Bedlam Preview: Let's Get Ready To Rumble

Bedlam has arrived! Need we say more. And while Oklahoma State is unranked and just put an end to its four-game losing streak, the Oklahoma Sooners make the trip to Stillwater reeling following Sunday's nationally televised loss to Kansas. But just because neither team is ranked in the top 10 doesn't make Bedlam any less important. As a matter of fact, it probably holds even greater importance as the Cowboys hope to turn around what has been a disappointing start to Big 12 play.

Oklahoma State (13-9, 3-5) vs. Oklahoma (14-5, 5-3)
Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611) – Stillwater, Okla.
Wednesday, 8:04 p.m., ESPN Regional
ESPN: Bob Carpenter and Reid Gettys
Cowboy Radio Network: Dave Hunziker and Tom Dirato

QUOTABLE:
"Oklahoma is playing some much better than they were earlier. I think they finally got their backcourt problems solved. They were struggling there for a while. They'll be favored in the ballgame even though we're playing at home, but I've seen some strange things happen in the Bedlam series. Hopefully our guys will understand this is the biggest game of the year, as far as our fans are concerned – to beat Oklahoma at our place." – Cowboy head coach Eddie Sutton.

THE SERIES
Oklahoma leads the all-time series, 119-87, and the Cowboys have a 56-40 margin in games played in Stillwater. OSU head coach Eddie Sutton is 19-13 against OU since his return to his alma mater, and has a 24-14 overall record against the Sooners, including a 4-0 mark at Arkansas, a 1-0 record at Kentucky, and an 0-1 mark at Creighton. The Cowboys and Sooners have split the season series six of the last nine seasons, while OSU has swept twice and OU has done it once. Last season, the two teams split the series with the Cowboys winning 79-67 in Stillwater and the Sooners winning 67-57 in Norman.

KEYS FOR A COWBOY VICTORY:
** Sick Marcus Dove on ‘em: The Cowboys were in the midst of a four-game losing streak and had lost six of 10 games with the team's defensive stopped sidelined with a fractured pelvis. But the 6-foot-9 stopper returned against Kansas State and held Cartier Martin, who was averaging 19.2 points and 7.5 rebounds, to just eight points on 2-of-10 shooting and only two rebounds in 33 minutes. The Cowboys need Dove to put the clamps on Taj Gray, Terrell Everett, Michael Neal or whoever he's covering Wednesday night.

Limit the turnovers: Eddie Sutton has been preaching all season that if the Cowboys don't quit turning the ball over – and come to value each and every possession – it's going to hurt them. OSU averages nearly 17 turnovers a game, with Byron Eaton (3.8 per game) and JamesOn Curry (3.1) giving it up the most. Sutton started Jamaal Brown for Eaton against K-State, and the junior college transfer had just one turnover in 31 minutes while scoring 11 points. The Cowboys must protect the ball. If they turn it over more than 15 times against the Sooners they'll be in big trouble.

Get JamesOn going: Curry is the only Cowboy to see extensive action against the Sooners last season, and he's going to need to play well Wednesday night. Just when it appears he's going to break out of his shooting slump (he's only making 39.7 percent from the field this season, and just 37.6 from three-point range), his touch goes south. He's going to need to shoot better than he did in losses to Missouri (6-of-17), Colorado (6-of-16), Texas Tech (6-of-18) and Nebraska (7-of-16) for the Cowboys to win. As mentioned above, the sophomore guard also needs to limit his turnovers (he's had 19 in the last four games). There wouldn't be a better time than against the Sooners for JamesOn to turn it on with a stat line of: 9-12 FGs, 4-5 3FGs, 6-6 FTs, 28 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 turnover, 4 steals.

Win the rebounding battle: Mario Boggan, Marcus Dove, David Monds and the rest of the Cowboys must crash the boards. The Sooners have the No. 1 rebounding margin (plus-12) in the nation, and have outrebounded their opponents in 17 of 19 games this season. KU was outrebounding its opponents by 7.5 per game, and OU won the rebounding battle 44-34. The Sooners had 22 offensive rebounds against the Jayhawks and have had double digit offensive rebounds in all 19 games this season. The Cowboys must block out!

KEYS TO A SOONER WIN:
Pound it inside to Gray and Bookout:
The two Sooner post players are averaging 26.6 points and 15.6 rebounds a game. Last season, Bookout (23 points) and Gray (22) combined for 45 points on 21-of-29 shooting from the field, and accounted for the Sooners' first 19 points of the game as they raced out to a 19-2 lead in OU's 12-point win in Norman. Gray, the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, is averaging 16.3 points and 8.3 rebounds over the last 15 games while shooting 59.2 percent from the field. Bookout has averaged 14.2 points and 10.0 rebounds in five career games vs. the Cowboys.

Take the crowd out of the game: There's a reason the Sooners haven't won inside Gallagher-Iba Arena since 2000, and OU head coach Kelvin Sampson's record in Stillwater is just 2-9. That's because as loud as GIA gets for the likes of Kansas, Texas and Texas Tech, it's nothing compared to when Sampson and the Sooners take the floor. You can talk all you want about the Sooners having a veteran team with Bookout, Gray and Terrell Everett, and those seniors knowing what to expect, but there's nothing like GIA rocking during Bedlam. Sampson knows it and will do everything possible to keep the crowd quiet, and sitting throughout the game.

OSU's projected starters:
F: 4 Mario Boggan (6-7, 235, Jr., 13.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg)
F: 5 Marcus Dove (6-9, 215, So., 5.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg)
C: 40 Kenneth Cooper (6-10, 260, Fr., 2.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
G: 10 Jamaal Brown (5-10, 200, Jr., 5.1 ppg, 3.0 apg)
G: 24 JamesOn Curry (6-3, 190, So., 13.2 ppg, 4.5 apg)

OSU's key reserves:
F: 55 Torre Johnson (6-6, 215, Jr., 12.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
F: 32 David Monds (6-8, 232, Jr., 9.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
G: 00 Byron Eaton (5-11, 215, Fr., 7.6 ppg, 3.5 apg)
G: 1 Terrel Harris (6-5, 190, Fr., 4.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg)

OU's projected starters:
F: 21 Taj Gray (6-9, 238, Sr., 15.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg)
F: 34 Kevin Bookout (6-8, 270, Sr., 11.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 0.7 spg)
G: 3 Terrell Everett (6-4, 188, Sr., 12.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6.1 apg)
G: 15 David Godbold (6-5, 217, Jr., 5.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.4 apg)
G: 20 Austin Johnson (6-3, 168, Fr., 3.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.9 agp)

OU's key reserves:
G: 2 Michael Neal (6-3, 191, Jr., 11.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
F: 24 Nate Carter (6-6, 220, Jr., 6.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
F: 32 Taylor Griffin (6-7, 232, Fr., 2.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg)

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