The University of Oklahoma announced Friday that the men’s basketball program will travel to Australia and New Zealand in August to play four exhibition games. Two of the games will be played against teams from the NBL, which is Australia’s premier professional basketball league.
The NCAA allows programs to travel internationally to play exhibition games once every four years, and I can’t think of a better way to take advantage of that opportunity. Not only does the team get to measure itself against some very tough competition, but they get experience a part of the world that they’ve likely never seen before. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most people (with the obvious exception of Auckland native Matt Freeman), and I for one am super jealous of all the folks who get to go on this trip.
The Oklahoma Sooners are coming off a disappointing season, finishing with 20 losses — the most in program history — just one year after reaching the Final Four. However, a new season brings renewed hope, as freshman sensation Trae Young joins a youthful team loaded with potential. The NCAA allows 10 additional preseason practices (tentatively scheduled for July 9, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31 along with August 1 and 2) to prepare for these kinds of trips, so this whole thing really provides a great opportunity for the young team to mesh, build chemistry and refine skills.