HOUSTON – College basketball invades Toyota Center on Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Dickies Shootout presented by Target. The doubleheader features crosstown rivals Houston vs. Rice at 3:30 p.m. followed by Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma at 6 p.m.
The Texas A&M-Oklahoma game will be televised to a nation-wide audience on ESPNU with Brett Dolan and Reid Gettys calling the action.
Houston enters Saturday’s showdown at 7-5 on the season, coming off an overtime road loss at La.-Lafayette, 79-76, over the weekend. With a week off, then the holidays, the Cougars only play two games between now and the end of the month – Rice this weekend then UConn visits the Hofheinz Pavilion on New Year’s Eve.
Rice enters the week with a 4-5 record after winning two of its last three games, 67-66 at Santa Clara and 96-93 over South Alabama in three overtimes on Dec. 7. The Owls will be coming out of final exams as well, and will play Northwood at Tudor Fieldhouse on Thursday afternoon.
Both teams have played, and lost, at Texas A&M this season. The Aggies are off all week as well after winning their last two games – 74-57 over UH and 73-60 over McNeese State – to run their record to 8-2 on the season.
Their opponent, Oklahoma, enters the week 9-1 with its only loss coming at the hand of then-No. 1 Michigan State in the finals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn, NY. This will be the Sooners fifth neutral site game of the season, having played in Dallas, twice in Brooklyn and in Washington DC already this season. The Sooners play UT Arlington on Tuesday before making the trek to Houston.
Houston and Rice have played 78 times with the Cougars leading the all-time series 60-18. The two teams split last year’s set of games as part of the Conference USA schedule (Rice won at home 79-69 and UH won at home 84-62). Houston then knocked Rice out of the C-USA Tournament with a 72-67 win. The two local foes are no longer conference rivals as Houston moves to the American Athletic Conference for this season.
Oklahoma leads the series 30-10 against Texas A&M but the Aggies have taken six of the last eight meetings since 2010. The Sooners beat A&M, 64-54, last year in the All-College Classic in Oklahoma City. The two teams play in Houston for the first time since the schools’ first meeting in 1960. There’s a good chance that the two teams could be a combined 18-3 on Saturday.
BIG 12-SEC CHALLENGE
The Texas A&M-Oklahoma game serves as the final contest of the inaugural Big 12-SEC Challenge, a series of 10 games between the two leagues put together and aired by ESPN. The Big 12 has already clinched this year’s series by taking six of the nine games played to date. The A&M-OU matchup will be the final game of the challenge and will air on ESPNU. The results of the first nine games:
• Alabama def. Texas Tech 76-64
• Iowa State def. Auburn 99-70
• Texas def. Vanderbilt 70-64
• TCU def. Mississippi State 71-61
• Missouri def. West Virginia 80-71
• Kansas State def. Ole Miss 61-58
• Oklahoma State def. South Carolina 79-52
• Baylor def. Kentucky 67-62
• Florida def. Kansas 67-61
College basketball fans will have the opportunity to get in free as part of two promotions surrounding the doubleheader. The first 200 fans at Toyota Center on game day that wear Dickies’ branded apparel will receive a free ticket. The second promo will provide a free ticket to the first 40 fans at the arena with a receipt from Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q. Tickets will be available starting at 2:30 p.m. outside the arena on the La Branch Street side of the venue (tickets available while supplies last). Full details for both promotions can be found at www.dickiesshootout.com.
BUD LIGHT PRE-GAME PARTY
Fans are invited to come early and be part of the Bud Light Pre-Game Party outside Toyota Center on game day. Similar to the Lift-Off Party before Rockets games, the Pre-Game Party will be held on the Launch Pad outside the Polk Street Entrance and is sponsored by Silver Eagle and Bud Light.
PRIME TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE
Tickets for the doubleheader begin at $25, not including applicable service charges and taxes, and are on sale online at www.HoustonToyotaCenter.com, by phone at 1-866-4-HOU-TIX, at select Houston area Randalls locations or at the Toyota Center Box Office.