News, notes and quotes on No. 5 Kansas' matchup with Oklahoma tonight on ESPN Big Monday at 8 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse, while hoping the Jayhawks clinch a tie for their 10th straight Big 12 Championship.
After KU's extremely dominant 85-54 victory over Texas at Allen Fieldhouse Saturday, Kansas is now 21-6 and 12-2 in the Big 12.
Oklahoma (20-7, 9-5 Big 12) has won three of its last four games and is coming off a great 86-73 victory over K-State at home on Saturday. The Sooners, who forced 10 first-half turnovers, led 41-22 at halftime and were up by as many as 27 points in the second half. Sophomore guard Buddy Hield led OU with 18 points while fellow sophomore guard Isaiah Cousins added 17 as the Sooners are now in a three-game tie with Iowa State and Texas for second place in the league.
OU is led by Hield with 16.7 points per game. He also has a team-high 39 steals and 70 three-pointers made. Hield is followed in scoring by senior guard Cameron Clark (15.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, team-high 46.7 percent from three), freshman guard Jordan Woodard (11.0 ppg, team-best 126 assists), Cousins (10.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and sophomore forward Ryan Spangler (10.3 ppg, No. 1 in Big 12 with 9.6 rpg, team-best 27 blocks).
The Sooners score 82.8 points per game (No. 2 in Big 12) and allow 76.8. They shoot 45.2 percent from the field, 37.4 percent from three-point rage, and 74.4 percent at the charity stripe. OU allows 43.4 percent shooting and 34.3 percent from beyond the arc, while barely outrebounding foes 38.1 to 36.1 per game.
Oklahoma averages 8.1 three-point field goals per game, 7.0 steals per contest, and 19.3 free throws made per game.
Coach Lon Kruger is 55-35 in his third season at OU and 534-339 in his 28th season overall.
SELF ON OU
KU coach Bill Self praised OU's win over K-State Saturday.
"That was pretty impressive what they did the first half," Self said. "I mean, they were really good."
Self expects a "really good" OU team tonight in the Phog.
"The way Oklahoma plays is a great way to play on the road, too, because there's a lot of isolation, go one-on-one if any couple of guys are having good nights. Lon's so good at moving guys around and getting guys the ball with an unused dribble in certain areas," Self said.
"We know they'll play well against us. We were fortunate the first time we played. We played pretty good, but they also missed some shots. We got to do a really good job of defending the three and guarding the ball, and that's a couple of places where we have given up all year. ... We know we will get a great effort, and they spread you and drive you and kind of take your big men away from the basket."
CHAMPIONSHIP AT STAKE
Self and the players know that a victory over OU will clinch a tie for the Big 12 title. The KU coach hopes his players will fight off the fatigue after just one day's rest for Big Monday.
"That's the thing that I wish we had, another day," Self said Saturday. "It is just one of those things where you know the kids are going to be dead tired tomorrow and they just have to suck it up and play Monday. Oklahoma had the same deal today and they looked great."
Self believes his team will be prepared, even though they haven't played OU since the first game of Big 12 play on Jan. 8.
A lot is at stake on Monday.
We're going to have to do a good job of guys being focused and giving them just a few things to worry about," Self said about the game plan. "We'll be ready. I know we've been fortunate here the last several years, but it's not every day you get a chance to clinch at least a piece of a championship at home, so I think our guys will certainly put forth the concentration to give us the best chance to do that."
Freshman guard Frank Mason is ready to seize the opportunity.
"That was our first goal to start the year off – to win a 10th straight Big 12 Championship," Mason said. "That's still our goal. Right now we are taking it one game at a time so we can reach that goal and keep making history."
LAST TIME OUT
KU beat OU, 90-83, in Norman on Jan. 8 as the Jayhawks shot a blistering 54.7 percent from the field, including 64.3 percent the first half. KU also shot 8 of 16 from three-point range. KU's 90 points were the most scored in a road-Big 12 opener in the Self era.
Oklahoma shot 45.3 percent from the field, but just 31.6 percent (6-19) from downtown. KU outrebounded OU 36-22 and outscored the Sooners 34 to 16 in the paint, but Oklahoma had 20 points off turnovers to just 12 points for KU.