As someone who enjoys basketball season as much as (or more) than football season, I am always a little disheartened by the lack of pre-January basketball interest in Stillwater (and really everywhere). Most years, it isn't until about right now that most fans start paying attention (as evidenced by the monster 13,000 attendance number for the Stanford game). Now hold on....before you alt-tab back to your TPS reports to "get some actual work done today", this isn't a "we need to get more excited about basketball" pep talk, this is just an idea to generate more early interest.... a potentially terrible idea.
If you missed it, Missouri and Illinois played a mostly sloppy but still entertaining game last night in St. Louis, where they meet every year in their "Some Official Name" rivalry matchup. While there was plenty to complain about with that game (most notably, anything having to do with watching that Tisdale dude awkwardly stumble around the court), the main thing that stood out to me was the crowd. The arena was half yellow, half orange with a split right at halfcourt, and it was LOUD. The opposing fanbases brought the best out in each other as neither wants to be shown up in the noise-making and fan-support departments, and the players responded to this energy level. The intensity of this game made it feel like a post-season game. I was watching at home and wanting to be a part of it... which of course caused vomiting. But as someone who believes in mimicking things that seem to work, my first post-vomit thought was, "Oklahoma State needs a series like this".
I would love to have something like this, early in the season (maybe early-to-mid December-ish), that would just naturally get us all fired up about basketball. An event that you plan for, that is difficult to get tickets to, and that naturally carries a big game atmosphere with it. I want a neutral court annual series.
So if we all assume this would be a great thing (and we all do), then the next step would be determining this fictional series opponent and the neutral court location(s)... and this ends up being an easy choice as far as I'm concerned. Arkansas has a similar basketball history and passion, is geographically close, and even though there isn't much rivalry between the schools right now, it wouldn't take long to develop one. As for the neutral site, the BOK Center is a good sized venue, is close to both schools (75 miles from Stillwater, 110 miles from Fayetteville), and there is a lot of local interest in in Tulsa for both schools so it should be easy to hype. Sounds like a win-win all around to me... unless I am missing something... which never happens.