Lon Kruger’s team is on a roll, and his group will look to keep it going when they face the USC Trojans at the BOK Center in Tulsa.
Can the #Sooners topple the Trojans in a holiday showdown in Green Country? We're about to find out...@TRowOU sets the scene for tonight's matchup.— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) December 15, 2018
/Preview ➡️ https://t.co/vPGKurFbyu pic.twitter.com/9Ky5aGPMUv
Oklahoma (8-1) vs. USC (5-4): 8 p.m. CT at BOK Center (Tulsa, Okla.)
Commentary: Will Flemming and Tim Welsh
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa), Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing
Line: Oklahoma -8 (as of 3 p.m. CT)
- The Trojans have suffered losses to Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, Nevada and TCU in non-conference play. That’s four losses to four good teams (one or two of which are potentially great), but their most recent loss to TCU (96-61) combined with their injury issues are certainly a red flag.
- Highly-touted freshman guard Kevin Porter Jr. is not expected to play tonight. The former five-star recruit had reached double-figures scoring in all of his healthy games, but he’s been dealing with a lingering thigh contusion that has hampered him for nearly a month.
- The frontcourt of Nick Rakocevic (6’11”) and Bennie Boatwright (6’10”) leads the way for USC, with each averaging 15 PPG on the season and Rakocevic grabbing 11.2 boards and 2.8 blocks per contest.
- Jamuni McNeace - Oklahoma Sooners starting center and primary rim protector has missed the past two games with an ankle issue, but the Sooners have been impressive in his absence. With McNeace expected back in the lineup for tonight’s game, this team looks primed to carry some serious momentum into the home stretch of non-con play and beyond. Prior to the injury, McNeace had averaged 9.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.
- Debut of the alternates - Oklahoma’s anthracite alternates will make their first appearance this evening, and I think they’re quite snazzy.
- All-around player Christian James - James has broken through as a senior and is currently second in the Big 12 in PPG (19.2). However, his on-court impact goes far beyond that, as he has recorded his first career double-doubles in back-to-back games and is now averaging 5.6 boards per contest.
- Freeman steps up - In the absence of Jamuni McNeace, the Kiwi was called upon for more minutes. He certainly answered the call, scoring 11 points in each contest while also connecting on 6-11 three-point attempts. Formerly considered a bit of defensive liability, Freeman has also demonstrated significant improvement on that end. Even with McNeace back in the fold, I’d expect him to be rewarded to some degree for his recent form.