ORU to Face Former National Champions in Opening Week
Tipoff times and television coverage have yet to be announced for the Nov. 14 game in Waco, Texas or the Nov. 17 matchup in Knoxville, Tenn.
“Our program has consistently played one of the toughest early-season schedules in the country, and I am excited to say that this season is no different,” said Cussen. “Opening the year against programs as strong as Baylor and Tennessee will be great a great test for our newcomers and truly prepare us for Summit League play.”
In keeping with ORU’s tradition of challenging the toughest programs in the nation, both opening week opponents have a National Championship pedigree. Baylor won the NCAA Division I title in 2005 and 2012, while Tennessee is an eight-time champion, most recently hoisting the trophy in 2008.
ORU last beat a former National Champion on Nov. 19, 2011, a 92-71 victory over three-time champion Louisiana Tech at the Mabee Center.
The Golden Eagles are 2-6 all-time against Baylor and last played the Bears on Dec. 12, 2012, a 94-56 loss in Waco. ORU’s last win over the Bears came in 1987.
Tennessee has met the Golden Eagles twice, both in NCAA Tournament play. The Lady Vols earned a 94-55 win in the 2008 First Round and an 83-62 victory in 2013.
Cussen will take a young but talented squad into the season-opening matchups. The Golden Eagles return just two starters from last season but welcome eight newcomers, including five OGBCA All-State selections.
“Our players, especially the newcomers, are very excited to compete against these storied opponents,” said Cussen. “Having teams like Baylor and Tennessee as the first two games on the schedule gives our players a lot to play for right at the beginning of the season, and it will provide great motivation throughout preseason workouts.”
ORU’s 2012-13 non-conference schedule was ranked as the 13th-toughest in the nation by one publication, while the 2013-14 non-conference slate was ranked as high as 8th-toughest in the USA.
ORU will release the remainder of their non-conference schedule on Thursday, July 10, while the Summit League will publish its entire 2014-15 conference slate on Monday, July 14.