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OU/Texas A&M Preview - Game Thread

GAME SPECIFICS
Date: Saturday, Feb. 17
Site: Norman, Okla. (Lloyd Noble Center)
Tip: 2:42 p.m. CST
TV: ABC (coverage map)
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (Flagship KRXO 107.7 FM in OKC); Yahoo! Broadcast (subscription)
Series: OU leads 25-2

TEXAS A&M PROJECTED STARTERS
F  44  Antanas Kavaliauskas (6-9, 250, Sr., 12.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
C  30  Joseph Jones (6-9, 250, Jr., 13.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
G  1   Acie Law (6-3, 195, Sr., 16.8 ppg 5.4 apg)
G  22  Dominique Kirk (6-3, 180, Jr., 6.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg)
G  23  Josh Carter (6-7, 195, So., 12.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg)

OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS
F  24  Nate Carter (6-6, 220, Sr., 11.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
C  30  Longar Longar (6-11, 228, Jr., 12.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg)
G  2   Michael Neal (6-3, 198, Sr., 10.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
G  5   Tony Crocker (6-5, 187, Fr., 9.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
G  20  Austin Johnson (6-3, 160, So., 7.6 ppg, 3.3 apg)

I hate clichés just as much as the next guy but it has to be said, "The season is on the line for OU!" Oklahoma is running out of opportunities to make an impression on the NCAA selection committee so they have to make the most of what they have. OU must win at least three of their final five games to even sniff a chance of an NCAA Tournament bid. That is no small task when you consider that three of Oklahoma's final five opponents are nationally ranked Texas A&M, Texas and Kansas. "That's a schedule that you have to take one game at a time."

Sooner Scoop
Longar Longar has scored 32 combined points in the second half of the Sooners' last two games. The problem is that he has not scored any points in the first half of either of those games. If Longar just gives half of that productivity in the first 20 minutes Tuesday night then we are talking about a five game winning streak.

At least Longar eventually produced significant points as opposed to Nate Carter who blessed the Sooners with two against the Cyclones on Tuesday night. Obviously that is not normal for Nate who has carried this team on his back for most of the conference season. The Sooners just can't afford for Carter to drop them again.

It might be time to put Bobby Maze in the starting lineup for a change just for a change of pace. Over the last two games Maze has scored 22 points.

Scouting the Aggies
Acie Law averages 16.8 points, 5.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game, all team highs. Joseph Jones averages 13.2 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game. Josh Carter scores 12.5 points a game and leads the nation with his .515 3-point percentage. Antanas Kavaliauskas averages 12.4 points and 6.1 boards a game and Dominique Kirk supplies 6.6 points and 3.3 assists per game.

Outlook and Prediction
The Iowa State game was disappointing because it was a team that the Sooners could have beaten and a loss that will haunt them. The Sooners will either "pick up the pieces" or fall into a funk. As good as Bobby Maze has been the last two games he can't carry this team yet and Longar Longar can only carry them for a half. Nate Carter has got to make a comeback and a strong one at that. The Sooners have to return to their style of basketball, out rebounding, out hustling and letting Nate Carter carry them. I'm not sold that they can do that. Aggies win 77 - 69.