Oklahoma (20-7, 9-5 Big 12) fell to the Jayhawks in their first meeting back on January 8th, 90-83. The Sooners were able to cut it to as close as four points on multiple occasions but just fell short in their come back request.
Buddy Hield has been spectacular for the Sooners in the past handful of games. He's averaging 17.1 points per game on 47.4 percent in his last 10 games to lead the Sooners to 7-3 record during the stretch. It's not a coincidence that the Sooners performance goes hand in hand with Hield's performance. In Oklahoma's loss on February 12th to Texas Tech, Hield had just three points.
Check out Rock Chalk Talk for Jayhawk's version of Big Monday.
For Kansas (21-6, 12-2 Big 12), they're coming off a very dominating win over Texas 85-54. Freshman phenom, Andrew Wiggins had a huge game, scoring 21 points, 15 in the first half as the Jayhawks led 46-18 at halftime. Wiggins almost outscored the Longhorns in the first half by himself.
What Kansas has continued to do in the Big 12 is impressive, even with their talent stacked team. According to Kenpom.com, the Jayhawks have three of the top five players in the Big 12 including Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Perry Ellis. KU currently has the best offensive and defensive rating in the Big 12, respectively.
If the Sooners will find a way to upset the Jawhawks in Lawrence, it'll take more than just talented coaching and decent game play. They may need a little luck. Since the start of "Big Monday" on ESPN, the Jayhawks are 28-1 and 17-0 under Bill Self while Oklahoma hasn't won in Lawrence since 1993. The Sooners are 0-12 since then.
While the Jayhawks might have three of the Big 12's best players, the Sooners have pure shooters and must create shots and get to the rim if they're going to have a shot at this game. They were able to get to the charity stripe 36 times in their loss to Kansas back in January.
Also, Oklahoma has to do a better job at rebounding if they're going to give themselves a shot as well. Kansas almost doubled the rebounding category, which led to dominating the second chance points and points in the paint categories. The Sooners will rely on Ryan Spangler and other big fowards to help in stopping the Goliath task of limiting Embiid and Ellis.
The Sooners have shown they can shoot with the best of the Jayhawks. However, defense will be the biggest key of them all. You cannot let players like Wayne Selden Jr. drop 24 points or Naadir Tharpe score 17 in the same game. Oklahoma needs to play a little defense.
If this game is in the 80's to 90's, the Sooners may struggle. The Sooners may have a shot if they can keep the Jayhawks under that mark.
Defense, that's the key for the Sooners.