The Baylor Bears (12-1) open up Big 12 Conference play against the Oklahoma Sooners (9-5) Saturday in the Ferrell Center on the campus of Baylor University. Oklahoma holds a 35-5 record in the series, and the Sooners have a 30 game winning streak against Baylor in this series. Baylor is currently riding an 8 game winning streak, a streak that ranks as the school's 6th longest in its history.
The new-look Baylor Bears, led by head coach Scott Drew, will likely rely on defense and rebounding to control the game. Currently, the Bears lead the nation in rebounding margin (+11.6), and the Bears rank 2nd in the Big 12 in both rebounding (43.7) and rebounding defense (32.2). The Bears have held 11 of its last 13 opponents under 70 points, holding them to an average of 57.9 points a game.
The Bears are led defensively by Junior forward Epke Udoh, who became the 4th player in Baylor basketball history to record a triple-double last week scoring 18 points, hauling in 17 rebounds, and recording 10 shots in a victory over Morgan State. Udoh, the Big 12's leading shot-blocker, has more blocked shots than the entire Sooners team this season. The talented big man is also one of only two players in school history to block 10 shots in a game (Brian Skinner, and has recorded 8 double-doubles in 13 games so far this season.
As a team, the Baylor Bears have historically not fared well in Big 12 Conference openers holding a 5-8 record in such games. However, the Bears have been victorious in their last two conference openers (victories against Iowa State in 2008, and Texas Tech in 2009).
The Oklahoma Sooners are coming off an impressive 88-54 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore on January 4th, and are led by sophomore guard Willie Warren who averages a team-leading 18.5 points per game. Senior Tony Crocker is second on the team averaging 13.4 points a contest, and freshman Tiny Gallon averages 11.6 per game.
Tip-off is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.
Big 12 Conference Opener: Baylor vs. Oklahoma
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