The No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners look to continue their winning ways on Tuesday evening against the Kansas State Wildcats. However, Lon Kruger’s team will have to do it against his alma mater in a building in which they haven’t won a game since 2012.
No, of course Lon Kruger doesn’t secretly want K-State to win, but Oklahoma’s lack of success inside Bramlage Coliseum (aka “The Octagon of Doom”) has almost made it seem true at times. Some great OU teams have fallen to the Wildcats during that stretch, and that can be attributed to the fact that Kansas State has one of the most underrated home-court advantages in all of college basketball. Those students always bring their A-game and always seem to give their team a chance.
The next vid is slightly NSFW:
The hated Jayhawks won’t be in town for this one, but you had better believe that they’re going to bring it as the Trae Young Show rolls into town.
No. 4 Oklahoma (14-2, 4-1) at Kansas State (12-5, 2-3): 8 p.m. CT
Commentary: Matt Schick and Jason Capel
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa)
Line: Oklahoma -2 (as of 3 p.m. CT)
- Four of the Wildcats’ five losses have come to current top-25 teams, and two of those losses were one-possession defeats (Arizona State, at Kansas).
- Kansas State is a team that likes to slow things down, as they’re 324th in KenPom’s adjusted tempo. Oklahoma is third nationally in this category, so this will potentially come down to which team can dictate the pace of play.
- Guard Barry Brown (16.6 PPG) and forward Dean Wade (15.0 PPG) lead the Wildcats offensively. The 6’10” Wade also leads the team in rebounding (6.5 RPG) and is shooting over 43 percent from beyond the arc.
- Tempo - As I just mentioned, the styles of play could not differ more this evening. Kansas State has been successful in dictating the pace during the five-year streak. In fact, Oklahoma hasn’t scored 70 or more in Manhattan since 2003 (thanks to Doug Brodess for that stat). With Trae Young at the helm, this is a different beast as far as tempo is concerned. This team is also more than capable of making things happen in the half-court game, which wasn’t always the case with some of OU’s past squads. OU has the potential to get some tempo going at times, but this team can move the ball well enough to succeed even when K-State is able to slow it down.
- Manek Back on Track - In conference play, Manek’s three-point stat lines are as follows: 0-1 at TCU, 6-8 vs. Oklahoma State, 0-1 at West Virginia, 0-2 vs. Texas Tech and 6-9 vs. TCU. Trae Young, Lon Kruger and Manek’s teammates need to make a concerted effort to get him going if he starts out lacking confidence in his shot, because great things happen when this kid finds a rhythm.
- Free Throws - Oklahoma was 13-22 (59.1%) at the free-throw line against TCU, which is a number that could have easily cost them in a close game. Trae Young has been pretty good from the stripe this season (83.2%), but he was only 3-7 in his spectacular overall performance against the Horned Frogs, and those misses came at crucial junctures. This team as a whole has had a few rough games at the free-throw line this season that have made things more dramatic than they should’ve been. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again tonight in Manhattan.
I think Oklahoma’s probably in for a close one against a team that likes to get down and dirty. However, OU has been money in crunch time this season, and I expect Trae Young to put this team over the top with a late run.
Oklahoma 82, K-State 74