The No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners will look to get back on the right track as conference play resumes against the Baylor Bears tonight at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Oklahoma (15-5, 5-3) vs. Baylor (12-9, 2-6): 8 p.m. at the Lloyd Noble Center (11,562)
Commentary: Jon Sciambi, Tom Crean and Kris Budden
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa)
Line: Oklahoma -6.5 (as of 1 p.m. CT)
My favorite OU-Baylor basketball memory: The Tony Crocker Game (Feb. 19, 2008)
With Blake Griffin-led Oklahoma trailing by three points in the waning moments of an overtime battle, Tony Crocker converted a miraculous four-point play to give OU the edge with 7.3 remaining in the game. However, Baylor guard Curtis Jerrells was sent to the line with one second on the clock for a chance to give Scott Drew’s Bears a W. Both shots rimmed out and OU came out on top in what was one of the most entertaining finishes in the history of OU basketball.
- The Bears, who came into the 2017-18 season with high expectations, have dropped seven of their last nine games. Having said that, the talent is definitely present in Waco. Senior Manu Lacomte is one of the best point guards in the conference (which is saying something) and fellow senior Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. is third in the conference in RPG at 9.2.
- Baylor has sort of been swallowed by the depth of the conference and has lost a lot of close games against quality competition. The Bears fell by only three points in each of its road tilts at Kansas and West Virginia.
- The Bears are 0-6 in true road games this season, but five of those six losses have come to teams that are currently ranked in the top 25.
- Back at the LNC - Since earning a win in Ft. Worth on Dec. 30, the Sooners have lost four consecutive games away from the LNC. Home game have been another story entirely, as OU is undefeated in Norman this season with wins over the likes of Kansas and Texas Tech.
- Supporting cast - The contrast in home and away performances seems to largely come down to the pay of Young’s teammates. For instance, Brady Manek is averaging 17 PPG (.640 from 3) at home and only 5.5 PPG (.250 from 3) away from home during conference play. Meanwhile, Christian James has experienced similar trends in conference play, as he’s averaging 8.25 PPG (.286 from 3) away from the LNC but has averaged 12.25 PPG (.459 from 3) in Norman. His other teammates have been a bit more steady, but Manek and James are the guys who need to step up in order for Oklahoma to be effective offensively.
- Chasing Kansas - With their win last evening in Manhattan, the Jayhawks now sit at 7-2 in Big 12 play, which is a 1.5-game lead over Oklahoma, Texas Tech and West Virginia. If Oklahoma somehow fixes its road woes it’ll be right in the thick of things, but Kansas is still the favorite to win a 14th consecutive regular-season crown — especially if they keep winning in tough road environments.
The LNC has been quite kind to the Sooners this season and I don’t expect that to change tonight. I think this one will actually be close early, but some pretty offense from Trae Young and his teammates combined with some timely defensive stops will allow OU to pull away in the second half.
Oklahoma 88, Baylor 70