Who: Oklahoma Sooners (12-2, 1-0 Big 12) at Kansas Jayhawks (9-4, 0-0 Big 12)
When: 6 p.m. - Wednesday, January 8th
Where: Lloyd Noble Center - Norman, Okla.
TV: ESPN2/WatchESPN (Cox 721, U-Verse 606 and 1202 (HD),DirectTV 209, Dish 145)
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: #10 Naadir Tharpe (Jr.) 7.6 - 2.4 - 5.3
SG: #1 Wayne Selden Jr. (Fr.) 8.5 - 2.8. - 2.2
SF: #22 Andrew Wiggins (Fr.) 15.8 - 5.4 - 1.4
PF: #34 Perry Ellis (So.) 13.2 - 6.5 - 1.2
C: #21 Joel Embiid (Fr.) 10.8 - 7.3 - 1.3
Stats (NCAA Rank)
PPG: Okla. - 87.3 (5) Kan. - 77.7 (77)
RPG: Okla. - 39.5 (31) Kan. - 37.9 (66)
APG: Okla. - 15.2 (53) Kan. - 15.8 (32)
FG%: Okla. - 46.8 (83) Kan. - 49.2 (21)
3PT%: Okla. - 38.5 (46) Kan. - 32.8 (223)
Pts Allowed: Okla. - 78.3 (315) Kan. - 68.2 (121)
RPG Allowed: Okla. - 34.9 (218) Kan. - 31.9 (68)
APG Allowed: Okla. - 12.4 (181) Kan. - 12.7 (202)
FG% Allowed: Okla. - 42.3 (138) Kan. - 40.7 (81)
3PT% Allowed: Okla. - 31.7 (101) Kan. - 34.8 (216)
Coming off a huge win over their rival, the Texas Longhorns, the Oklahoma Sooners (12-2) are looking to continue their winning ways against the vaunted Kansas Jayhawks.
Oklahoma used a 15-2 run in the first half to take the lead from Texas and hold on for their dear lives. Oklahoma might play poor defense, actually they give up the most point per game of any team in all the major conferences. They're also a top five scoring team in the country. Only Oregon (89.4 PPG) scores more for a major conference team. One thing Oklahoma will have to do is find a way to keep the Jayhawks out of the paint.
That starts with Ryan Spangler and Cameron Clark finding a way to body up Joel Embiid and Perry Ellis. Something that is a lot easier said than done. Embiid is considered a top 10 prospect in the upcoming NBA draft, and Spangler's attention will be fully on him tonight. Keeping the ball out of Ellis' hand might be a challenge for Clark.
Finally though, the Lloyd Noble Center is becoming a place where opponents don't want to play. The fans might not be in the seats for every game, but Oklahoma is winning convincingly at home. After winning their first seven home games of the season, Oklahoma slipped up by under estimating a LA Tech team last time out. They've won 21 out of their last 24 home games, dating back to 2012. Of those losses, only one has come at the hands of a conference foe, Kansas State last season.
The Jayhawks (9-4) roll into Norman coming off a loss to No. 13 San Diego State 61-57. Super star Andrew Wiggins scored 14 in the loss, but wasn't enough for the Jayhawks to overcome the best scoring defense is college basketball.
Kansas brings in Andrew Wiggins, the top recruit in college basketball. He's arguably the biggest recruit to come to Kansas since Raef LaFrentz came to Kansas in 1994. Wiggins still shows all the great potential that has him tabbed as the No. 1 draft pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
Also, we've mentioned Ellis and Embiid who are two lottery prospects on this roster as well. So, there is tons of NBA potential on this roster. However, this is one of the hardest coaching jobs that Bill Self might have to do.With all the talent, getting them to play together, and gel throughout the system Self has imputed is tough.
We've seen teams as talented, such as the Kentucky teams, struggle throughout the season. We've also seen those Kentucky teams put it together at the end of the season and win the whole tournament. Then, like last season, that Kentucky team fell off the map, losing in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).
Which Kansas team is going to turn up this season? It's really going to be a continuous watch for the Jayhawks this season. Especially, now that Big 12 play has started. Kansas has yet to walk into conference play yet, but they're going to get a crash course immediately. They'll play Oklahoma, then No. 25 Kansas State, No. 9 Iowa State and No. 11 Oklahoma State We're either going to see a team sink below their potential and be a bubble program, or they'll be able to find their legs and step outside and win, yet another conference championship.
Both teams are healthy with no injuries to report.
The inexperience could play well for the Sooners. This is a battle tested team, most players have been able to experience the grueling schedule that is the Big 12 Conference. Kansas is still finding themselves, so as they tip-off against Oklahoma, will they keep their focus on the opponent or getting looked at by scouts?
The Jayhawks and the Sooners have met 209 times throughout their history, dating back to 1921. Unfortunately, for the Sooners, Kansas owns the 139-65. In Norman, the Jayhawks still own the 48-41 advantage. Oklahoma actually owns the last game over the Jayhawks, a 72-66 win back in February 2013. Kansas has won 12 of the last 14 games with the Sooners, dating back to 2004.