The Oklahoma Sooners are making their way south of the border on a current 7-game losing streak in Austin, Texas by a margin of -13.7 points. Heading in to Wednesday, the Texas Longhorns find themselves in the midst of unchartered territory. Standing at 12-15 on the season, Rick Barnes and his squad sit firmly in eighth place with a 4-10 mark in Big 12 Conference play.
Of course, rivalries usually bring out the best of each team while what is expected to happen on paper can tossed out the window. For the Longhorns, the player to watch will be Sheldon McClellan. While much of the focus will center around Myck Kabongo due to the 23-game suspension he served as well as his leadership for the squad, McClellan has had some of his best games against the Sooners.
In three career games against Oklahoma, McClellan has found success from the floor shooting 52.2% while netting an average of 20.7 points per game. This is a number significantly greater than his season average of 13.7 points per game. If evidence is needed for a rivalry bringing the best out of a kid, there is no better example than Sheldon McClellan.
Since Myck Kabongo has returned, Texas has gone 2-2 with a double overtime win over the Iowa St. Cyclones. He is averaging an insane 37 minutes of game time per contest which has helped him turn in 15.5 points per game. Kabongo is coming off a career high 24 points against the Kansas St. Wildcats and will be looking to continue his personal success tonight.
Overall, this is a Texas Longhorn team that has been solid defensively. The Sooners will need to work the ball around and employ good shot selection for 40-minutes to pull out another road win. UT boasts the fifth best defense against field goal percentage allowing opponents to connect on 37.2% of their attempts.
On the other side of things, Texas will have their hands full trying to contain a surging Romero Osby. Over the span of three games, Osby is averaging a double-double. I am sure Longhorns fans have not forgotten that this is a senior that put up a career high 29 points the last time these two met.
Outside of him, Sam Grooms could once again prove to be the x-factor. He has been on a hot streak as of late putting up 53 points in the past three games. Compare that to his 54 total points on the season before this hot streak and it is easy to point out why he has been a game changer.
The game will feature a late tipoff at 8:05 PM CST and can be caught on ESPN2. Finally a break from being shown on ESPNU, a channel that a majority of those in the OKC Metro do not receive...or maybe that's just me!