News, notes and quotes on No. 18 Kansas' matchup with Oklahoma on Wednesday in Norman at Lloyd Noble Center at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 while wondering if the Jayhawks can bounce back after their 61-57 loss to San Diego State on Sunday. This marked the first time since 2006 that KU lost a non-conference home game.
KU (9-4) will be playing the first game of its Big 12 schedule and hoping to eventually win its 10th straight league title. Kansas has won 56 conference championships, which ranks first in NCAA Division I.
The Sooners (12-2, 1-0 Big 12) are coming off an 88-85 victory at Texas on Jan. 4 to open Big 12 play. Their only two losses this season came against Michigan State (87-76) in the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn N.Y., on Nov. 23 and versus Louisiana Tech (102-98) at home on Dec. 30.
OU, which has five players averaging in double-figures, is led by senior guard Cameron Clark, who's third in the Big 12 in scoring at 17.7 points per game. Clark makes a team-best 47.4 percent from beyond the arc (18-38) while he's second on the team in rebounding (6.2 rpg) and tied for team lead with 18 steals.
Sophomore guard Buddy Hield is next in scoring at 16.3 points per game, which is sixth in the league. He's made a team-high 27 threes and is tied with Clark for the team lead with 18 steals. Freshman guard Jordan Woodard averages 12.2 points per game while leading OU with 67 assists. He's followed in scoring by sophomore forward Ryan Spangler (11.0 ppg, No. 2 in Big 12 with 9.2 rpg, team-high 17 blocks) and sophomore guard Isaiah Cousins (10.9 ppg).
Oklahoma averages 87.3 points per game (No. 5 nationally) and allows 78.3. The Sooners also average 20.3 three-point attempts per game and make 7.8 per contest. OU forces 14.2 turnovers per game while averaging 7.6 steals (No. 2 in Big 12). Oklahoma shoots 46.8 percent from the field, 38.4 percent from beyond the arc, and 73.3 percent at the free throw line. OU holds opponents to 42.3 percent shooting and 31.8 percent from three-point range, while outrebounding foes 40.1 to 36.4.
Head coach Lon Kruger is 47-30 in his third season at Oklahoma and 526-334 in his 28th season overall.
22 & COUNTING
Kansas has won 22-straight conference openers dating back to the 1991-92 season, including 12 on the road. KU last lost a league opener at Oklahoma, 88-82, on Jan. 8, 1991. Kansas marched to the Final Four that season. KU's only other time its battled OU in a conference opener was Jan. 10, 1994, a 94-84 home Jayhawk win.
998 & COUNTING
Senior forward Tarik Black just needs two more points to hit 1,000 for his career. Black scored 949 points during his three years in Memphis before transferring to KU this season. The last Kansas player to reach 1,000 career points was 2012-13 senior Kevin Young, who finished with 1,067 points (658 while at Loyola-Marymount for two years and 409 while at KU for two seasons).
ROOM TO GROW
KU coach Bill Self definitely thinks his team has much room to grow. He said the Jayhawks were "exposed" against the tougher Aztecs in their four-point loss on Sunday. San Diego State outrebounded KU, 51-39, and retrieved 19 offensive rebounds off 38 missed shots. Kansas also failed to make the plays down the stretch.
"We're not as good as I'd thought we'd be, and our players know that," Self said. "I still think we're going to be good, but it's just taking more time that what I thought. I thought we'd be a little bit tougher and more aggressive in some certain areas than what we are right now. I can live with missing shots. I can live with running ugly offense. ... I got problems that we can't close and we can't make the play when we have to make the play."
NEW SEASON STARTS IN NORMAN
While KU struggled some during the nonconference season with four losses, the ‘Hawks are ready for the new season starting with Big 12 play against OU. Freshman guard Frank Mason relayed Self's message to the team after the San Diego State loss.
"Our first portion of the season was not that good and now in our second portion of the season we need to become a better team, become better on defense, and that basically the regular season is starting now," Mason said.
While Self wasn't very pleased with KU's play against SDSU, he said "we got to put this behind us. This deal is over."
The KU-OU series dates back to 1920 with Kansas leading 139-65 overall. Since 2006, KU has won 10 of the last 11 meetings. Oklahoma ended a KU 10-game wining streak with a 72-66 upset in Norman last season.
Self is 11-4 all time against OU, including 11-2 while at Kansas. Kruger is 6-13 versus KU, including 1-3 while at Oklahoma.