Aug. 4, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma men's basketball team will open the 2011 76 Classic by playing Washington State on Thursday, Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving Day). The bracket for the eight-team tournament was announced this afternoon by ESPN Regional Television.
The OU-Washington State matchup will start at 10:30 p.m. CT and be televised by ESPN2. The Cougars, who went 22-13 last year and finished in sixth place in the Pac-10 after recording a 9-9 league record, advanced to the NIT semifinals in March. WSU returns three starters but lost two-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection Klay Thompson. Thompson averaged a league-high 21.6 points per game last year and was picked in the first round of the NBA Draft (No. 11 overall) by Golden State.
The winner of the OU-Washington State game will play the winner of the New Mexico-Santa Clara first-round matchup on Friday, Nov. 25 at 11 p.m. CT on ESPN2. The first-round losers will meet Nov. 25 at 8:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU. New Mexico finished 22-13 last year while Santa Clara posted a 24-14 record.
The other side of the bracket has Boston College (21-13) meeting Saint Louis (12-19) and Villanova (21-12) taking on UC Riverside (12-19) in the opening round. The championship game is set for Sunday, Nov. 27, at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2. All games will be played at the Anaheim Convention Center, adjacent to Disneyland.
This will mark the fifth year of the 76 Classic. Previous winners include USC in 2007, Wake Forest in 2008, West Virginia in 2009 and UNLV last season under head coach Lon Kruger.
"It's a very competitive early season tournament field," said Kruger, who is in his first season at OU and 26th season as a collegiate head coach. "The trip last year was really good for us at UNLV and got our season off to a strong start. It's a really nice environment for teams to play three early season games and we look forward to it very much."
The Sooners return four starters, as well as 76 percent of their scoring, 76 percent of their rebounding and 80 percent of their assists, from last year's 14-18 team.