Oklahoma basketball: Sooners’ 2017-18 Big 12 slate finalized

The 2017-18 Oklahoma basketball schedule was finalized Thursday with the announcement of the Big 12 slate of games.

The Sooners will open the season on Nov. 12, hosting Nebraska-Omaha at Lloyd Noble Arena. Their first Big 12 tilt is scheduled for Dec. 30 at TCU, and they will open their home schedule against Big 12 teams on Jan. 3 with a Bedlam series basketball showdown against in-state rival Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma’s 2016-17 schedule was rated the most difficult in the country by ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index, and the one in the coming season is equally daunting. The Sooners are scheduled to play as many as 22 games against teams that made it into postseason play last season. Of OU’s 13 games away from home in 2017-18, as many as 13 of those are against teams that played in either the NCAA Tournament or NIT last spring.

The Sooners recently returned from an 11-day exhibition tour in New Zealand and Australia. OU swept its four games, eclipsing 100 points in each game and averaging 119 per game.

Lon Kruger’s team returns 80 percent of its scoring from last season and have added a top-25 recruiting class that includes five-star center piece Trae Young, who led the Sooners in scoring on their recent international exhibition tour.

Oklahoma is scheduled to appear on ESPN’s “Big Monday” Big 12 game of the week telecast twice in the coming season: Feb. 5 at home against West Virginia and on March 19 at Kansas.

This will be Kruger’s seventh season as the Sooners’ head coach. He has compiled a 122-77 record at Oklahoma, including a Final Four appearance in 2016.