The Oklahoma Sooners snapped a baffling six-game skid on Saturday against Kansas State, but OU will look to get over a separate, yet equally noteworthy hump on Tuesday evening against the Baylor Bears in Waco.
Additionally, Trae Young is on the verge of setting the Big 12 regular-season scoring record, as he trails Michael Beasley by only two points heading into tonight’s game.
Trae Young needs just seven points in the next two games to reach 800 before the end of the regular season. Some perspective on that accomplishment... pic.twitter.com/RpeWrEB7XJ— Ben Coldagelli (@BenColdagelli) February 26, 2018
Oklahoma (17-11, 7-9) at Baylor (17-12, 7-9): 8 p.m. CT, Ferrell Center (10,284)
Commentary: Bob Wischusen and Fran Fraschilla
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa)
Line: Baylor -3.5 (as of 10:30 a.m. CT)
- Baylor went on a five-game winning streak following its 98-96 loss at the Lloyd Noble Center, earning victories against Kansas and Texas Tech in the process. However, the Bears have dropped their last two games to West Virginia and TCU, placing them squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
- Guard Manu Lacomte continues to lead the team offensively, averaging 16.0 PPG and 3.5 APG. Lacomte is 8th in the Big 12 in scoring, 5th in 3FGM/gm (2.9) and 2nd in free throw pct. (.881).
- Nine of Baylor’s 12 losses have coming against teams that were ranked at the time, with six of those ranked losses coming on the road. Baylor’s four homes losses on the season were to Wichita State, TCU, Kansas State and West Virginia.
- Despite allowing Oklahoma to score 98 points back in January, Baylor has generally been a strong defensive team this season. The Bears rank 17th nationally in KenPom’s defensive efficiency rating.
- Road Woes - The Sooners got over a pretty big hurdle on Saturday when they snapped a six-game losing streak, but we can’t forget that OU still hasn’t won a road game since Dec. 30. During that stretch, the Sooners have shot just under 27 percent from beyond the arc in their eight consecutive road losses, and the defense has typically been less than stellar. This team seemed to turn over a new leaf on Saturday, but tonight should be a good indicator as to whether or not things have truly changed.
- Bubble Watch - Oklahoma currently sits at 17-11 overall with a conference record of 7-9. As pedestrian as that looks, OU is aided by a slew of quality wins (including Kansas, Texas Tech and a road win against Wichita State at the city’s downtown arena) as well as the Big 12’s sterling reputation on the hardwood. OU’s current NCAA RPI ranking is 34, which ranks fifth amongst Big 12 schools. One more win would likely be enough to get the Sooners into the Big Dance, and a win in Waco would all but clinch an at-large bid. In fact, Oklahoma currently has a 99 percent chance of participating in March Madness according to ESPN’s BPI. Baylor, on the other hand, currently sits at No. 63 in the NCAA’s RPI and is fighting for its tournament life, so expect the Bears to play with plenty of purpose tonight.
- Trae Young - On Saturday, we had the privilege of witnessing an efficient performance form Trae Young once again. After struggling with his shot for a good period of time, Young went 6-10 from deep and 7-11 overall while going 8-10 at the free-throw line. The confidence and swagger were present, as was the trust in his teammates - many of whom also stepped up in a big way on Saturday. So has he truly gotten past his slump? His head seems to be back in the right place, so maybe he has truly moved past the things that have troubled him.
Prediction - I think Trae Young will be solid tonight, but OU is going to have to show us something on the defensive side of things. Will they be able to get big stops in crucial situations? Will they consistently show enough effort? Will they do well on switches? Young’s teammates are also going to have to hit open shots when they present themselves, which hasn’t happened away from home in quite some time. One more win is all Oklahoma really needs, but that win will likely come on Friday night against Iowa State in Norman.
Baylor 85, Oklahoma 80