College basketball returns to downtown Oklahoma City and the Chesapeake Energy Arena December 17 for the 76th Annual All-College Basketball Classic featuring The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University. The Sooners will take on the University of Houston at 7:00 p.m. on ESPNU, while the Cowboys will square off with the University of New Mexico at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
"The All-College Classic will once again feature a field that is worthy of the nation's oldest basketball tournament," said Tim Brassfield, executive director, Oklahoma City All Sports Association. "With Oklahoma and Oklahoma State bringing in programs that are definitely moving upward, to compete against two teams with tremendous basketball heritage, this year's event should be really special."
With both state universities competing, the All-College Basketball Classic enjoys a substantial local following each year bringing in fans from across the state. Nearly 11,000 fans filled the arena in 2010, bringing in more than 950 room nights to Oklahoma City for the two-day event and an estimated economic impact of $1.5-1.75 million.This year's tournament is expected to produce the same or increased results.
"This is a great event each year in downtown Oklahoma City and carries a history and prestige with it," said Mike Carrier, president of the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Many fans who attended last year will see new improvements not only to the Chesapeake Energy Arena, but the entire downtown area. We encourage our in-town attendees to come early to eat in downtown or Bricktown and our out-of-town guests to check out other destinations - such as the American Banjo Museum and the newly renovated Myriad Botanical Gardens - during their stay with us."
The All-College Basketball Classic is the world's oldest basketball tournament, predating the NCAA, NBA, NIT (National Invitation Tournament) and NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) events. The tournament has brought legendary players and coaches to Oklahoma City such as Pete Maravich, Bill Russell, Henry Iba and Wayman Tisdale.
For more information, go to www.okcallsports.org or call 405.236.5000. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com or at the Chesapeake Energy Arena Box Office.
Highlights for 2011 All-College Basketball Classic
In his first year at the helm of the University of Oklahoma men's basketball program, 2011 will mark the first All-College Basketball Classic for legendary coach Lon Kruger.
Travis Ford, head coach for the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, will try to remain perfect in his run at the All-College Basketball Classic. Ford has coached the Cowboys for the past three tournaments and has won all three.