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Oklahoma vs. Kansas State Basketball Preview & Game Thread (Pt. 2)

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Can the Sooners get a win against a struggling K-State squad?

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma Sooners — as they have been in many other conference games — were competitive against the Kansas State Wildcats in the previous meeting between the two squads. However, that effort wasn’t quite enough to take them down, as they fell 75-64 in Manhattan. Will the Sooners be able to grab a victory this time around?

Lon Kruger is going for career win No. 600 on Saturday against Kansas State. He’ll be the 33rd coach in D1 history to accomplish the feat if he’s able to get it done, and I imagine OU has something prepared in advance. It would be really if the win doesn’t come today since he won’t have many more chances this season.


How to watch

Today’s game in Norman will tip off at 5 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPNU. You can also catch the game on Watch ESPN or on the radio.


Three keys

  1. Rashard Odomes - Good things tend to happen when Odomes drives to the basket, as he’s very big and physical for a collegiate wing player. He’s demonstrated an ability to finish around the basket and draw fouls throughout the season, and his skills have been on full display lately. People saw the full potential of Odomes in OU’s 96-92 loss at Oklahoma State. In that game he was able to score 29 points (10-14 shooting) while grabbing 10 rebounds and three steals. He won’t be relied upon to hit jumpers (although he was able to hit a few in Stillwater), he just needs to do what he does best.
  2. Effective ball movement - The Sooners average 11 assists per game this season, which is good for 322nd out of the 351 D1 teams. This team often seems to move the ball around without much purpose. The players are simply trying to not turn it over rather than attempting to create a good opportunity for a basket. The situation is usually a bit better when freshman Jordan Shepherd is in the game, as he’s a much better distributor than Darrion Strong-Moore.
  3. Finish! - Most of Oklahoma’s losses have been close in the 2nd half. However, they’ve been able to break through for a win on only two occasions during conference play. I fully expect another close one today, and it’ll just be a matter of late-game execution for the Sooners.

Prediction

I actually think the Sooners are going to get it done today. The teams will be neck-and-neck until there are about three minutes left in the game, and I think OU will pull away in the end with the help of a small but enthusiastic crowd. Kansas State’s recent struggles will continue on Saturday, and it will likely be the nail in the coffin for Bruce Weber in Manhattan.

Oklahoma 74, Kansas State 66