OSU Hoops: Four Games You Won't Want To Miss

Oklahoma State released the nonconference portion of the 2013-14 basketball schedule on Wednesday. With the most talented team he's had in his five years at OSU, Travis Ford has reason to be excited with the season opener set for Nov. 8 against Mississippi Valley State. Here are four nonconference games that will give fans an indication of what to expect prior to Big 12 play beginning in January.

"We have set up some very exciting games during the non-conference portion of our schedule," Ford said in a news release from OSU Media Relations.

"We will play some challenging games, both at home and away. It will not only help us prepare for the Big 12 schedule, but the postseason as well. Ultimately, we want to give our team an opportunity to get better over the course of the season, and also provide our fans with some enjoyable games inside Gallagher-Iba Arena."

Here are four games to watch this season:

Memphis, at Gallagher-Iba Arena
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
The Cowboys face the Tigers in an Old Spice Classic non-bracketed game inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. Memphis head coach John Pastner returns his top five scorers from a team that was 31-5 a year ago, won the Conference USA title, advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament (before losing to Michigan State) and finished ranked in the top 20 in both national polls.

Marcus Smart and the Cowboys will have their hands full facing Tigers like 6-1 senior Joe Jackson (13.6 ppg, 173 assists, 60 steals), 6-7 junior Adonis Thomas (11.7 ppg, 4.5 reb.), 6-4 senior Chris Crawford (10.4 ppg), 6-3 senior Geron Johnson (10.4 ppg), and 6-9 senior Tarik Black (8.1 ppg).

Purdue, at Old Spice Classic, Kissimmee, Fla.
Thursday, Nov. 28 (Thanksgiving Day), 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
The Boilermakers were only 16-18 last season but head coach Matt Painter returns his top three scorers in 6-2 senior Terone Johnson (13.5 ppg), 7-0 sophomore A.J. Hammons (10.6 ppg, a team-best 6.0 rebounds, and a team-high 2 blocks), and 6-0 sophomore Ronnie Johnson (10.3 ppg, 4.1 assists).

Colorado, at MGM Grand Showcase, Las Vegas
Saturday, Dec. 21, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
The Cowboys and the Buffaloes renew their rivalry as part of the MGM Grand Showcase in Las Vegas. The first game of the doubleheader involves New Mexico vs. Marquette, and then the two former Big 12/Big Eight rivals face off in the nightcap at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, site of many of boxing's premier bouts over the past two decades.

Head coach Tad Boyle's Buffaloes were 21-12 a year ago to advance to its second consecutive NCAA Tournament, losing to Illinois, 57-49, in the second round. Four of the team's top five returning scorers are back from last season, including 6-6 junior Spencer Dinwiddie (15.3 ppg and a team-best 99 assists), 6-1 junior Askia Booker (12.4 ppg), 6-10 sophomore Josh Scott (10.2 ppg, 5.7 reb.), and 6-6 sophomore Xavier Johnson (8.9 ppg).

The Cowboys lead the series over the Buffs, 60-48, but the teams are 6-6 when facing on a neutral court.

Robert Morris, at Gallagher-Iba Arena
Monday, Dec. 30, 7 p.m.
The Robert Morris Colonials travel to Stillwater for the Cowboys final nonconference game before opening Big 12 play. They finished last season with a 24-11 record, won the Northeast Conference regular season title and then defeated Kentucky, 59-57, in the National Invitation Tournament.

Two of the team's top scorers return in 6-2 senior Karvel Anderson, who averaged 12.5 points while making 43.9 percent of his three pointers, and 6-6 junior Lucky Jones, who scored a team-high 15 points in the upset win over Kentucky and averaged 11.6 points and a team-best 6.0 rebounds.

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