The Oklahoma Sooners are coming off of an especially rough outing in Waco, but they’ll still be in pretty decent shape to earn a NCAA Tournament bid if they can top the Iowa State Cyclones in Norman this evening. Friday night is also Senior Night, with Khadeem Lattin being the lone senior on the roster. Barring a surprising decision, this will also likely be Trae Young’s final game in his hometown.
Oklahoma (17-12, 7-10) vs. Iowa State (4-13, 13-16): 8 p.m. CT, Lloyd Noble Center (11,562)
Commentary: Rich Hollenberg 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: Oklahoma -10 (as of 10 a.m. CT)
About Iowa State
- Since topping Oklahoma in Ames, the Cyclones have lost five straight games and have allowed at least 78 points in each contest. Defense has been an issue for this team during the stretch and throughout conference play, as the Cyclones currently rank 150th (10th in Big 12) in KenPom’s defensive efficiency rating. By comparison, Oklahoma ranks 109th nationally in that category.
- Solomon Young, who scored 11 points against the Sooners in Ames, has been out since Feb. 20 following a knee procedure. The Cyclones are also without Nick Weiler-Babb, who has now been ruled out for the season after briefly coming back following a battle with tendinitis.
- Freshmen Lindell Wigginton and Cameron Lard are future stars, averaging 17.5 and 14.5 PPG against Big 12 opponents, respectively. Senior Donovan Jackson is second on the team in scoring average and has hit 92 three-pointers this season.
- Lattin’s Senior Night - Houston native Khadeem Lattin will be playing his final home game in an Oklahoma uniform on Friday night. Lattin began his career an an energy guy who excelled at blocking shots and rocking the rim. He was asked to be much more than that over the past two seasons, and the results have been mixed. He’s had his fair share of great games in his career and is currently tied with Al Beal for the most blocks in program history, but he’s failed to consistently be the post presence and leader that Oklahoma has needed over the past two seasons. However, his accomplished career be be remembered fondly, and the highlight of it is the game-winning tip-in vs. West Virginia (which led to OU being ranked No. 1 the following week):
- Trae’s last game? - Although Trae Young has experienced plenty of ups and downs this season, the ups — along with his unique set of skills — are looking like they’ll be enough to make him a high pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. All signs point to him declaring for said draft following the season, which would make Friday night’s game the last he will play in his hometown of Norman. His legacy at OU is looking like it’s going to be a tad complicated considering how the team has performed over the past month or so, but we should always appreciate the fact that he decided to be loyal to his hometown. Look for him to have a huge game in front of the fans at the LNC tonight.
- Big 12 Tournament - If Oklahoma wins this weekend, losses by Baylor (at Kansas State), Oklahoma State (vs. Kansas) and Texas (vs. West Virginia) would give OU the No. 6 seed and a bye in KC. Otherwise, the Sooners will be playing on Wednesday.
- Make no mistake - this team is capable of losing to any Big 12 squad. However, being at home will help immensely, as will the fact that Iowa State doesn’t exactly defend at a high level. This will be one of those games (similar to the K-State game) that will give you a glimmer of hope that Oklahoma can perhaps right the ship. I’m not so optimistic on that front, but I am optimistic in their ability to win this particular game.
Oklahoma 89, Iowa State 80