After pulling out a comeback win against the Kansas State Wildcats, the Oklahoma Sooners are looking to improve to 2-0 in Big 12 play as they face the Texas Longhorns in Austin.
Can the #Sooners start 2-0 by grabbing a dub against Bevo?@LandersChevyOK— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) January 8, 2020
Scene Setter ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/WEUwQruPkZ
Oklahoma (10-3, 1-0) vs. Texas (10-3, 0-1): 8 p.m. CT at the Frank Erwin Center (Austin, Texas)
Commentary: Robert Ford and Tim Welsh
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: Texas -3 (as of 6:00 p.m. CT)
- While the record itself would indicate that the Longhorns are doing fine, nothing about UT’s body of work is going to wow you. The best win came against a currently 9-6 Purdue team, with other notable wins coming against Texas A&M (No. 159 in KenPom ratings) and Cal (No. 193 in KenPom ratings). The team’s three losses have been beatdowns at the hands Georgetown (82-66), Providence (70-48) and Baylor (59-44). There’s nothing too alarming about the third loss (Baylor is legit!), but the point is that UT hasn’t done much up to this point.
- The Longhorns currently sit at No. 64 nationally in KenPom’s efficiency ratings, coming in at No. 128 offensively and No. 41 defensively. Texas also sits at No. 67 in the NCAA NET Rankings. By comparison, OU comes in at No. 51 with KenPom and No. 48 in NET.
- Texas is led in scoring by 6’2” junior Matt Coleman III, who is averaging 12.3 PPG and connecting on 48.9 percent of his three-point attempts. He’s followed at 11.3 by redshirt sophomore Andrew Jones, who has worked his way back to full strength after missing the majority of the previous two season undergoing cancer treatment. Jones, who was Texas’ leading scorer when diagnosed with leukemia in January of 2018, finished his cancer treatments this past September.
- Battle in the paint: One of this team’s weaknesses over the past few seasons has been the inability to hold its own in the post from a physical (and sometimes effort) standpoint. Texas isn’t especially formidable in this regard, but 6’9”, 240-pound junior Jericho Sims is going to provide a test. He’s currently tied for third in the Big 12 with 3.3 offensive rebounds per game, ranks eighth with 7.8 rebounds per game and also eighth with 1.2 blocks per game, so Kristian Doolittle and Brady Manek are going to have to play some big-boy ball tonight.
- Big scorers: Oklahoma currently has three of the top 10 scorers in the Big 12. Kristian Doolittle (16.9 points per game) is fifth in the league, Austin Reaves (16.6) is sixth and Brady Manek (14.9) ranks ninth. Oklahoma and Miami are the only major-conference teams with three players averaging at least 14 points. The key, however, is for Oklahoma to receive consistent contributions from others sources such as Jamal Bieniemy, De’Vion Harmon and Alondes Williams. It’s not reasonable to expect all six to get a big share in each contest, but OU needs at least one of these three to step up on any given night.
- Slow starts: Oklahoma has led at the half in only four games this season, but the Sooners are 6-2 when trailing at halftime. That’s obviously not a sustainable recipe for success, but this team has at least proven that it can handle adversity, which is more than can be said of the previous three OU basketball teams.
Oklahoma 71, Texas 68