Who: Oklahoma Sooners (11-2, 0-0 Big 12) at Texas Longhorns (11-2, 0-0 Big 12)
When: 7 p.m. - Saturday, January 4th
Where: Frank Erwin Special Events Center - Austin, Texas
TV: Longhorn Network (Cox 274, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 609 and 1609 (HD),DirectTV NONE, Dish NONE)
Starters: (Points, Rebounds, Assists)
PG: #10 Jordan Woodard (Fr.) 12.2 - 1.9 - 5.1
SG: #24 Buddy Hield (So.) 15.9 - 4.3 - 1.9
SF: #11 Isaiah Cousins (So.) 10.8 - 4.4 - 2.4
PF: #21 Cameron Clark (Sr.) 18.5 - 6.3 - 1.2
C: #00 Ryan Spangler (So.) 11.0 - 9.5 - 1.2
PG: #1 Isaiah Taylor (Fr.) 11.8 - 3.5 - 3.8
SG: #0 Kendal Yancy (Fr.) 4.8 - 2.6 - 0.8
SF: #2 Demarcus Holland (So.) 10.4 - 5.5 - 2.2
PF: #10 Jonathan Holmes (Jr.) 13.1 - 6.9 - 0.6
C: #55 Cameron Ridley (So.) 10.8 - 7.2 - 0.3
Stats (NCAA Rank)
PPG: Okla. - 87.2 (6) Tex. - 78.3 (65)
RPG: Okla. - 39.9 (27) Tex. - 42.4 (10)
APG: Okla. - 15.2 (56) Tex. - 12.3 (225)
FG%: Okla. - 47.1 (71) Tex. - 44.0 (204)
3PT%: Okla. - 36.7 (67) Tex. - 34.5 (162)
Pts Allowed: Okla. - 77.7 (309) Tex. - 69.5 (156)
RPG Allowed: Okla. - 35.6 (232) Tex. - 34.6 (202)
APG Allowed: Okla. - 12.2 (160) Tex. - 12.7 (202)
FG% Allowed: Okla. - 41.6 (112) Tex. - 39.3 (40)
3PT% Allowed: Okla. - 31.1 (90) Tex. - 34.5 (202)
In a fitting way to open up Big 12 Conference play, your Oklahoma Sooners head down to Austin, Texas to take on the hated Texas Longhorns. Oklahoma looks to recover from an embarrassing loss to the Louisiana Tech.
Luckily for the Sooners (11-2), is that they'll be getting Je'lon Hornbeak back for this game. The Oklahoma defense will appreciate the extra body helping to defend the very physical Longhorn bodies. Oklahoma has allowed 83.5 points per game since Hornbeak missed with a fractured bone. They allowed 75.2 points per game with Hornbeak in the books. He'll be a nice addition back.
For the Texas Longhorns (11-2), they're very young, only two upper class players are on the roster, and only one of them in a contributor. That's Jonathan Holmes, the junior power forward, is a very physical player who will bang with the best of them down low. It's going to be something like Oklahoma saw against Michigan State.
Cameron Ridley is a young, but budding talented player who's averaging near a double-double from the center position. Originally the 8th best prospect in 2011-12 ESPN Top 100 prospect list, he's performing well. Ridley led his team in blocks last season and ranks 45th nationally in blocks at 2.38 blocks per game. It's a big reason why Texas is ranked eighth nationally with 6.9 blocks per games.
While not the most gifted offensive team in the NCAA, they can really get to the free throw line. The Longhorns are nine in the country in getting to the free throw line frequently. They're averaging over 30 attempts per game. Only three major conference teams, only Kentucky, North Carolina and Indiana average more.
With the mistakes Oklahoma make on defense, the over helping, the lack of communication and the mental breakdowns, they'll have to find a way to be solid tonight. That's where Lon Kruger's coaching has come through. Throughout practice all week, he's been preaching accountability and patience.
Oklahoma and Texas have three common opponents, Mercer, UT-Arlington, and Michigan State. Both teams are 2-1 in their common opponents, both losing to Michigan State. One thing if you want to judge of all that is the way Oklahoma competed against all three. Oklahoma spanked Mercer, and battled Michigan St. to the end. UT-Arlington battled both teams within five combined points.
If the Sooners are going to find a way to take down the Longhorns in Austin, they'll have to definitely outscore the Longhorns. I know, easier said than done and that's how you win ball games, right? However, if the Sooners can get on a streak, hit a few shots. It would put Texas on their heels and we could smell upset.
Also, with a top 10 rebounding team doing battle against Oklahoma, a pretty below average rebounding team, the Sooners will have to find a way to block out and limit second chance opportunities for the Longhorns tonight.
While the Sooners are an under dog in this game, 5.5-point under dog as of 10:30 pm, Jan. 3, there is plenty of potential for Oklahoma to run Longhorns back under the table in their own house.
In this version of the Red River Rivalry, Oklahoma owns the 48-35 series lead. Unfortunately, the Longhorns have had the last laugh lately. They've won the last seven of eight games. However, the one Sooner win was an impressive 73-67 win last season in Norman that saw Oklahoma lead by 20 points. Texas has the 19-16 lead in Austin against Oklahoma.