The No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners look to earn their first win at the Erwin Center since 2015, and Lon Kruger’s group will need a complete effort - or something close to it - in order to win its first road game since Dec. 30. Fortunately, it appears that all hands will be on deck for this one.
Oklahoma's Christian James (flu) and Jamuni McNeace (ankle) will both play today against Texas, per Lon Kruger.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 3, 2018
Oklahoma (16-5, 6-3) at Texas (14-8, 4-5): 5:15 p.m. at the Frank Erwin Center (16,540)
Commentary: Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas and Maria Taylor
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa)
Line: Texas -3 (as of 9:20 a.m. CT)
- The Texas Longhorns are fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives midway through Big 12 play, but the talent and athleticism are definitely present in Austin.
- Mo Bamba, while still quite raw, leads the Big 12 in rebounds per game and will likely be taken pretty early in June’s NBA Draft. Bamba is also coming along as a scorer as he now averages 13.0 PPG.
- Bamba is complimented on the front line by Dylan Osetkowski, who is averaging 14.2 PPG (team leader) and 7.4 RPG. Osetkowski rolled his ankle against Texas Tech but appears to be ready to go for Saturday. Speaking of Osetkowski, he has sported some nasty-looking blonde dreads for a while now, but he says his Saturday hair will be a surprise. Not really looking forward to that, honestly.
- The other guy to keep an eye on is point guard Kerwin Roach, who is averaging 12.0 PPG and excels at getting to the basket and finishing around the rim. He’ll definitely provide a challenge for an Oklahoma team that has been lackluster on the defensive end as of late.
- As many of you are aware, Texas guard Andrew Jones is currently battling leukemia. If you would like to help with medical and other family expenses, here is a family-approved fund that goes directly to the Jones family.
A look back at OU’s last win in Austin (Jan. 5, 2015)
No. 16 Oklahoma, led by junior Buddy Hield, rolled into Austin for a Big Monday matchup against No. 10 Texas and made a pretty big statement in front of a national audience with a 70-49 win. A balanced scoring effort (five players in double figures) and some stifling defense (well... also some really bad shooting from Texas) allowed OU to dominate from start to finish in front of a stunned group of burnt orange-clad fans.
Check out the highlights from that evening!
- Young’s march to POY - Trae Young is the clear frontrunner for all of the National POY awards that will be given out at the conclusion of the season, but solid performances in winning road efforts will nail it down for him. His team went without a road win in the month of January, so figuring out a way to play efficiently away from home will do wonders for his perception. However, he’ll need help from his teammates in order to operate in an efficient manner.
- Manek and James - Brady Manek is averaging 16.8 PPG (20-30 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 and Trae Young to be efficient offensively. It also wouldn’t hurt to see something positive from Kameron McGusty, who hasn’t scored more than five points for the Sooners since going on a six-game, double-figure tear from 12/16-1/6.
- Rashard Odomes - Odomes is sort of like OU’s version of Andre Roberson. He’s not known for his shot by any means, but he creates turnovers on defense and does a lot of the little things on offense. The one difference is that Odomes is beginning to excel as a creator of sorts, as he’s become quite adept at getting to the rim in the half-court game. If Oklahoma pulls off a W today, it’s likely that Odomes will be one of the primary contributors.
It pains me to say it, but it’s tough for anyone to pick OU to win a Big 12 game road game until they prove something to all of us. Manek and James have to play with confidence and knock down their open shots (which will be there for them). Additionally, Young has to keep having confidence in those two even if they get off to a rocky start. Until I see that happen away from home, it’ll be tough to pick OU.
Texas 78, Oklahoma 72