alabama lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Kent State, 71-58.

The Coaches vs. Cancer program, created by the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches, exists to leverage the strength, community leadership and celebrity of our country's basketball coaches to raise awareness and, in turn, reduce cancer risk through education programs while raising funds for the American Cancer Society.

Tickets for the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic are available through the Madison Square Garden Box Office or by calling TicketMaster at (212) 307-7171.

The entire OU men's basketball schedule is expected to be released later this month.