Tornado Alley Showdown: #5 Kansas At Oklahoma
- CoachingBill Self will try to do something on Saturday he hasn’t had to do in 264 games, dating back to January 2006: stop a losing streak. The Jayhawks’ streak of not losing two in a row came to an end on Wednesday when they were shocked—an understatement—by TCU.Lon Kruger, known for his time at UNLV and Illinois, is in his second year at Oklahoma. The Sooners are 14-7 overall and 5-4 in the Big 12, having already matched their conference win total from last season.
- OffenseLook past Wednesday’s abysmal shooting—29 percent from the field, 3 of 22 from deep, 13 first half points—and you’ll see Kansas has capable scorers, led by Ben McLemore, a 6’5” guard who can get to the hoop or shoot the three (42 percent).The Sooners are led by senior forward Romero Osby, who started his college career at Mississippi State. They shoot threes very infrequently, but when they do it’s often senior Steven Pledger hoisting them (34 percent).
- DefenseThe Jayhawks rank eighth in the country in defensive efficiency, owing much of that to 7-footer Jeff Withey, the reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Senior Travis Releford is an exceptional perimeter defender.The Sooners have been solid, but not great, defensively. They do a good job of not fouling and defending the three-point line.
- Bench DepthKansas doesn’t go its bench often, but Self does have some frontcourt depth. As is the case at elite programs like Kansas, many of the lesser-used players would be significant contributors elsewhere.Oklahoma is among the deeper teams in the conference; nine guys average at least 15 minutes a game. The group is diverse, made up of three freshmen, three juniors, and three seniors.
You figure Kansas is going to be focused after being upset by TCU, but you might have thought that after the Jayhawks were upset by Oklahoma State in the previous game. Regardless, Kansas is the more talented team. -Andrew Kahn, College Basketball Contributor