Greetings from Jacksonville Florida! I get the pleasure of working here until Wednesday where I might also add to all of you back in Oklahoma that it was 70 degrees here today. The warmth is the good news. Not being able to see the Texas Tech game live would be the bad news.
Fortunately, unlike my trip to Panama two weeks ago I do have internet access here in Florida and will be able to follow the game that way.
Date: Saturday, Feb. 3
Tip: 7:05 p.m. CST
TV: ESPN Plus (KOCB 34/Cox 11 in OKC; KJRH 2/Cox 9 in Tulsa; ESPN Full Court)
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (Flagship KOKC 1520 AM in OKC); Yahoo! Broadcast (subscription)
Series: OU leads 24-16
TEXAS TECH PROJECTED STARTERS
F 30 Michael Prince (6-7, 210, So., 2.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
F 32 Jon Plefka (6-8, 245, Sr., 5.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg)
G 3 Martin Zeno (6-5, 208, Jr., 16.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
G 22 Jarrius Jackson (6-2, 185, Sr., 20.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
G 42 Charlie Burgess (6-1, 190, Jr., 9.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS
F 24 Nate Carter (6-6, 220, Sr., 9.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
C 30 Longar Longar (6-11, 228, Jr., 11.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
G 2 Michael Neal (6-3, 198, Sr., 10.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
G 5 Tony Crocker (6-5, 187, Fr., 9.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
G 20 Austin Johnson (6-3, 160, So., 8.3 ppg, 3.4 apg)
Nate Carter is playing some of the best basketball in the league right now. The only two players who are playing better than him at this point are Kevin Durant and Mario Boggan. I honestly can't think of another player other than those two who are playing better. Tuesday night he went 7-9 from the floor (15 points), dished four assists and added two steals. In conference play he is averaging 18.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
Michael Neal is shooting .500 from beyond the arch over the last five games and is averaging 14 points over that time span.
Longar Longar will be the guy to keep an eye on. He is still the Sooners leading scorer (11.3) and rebounder (6.8) but really hasn't been himself since the two-game suspension following the first match-up with Texas Tech. It will be interesting to see how he responds on the floor against Bobby Knight's squad and will no doubt be encouraged by the crowd every time he touches the ball.
Texas Tech is 1-2 on the road in conference with losses at Baylor and Missouri. They are shooting .412 in league games but also are tops in the Big 12 in 3 point shooting with .437 percent.
Jarrius Jackson was a first-team all-conference selection last year and should be again this year. He averages 20.0 points per game, 3.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.9 steals. Martin Zeno scores 16.3 points a game and averages team highs in rebounds (5.0) and assists (3.3) while shooting .479 from the floor. Charlie Burgess averages 9.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. John Plefka is Tech's version of Nate Carter averaging 10.7 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting .571 in Big 12 games.
First Time Around
Texas Tech won the first meeting this year in Lubbock (Jan. 6) to open Big 12 play, 68-54. Oklahoma shot just .345 from the field, .200 from 3-point range (3-for-15) and .579 from the free throw line (11-for-19) while committing 16 turnovers. Bobby Maze (17 points) and Nate Carter (13) came off the bench to lead OU in scoring as none of Oklahoma's five starters reached double figures. The Sooners posted a 44-32 rebounding advantage (16 offensive boards to Tech's five), but the Red Raiders shot .500 from the field after halftime to build on their 26-23 lead at the break. Martin Zeno led Texas Tech with 17 points and six rebounds while Jarrius Jackson added 14 points and Jon Plefka 12 off the bench.
Outlook and Prediction
Tech lost on the road at Baylor which means that anything is a possibility with this game but I have to see it to believe it with this team. I am confident that the Sooners can outrun, out hustle and even out muscle the Red Raiders but what I am not confident in is that OU can out shoot Texas Tech. Despite Oklahoma's outstanding defensive pressure I'm afraid the Red Raider guards are going to get the best of us.
Texas Tech wins it 67 - 61.
You can check out the Texas Tech perspective here.