The No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners are coming off of two straight losses, but they have a chance to gain some serious momentum as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks roll into town. Oklahoma has not defeated Kansas since Buddy Hield’s game-winning tip-in in 2015.
Oklahoma (14-4, 4-3) vs. Kansas (16-3, 6-1): 6 p.m. CT at the Lloyd Noble Center
Commentary: Jon Sciambi, Tom Crean and Holly Rowe
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa)
Line: Oklahoma -1 (as of 12 p.m. CT)
Oklahoma’s most recent wins against Kansas
March 7, 2015: Oklahoma 75, Kansas 73 in Norman
February 9, 2013: Oklahoma 72, Kansas 66 in Norman
February 21, 2005: Oklahoma 71, Kansas 63
February 23, 2003: Oklahoma 77, Kansas 70 in Norman
This was a heavyweight battle between two teams that had each returned the bulk of their talent from 2002 Final Four runs. OU got out to a 59-27 lead in this one, but Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich and the Jayhawks were able to bring this one back to a six-point game with 54 seconds remaining to add a hint of dram before OU slammed the door. The most memorable part of this one was when the entirety of the LNC chanting “HA-RRY PO-TTER” as Hinrich shot free-throws.
March 10, 2002: Oklahoma 64, Kansas 55 in the Big 12 Tournament Championship Game
- After appearing to be a bit shakier than usual, the Kansas Jayhawks have raced out to a 6-1 start in Big 12 play and sit atop the conference standings. Nonetheless, Kansas’s depth is a serous issue, as the Jayhawks routinely have only seven or eight players in the rotation.
- The Jayhawks are led in scoring by Devonte’ Graham (18.1) and Svi Mykhailiuk (16.1). Mykhailiuk and Graham have combined for 124 of KU’s 202 3-pointers, which is 61.4 percent of the team’s threes, with the two shooting .474 and .435 from beyond the arc, respectively.
- The most unique offensive weapon on the team is 7’0”, 280-pound center Udoka Azubuike. The sophomore is leading the nation in field-goal percentage with a mark of .773 and is averaging 14.5 PPG.
- Kansas leads the overall series against Oklahoma, 146-66, and is the only Big 12 school to own an all-time winning record against the Sooners.
- Home streak - The Sooners have won 12 consecutive games at the Lloyd Noble Center dating back to last season, which is the most since OU won 19 home contests in a row from Jan. 17, 2015 to Feb. 8, 2016. The previous streak was ended by the Kansas Jayhawks.
- Getting the teammates involved - Oklahoma’s offensive struggles over the past week have largely stemmed from a lack of production by Trae Young’s supporting cast. Much of that falls on Young, but his teammates need to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. For instance, Brady Manek and Christian James went 3-10 and 3-11, respectively, against Oklahoma State on Saturday. As much as Young should have done more as a facilitator, a couple of made buckets would have gone a long way.
- Jamuni’s health - Oklahoma center Jamuni McNeace rolled his ankle late in the game against Oklahoma State and has been a bit hobbled ever since. However, McNeace is expected to play this evening according to Lon Kruger.
I think Young will settle down a bit in front of the home crowd and find ways to get his teammates going. Udoka Azubuike provides a matchup nightmare for pretty much any college frontcourt, and that’s certainly the case in this instance. However, I think Oklahoma will defend the perimeter (a tall order against Kansas) well enough to get a W.
Oklahoma 85, Kansas 81