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Oklahoma Sooners Basketball at Baylor: Preview, Thread & How to Watch

After a confidence-boosting win over TCU, the Sooners now face No. 1 Baylor in Waco.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

After putting together a much-needed complete performance against TCU on Saturday, the Oklahoma Sooners are in Waco to face the new No. 1 team in the country — the Baylor Bears.

Oklahoma (12-5, 3-2) vs. Baylor (15-1, 5-0): 8 p.m. CT at the Ferrell Center (Waco, Texas)

TV: ESPN

Commentary: Bob Wischusen, Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Radio: Sooner Radio Network (107.7 FM The Franchise in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Tune In Radio App) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing

Line: Baylor -10 (as of 5:45 p.m. CT)

About Baylor

  • Baylor’s only loss of the season came at the hands of Washington (67-64) in Alaska back on Nov. 9. Since then, the Bears have earned victories over the likes of Villanova, Arizona, Butler, Texas Tech and Kansas (the program’s first ever win at Allen Fieldhouse).
  • The Bears have been getting the job done with their defense this season, as they are sixth nationally in points allowed per game at 58.6 and rank fourth nationally in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency ratings.
  • Baylor is led in scoring by guard Jared Butler, who is averaging 16.9 PPG and connecting on over 40 percent of his three-point attempts. He’s followed by MaCio Teague, who is averaging 13.5 PPG to go along with 5.0 rebounds. Down low, the Bears are anchored by 6’9” senior big man Freddie Gillespie, who leads the team with 8.9 RPG while also contributing 9.8 PPG and 2.3 BPG (good for second in the Big 12).

Three Things

  • Harmon and Bieniemy elevate their play: Sophomore guard Jamal Bieniemy struggled mightily to begin the season and appeared to have issues with confidence. However, things have turned around a bit, as he’s shooting 55 percent while averaging 4.3 assists over Oklahoma’s last four games. He was expected to play a major role after showing so much promise as a freshman, and he finally appears to be coming into his own. Meanwhile, De’Vion Harmon has reached the double-digit scoring mark in three straight games.
  • Early Bracketology: As of Monday, CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm has Oklahoma as a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has not updated his bracket since prior to OU’s win over TCU, but at that point he had the Sooners as a No. 11 seed and playing in one of the play-in games. As of Monday, OU sits at No. 53 in the NCAA NET Rankings.
  • Three big scorers: Entering the week, OU has three of the top eight scorers in the Big 12, with Kristian Doolittle (16.4 PPG), Brady Manek (15.3 PPG) and junior guard Austin Reaves (15.1 PPG). Manek proved Saturday that all three are capable of lighting up the opposition, as the Harrah product scored a career-high 31 while hitting 7-of-9 three-point attempts. We’ll have to see if he can keep that confidence going in Waco, as road contests have often been unkind to him in the past.

Prediction

OU’s lack of offensive discipline and proclivity for taking bad shots can cost them against any team, and Baylor happens to be elite on the defensive end. With the game also happening to take place away from home, that type of play could bite them in a hurry and cause this one to get ugly. They shot selection and ball movement were a bit better against TCU, but Kruger’s teams have shown a tendency over the past four seasons to quickly revisit bad habits, so I’m not optimistic.

Baylor 81, Oklahoma 68