There was a time when a Nebraska-Oklahoma matchup was a staple of Thanksgiving weekend.
But that football rivalry, though revived over the last two seasons, has been mostly dormant since Nebraska joined the Big Ten.
On Thursday, the basketball teams meet for the first time since 2011 when they square off in the first round of the ESPN Events Invitational in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Though the Cornhuskers and Sooners haven’t played in more than a decade, there’s plenty of familiarity between the programs.
Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg had plenty of experience coaching against Oklahoma during his tenure at Iowa State from 2010-15.
The coaching staff of the Sooners are also familiar with the Cornhuskers.
Last week, Oklahoma coach Porter Moser added Doc Sadler to his staff as an assistant after the unexpected departure of Matt Brady.
Sadler was the Cornhuskers’ head coach from 2006-12 and had spent two seasons there as an assistant under Hoiberg before moving to a special assistant role last season.
“He knows them,” Moser said. “But there’s a lot of different personnel. … One of Fred’s strengths is he’s got an offensive package that’s as big as anybody’s. He can run a lot of different stuff, a lot of different actions.”
Nebraska (3-1) is coming off Sunday’s 82-58 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The Cornhuskers have a balanced scoring attack with three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Sam Griesel at 13.3 points per game.
“He’s always getting into the paint, trying to make the right play,” Hoiberg said of Griesel. “We do need him to be aggressive, to be able to score it.”
The Sooners (3-1) enter Thursday’s game on a three-game winning streak, which began with a 66-58 win over UAPB on Nov. 11.
Grant Sherfield leads the Sooners with 15.5 points per game, while Tanner Groves is averaging a double-double (10.0 points, 10.0 rebounds).
The winner will face the winner of Thursday’s late game between Memphis and Seton Hall, while the loser will take on the loser of that game Friday.
–Field Level Media